So you’re a small business and you want an inventory solution, or you’re a consultant or cloud integrator and you need to find a suitable inventory solution for your client. If you’re not closely affiliated with a particular solution (which I’m not) you need to look at the options available on the market = time drain!
Here’s how I tackle the request to recommend a Xero Add-On Inventory Solution as a consultant
If a client indicates he wants a solution I ask the client to answer the questions below, and then send the responses to the add-on Inventory solution sales channel to get their response.
My communication typically starts:
I’m looking for a suitable inventory solution for a client currently set up on Xero. Here are my clients requirements: (obviously the answers to these questions are included)
- What industry does your business operate in?
- What current practices are you using for inventory management?
- How many users need access the inventory management system?
- How many sales transactions do you process a month?
- How many sales transactions do you predict you will process a month, in two years time?
- How many products or inventory items need to be managed by the system?
- How many products or inventory items do you predict you will process a month, in two years time?
- How is your inventory distinguished or labelled? (serial number, SKU Stock Keeping Unit)
- If your inventory has serial numbers do you require the inventory solution to monitor this?
- If your inventory has an expiry date do you require the inventory solution to monitor this?
- Do you have warehouses? If so how many?
- Are you operating in multiple currencies?
- How many customers do you have?
- How many suppliers do you have?
- Do you require e-commerce integration? e.g. WooCommerce, Shopify, etc.
- Do you require document storage in the solution?
- Do you require different product pricing tiers? How many?
- Do you have manufacturing requirements?
- Do you need multiple COG’s and Sales lines?
- Do you require back-ordering?
- Do you have a mobile app?
- Can your products be customized or are they unique?
- Are you interested in an online portal if you sell b2b?
- Is a CRM tool currently being used by your company or are you going to require one in the future?
- As part of your sales process, do you offer servicing and maintenance?
- Do you have multiple companies, like a parent or child company situation?
- Are you using product inventory for product sale, or for project use?
- Do you keep track of assembled item stock?
- Do you keep track of bulk items sold in standard package sizes but packaged upon request (e.g.coffee beans)?
- Do you require drop-shipping?
- Do you need warranty tracking?
- Do you have integrated delivery logistics
- Do you need to create purchase orders?
- If so, do the purchase orders need to be tracked back to a sales order?
- Do you need sales orders/stock required into consolidated orders?
- Do you need to allow negative stock levels on inventory?
I then conclude the communication with the following questions:
Can you advise me if you require any further information to deem your product is a suitable fit?
Do you believe your solution meets the requirements of the business?
How much should I budget in time and dollar value for an implementation?
What are the ongoing monthly costs the client would be subject to?
Learn from my experience, ask the solution to respond via email, otherwise, you can spend half the day on the phone. Hopefully, by providing as much information as possible the process is simplified for both me the consultant, and the potential solution. I appreciate their time is precious and I don’t want to waste it.
Here’s how I share Xero Add-On Inventory Solution details with the client
On one landscape A4 page I laid out all the responses of the solutions that remained in contention to meet the client requirements. I did not bother including solutions that could not meet the client requirements. From this analysis, two major areas needed further clarification:
- ecommerce integration
- costing methodology
At this stage I went back to the client to seek further clarification.
Why do I do this?
I want the client to take ownership of the Xero add-on inventory solution that’s chosen for them. Working through this process allows them to think about different features they require, and inspires them to ask further questions and seek clarification of their requirements. A new business management solution is never like a perfect chocolate chip cookie, it’s always going to have to do something the business operators need to adapt too. The adaption process is easier if any implementation and processing surprises are minimised.