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The power of azure in retail stock management systems and erps

Written by: Antony desmond, COO at nortb
19 December 2022
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Stock management systems are essential tools for retailers, helping them to keep track of inventory, process orders, and maintain accurate stock levels. In this blog article, we'll explore the benefits of using a stock management system in the retail industry, as well as some of the key features to look for when selecting a system for your business.


As a start-up, one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs may face during the first few months is effectively managing their inventory and keeping track of their stock levels. This is where a stock management system can be especially beneficial.

Stock management systems are essential tools for retailers, facilitating the efficient tracking and management of inventory. These systems can significantly streamline operations, allowing retailers to focus on providing excellent customer service and driving sales. Below, we will describe the various benefits of utilising a stock management system in the retail industry and the key features to consider when choosing a system for your business.

Definitions & Benefits

One of the primary benefits of a stock management system is its ability to provide real-time visibility into inventory levels. This allows retailers to make informed decisions regarding restocking and ordering, ensuring that they always have the necessary products on hand to meet customer demand. Accurate inventory management can improve customer satisfaction and reduce the risk of stock shortages.

In addition to real-time visibility, a comprehensive stock management system should also offer forecasting and planning tools. By analyzing past sales data and trends, retailers can make more accurate predictions about future demand and adjust their ordering and stocking strategies accordingly. This can help to reduce the risk of overstocking, which can tie up valuable capital and lead to waste.

Effective inventory management is also dependent on the ability to track and manage orders from multiple channels. In the current digital landscape, retailers often sell their products through various outlets, including online marketplaces, social media platforms, and their own websites. A stock management system that integrates seamlessly with these channels can facilitate efficient order management and fulfillment, regardless of the source.

New retailers & SME's

Start-ups often face a lack of capital, or funding, in the early stages of their development. This can be a significant challenge, as start-ups typically need a certain amount of capital to cover expenses such as salaries, rent, marketing, and research and development. Without sufficient funding, start-ups may struggle to attract and retain talent, build and maintain a product or service, and reach new customers.

In the beginning, there are many software tools that a new retailer may need to purchase in order to operate efficiently and effectively. Some common types of software that retailers may need to buy include:

  1. Productivity software: This could include tools like Microsoft Office or Google Workspace, which provide word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software.

  2. Project management software: This could include tools like Asana or Trello, which help teams to manage and track tasks, projects, and deadlines.

  3. Accounting software: This could include tools like QuickBooks or Xero, which help startups to manage their finances, including invoicing, billing, and bookkeeping.

  4. Customer relationship management (CRM) software: This could include tools like Salesforce or Zoho CRM, which help startups to manage customer data and interactions.

  5. Marketing automation software: This could include tools like HubSpot or Pardot, which help startups to automate and optimize their marketing efforts.

  6. Human resources (HR) software: This could include tools like BambooHR or Zenefits, which help startups to manage employee data, benefits, and payroll.

  7. Enterprise resource planning(ERP) software: This include tools such as SAP 4HANA which helps the enterprise to manage orders data, supply chain, stocks control and purchasing.

It's important to note that the specific software tools a retailer needs will depend on the nature of the business and its goals. Some startups may also choose to use free or open-source software alternatives to save on costs, however from the all list above, the ERP solutions is usually the most costly from all of them. Nevertheless, a partnership with a strategy and management consulting firm can be of help in this problem.

The solution

Azure (Database + Microsoft365) or Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate are both cloud-based platforms that allow users to build custom business applications and automate workflows without writing code.

· Power Apps enables users to create custom applications using a variety of templates and pre-built connectors, or by using low-code tools to build custom solutions. These applications can be used to automate a range of business processes, such as data entry, task management, and customer relationship management.

· Power Automate, on the other hand, allows users to automate workflows and tasks across a variety of applications and services, including Office 365, Dynamics 365, and other cloud-based platforms. With Power Automate, users can create automated "flows" that trigger certain actions based on specific events or conditions. For example, a flow could be set up to automatically send an email notification when a new customer is added to a CRM system, or to create a task in a project management tool when a new form is submitted.

Together, Power Apps and Power Automate provide a powerful toolset for businesses looking to streamline and automate their operations, improving efficiency and productivity. Creating a flow where every order is updated automatically according to its stage on the supply chain, makes it a solution to start-ups when these have still lower number of orders + do not have the capital to invest in professional ERP's such as SAP products.

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