Configurable vs Customizable
(San Jose, CA)
Midsize to large companies in all industries, such as government, healthcare, and construction look for modular and configurable inventory and asset tracking systems to fit their business needs.
Ideally, the tracking solution meets their needs with a configurable and modular solution simultaneously. The alternative is to customize systems. Customized systems are expensive and often tie the customer into one vendor with endless revenue investment. The best solution can be found in ASAP Systems modular and configured Inventory System and Asset Tracking solution. ASAP Systems, which is based out of San Jose California, provides the very best of both modular and configurable systems.
What is the difference between customized systems and configured systems?
Configurable means you can shape and object in any way you see fit or design it to a specific requirement. In this case and for the purpose of Inventory and Asset solution configurability, let’s break down the options:
- Cloud/SaaS or On-Premise Solution:
Inventory and Asset tracking Cloud-based (AKA: Software as a Service) solution requires nothing but a Web Browser and often a smart device, such as a smartphone or tablet.
On-Premise Solutions require a full installation of a database on a local server and the software on each PC. On-Premise Solution is also known as the Client/Server solution. Customers are encouraged to have an IT staff on call because the initial setup of this system requires advanced technical skills. Customers who opt to go the Client/Server route are often within the government or an organization with strict security requirements.
Before we address modular design, we need to look at the nature of tracking in general. Customers in different industries often have different tracking requirements ranging from fixed assets to rolling inventory. Once these tracking decisions are made, appropriate modules are identified for better tracking. For example, receiving, movement, and maintenance are a few of the examples of modules customers may opt to acquire. Do customers require integration with popular accounting software like Quickbooks or do they need simple integration with services like DropBox or Google Drive? This modular design is by far the easiest and most efficient choice.
- Data Collection:
The most common data collection method is through the direct use of the PC. The most efficient, however, is the barcode. A good system will allow configurability of the Barcode to include the simple barcode image or more data, such as a description, expiration date, part number…. The configurability of the barcode label is essential for day to day use.
Other forms of data collection are integration, biometric input, and many others.
Data collection through mobile apps is by far the most important form of data collection. It provides the mobile workforce with the necessary tool to track. Therefore, configurability of the mobile app reduces data collection time significantly and it also provides maximum accuracy. A good example of data collection configuration is the renaming of the data collection fields on the web apps, desktop apps or mobile apps. Imagine an executive purchasing an inventory solution to track chemical barrels. Then finds that the data collection fields within the application call for Stock #s. That makes little sense. Now imagine the administrator of such an application having the ability to rename the Stock # data collection field to Barrel #. Now the user can easily identify what data to enter.
Historically, Inventory and Assets Tracking Solution provided customers with canned reports. Canned reports is another term to describe pre-made reports. Those reports cannot be modified and provide users with data that the vendor deemed relevant. In today’s technical and business environment, canned reports are a thing of the past. Customers creating and configuring their own reports is the way to go because it allows users and executives to see relevant reports.
Executives, especially decision-makers, need relevant, live, accurate data to help them make intelligent decisions. Therefore, creating relevant reports and configuring them provides instant data needed. This is the key to tracking and business growth.
In conclusion, you need a system that offers unlimited custom reports with the ability to add, change names, or remove data fields, create custom invoices, or adjust the tax rates. You will also need a reporting tool that allows you to configure inventory reports, change the report formats, create visibility restrictions, and automatically send scheduled reports. Finally, you will most likely need configurable charts and graphs designed to enhance visual reporting. A truly user-friendly system will allow you to configure these changes yourself.
- Customizable Solutions:
Customized solutions are expensive and inefficient. A customized solution requires that a person such as a contractor or a consultant provide billable work that customizes individual needs or requirements. This customization can follow specific preferences requiring some engineering work, often called feature, extension, plugin or add-on. A good practice would be to include the customization in a config file.
This is by far the most expensive and least efficient option. Simply put, why pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to modify or add to an inventory system when you have the option to go with a configurable and modular solution? It simply does not make much sense in today’s tech-savvy environment. A configurable solution is by far the best inventory and asset tracking solution.