What features do you need from an inventory database?
The term “inventory database” may feel a bit legacy with all the technology available to wholesalers and manufacturers, but it is still at the core of an inventory management system.
Easy to use – Using new programs or systems can be intimidating, the simpler the better. A complex system does not equate to a powerful system. You want a robust solution that’s easy to use and manage.
Accuracy – Your database needs to accurately reflect your inventory on the shelf and it needs to update in real time with your product inflow and outflow.
Storage – This may seem obvious, but you can run out of data storage quickly. We’re not just talking gigabytes of space; you may need terabytes of space available. Performing data backups via an external hard drive or cloud-based service have become a necessity. Technology malfunctions occur all the time and losing your data would be devastating.
Reporting – It’s important to view your data in a way that allows you to make decisions. Reorder points, price changes, keeping up with demand, seasonality, etc. To stay lean and fluid, you need to know how much inventory is available at any given time.
Inventory database options
Paper list – Believe it or not, there are still wholesalers and manufacturers that track inventory manually on paper. This is archaic and by no means recommended, but tracking your inventory with lists on paper can still work for extremely small operations.
Excel – Using spreadsheets, such as Excel or Google Docs, is a step up from manual tracking, but it is still limited. This method works fine for small operations, but it can become a nightmare as your inventory grows. Having a spreadsheet with thousands of rows is difficult to navigate and retrieve data from.
Access – Microsoft Office has a database creation application called “Access,” which allows you to make a database without knowing any programming languages. Though the database is limited, it allows more functionality than Excel. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you can enjoy the benefits of using relational databases.
Advanced inventory software – Most businesses have transitioned to software because of the functionality available and the affordability. Investing in inventory management software directly affects your bottom line, and many business owners have seen the value it adds to their businesses.
Fishbowl – The ultimate inventory database
Fishbowl is a powerful inventory management system that remains affordable for small businesses. Conveniently, it also integrates with popular accounting solutions, such as QuickBooks and Xero, so that it jives with your finances.
Fishbowl integrates with many popular business solutions:
Desktop and online accounting software
Online hosting solutions
Point of sale systems
All major shipping carriers
And many others!
An inventory system like Fishbowl can help you track inventory in real time via barcode scanning and let you see a high-level overview of all inventory in stock and in transit. You can instantly search for and retrieve any SKU. You can track your products across multiple warehouses and locations from a single computer or cell phone if you chose to use the Fishbowl Anywhere plugin. The ability to integrate with QuickBooks is the real game changer. Keeping your finances and inventory data in sync is invaluable and will spare your accountant the headache of double data entry and coordinating all of the data across multiple platforms.
You want to run your business on “smart data” and inventory software is the ideal solution that allows you to have a smart inventory database. Avoid stockouts, have more productive employees, and run a more efficient supply chain with Fishbowl!