Fishbowl has received a lot of great press recently:
Fishbowl’s policy of making every employee an owner: Why leaders should share ownership in their companies.
Fishbowl’s great work environment: Inspired by tragedy, Fishbowl leaders walk their talk.
Fishbowl’s policy of giving the “under-qualified” a chance: The case for the ‘underqualified’ employees.
All of this is true and much more. Fishbowl IS a great place to work, with a lot great people and a great work environment. But that’s NOT what I want to talk about today.
What I want to talk about is why Fishbowl Inventory is the perfect software for any would-be entrepreneur to learn. Rank it right up there with Excel and Word, and here’s why:
How many of us have dreamed about running our own businesses?
Maybe manufacturing something or setting up an online store, a retail store, or some kind of business that requires inventory tracking of one type or another. But when it gets right down to the nuts and bolts of getting started (aside from a company name, business license and logo!), we get a little intimidated, and for good reason. It’s complicated! How many novice entrepreneurs know how to properly take and process orders and ship them out the door? When we first started selling our software at Fishbowl 11 years ago we didn’t know what we were doing. It would often take hours just to print out and ship a few orders!
How many people know how to set up a warehouse? How many know what kind of part numbering system to use or how to set up a barcoding system? What about manufacturing or accounting? All of this can be a bit overwhelming to even the most determined entrepreneur.
But, you know what? That is EXACTLY what Fishbowl teaches you! At its fundamental core, Fishbowl Inventory is a detailed process flow of product through a business, from Purchasing to Receiving and Inventory Tracking, to Manufacturing (if required), Sales, Pick, Pack and Ship, along with all the appropriate adjustments to Accounting. Take a look at this diagram from the Fishbowl Wiki about the basic flow of inventory in a typical business:
Looks pretty simple and straightforward (which is what a novice entrepreneur may think as well). But click on “Purchase Order” and this is what you get:
THEN click on any of the items in the Purchase Order Process, say, “Create PO”, and you’ll get detailed instructions on how to create a Purchase Order. (I won’t show that here because that would take an entire page of information by itself.) My point is that running a business that needs to track inventory is NOT a trivial issue! There is a great deal to learn in how to run a business like this and, as they say, the devil is in the details. But that is exactly what Fishbowl teaches you! Fishbowl Inventory is far more than just software, it’s an in-depth training course on the processes and details of running a business that deals with inventory. Like one of our partners once told us, “Fishbowl IS the process!”
The fundamental inventory processes learned while using Fishbowl are so valuable to the end user because the principals don’t change much from one type of business to another. Consider the following three Fishbowl customers: A science-focused summer camp for kids, a fleet of river tug boats, and a manufacturer of highly specialized computers.
In every case the process for purchasing and receiving product is exactly the same.
How about a specialty tea company, a medical tissue bank and a frozen foods manufacturer? (Sorry about listing those last two next to each other!)
In every case the basic process for manufacturing their products are exactly the same, right down to the concept of sub-assemblies (or base-mix in the case of the tea company), lot numbers, and expiration dates. HOW these products are actually manufactured is, of course, entirely different in each case, but the basic process flow concepts remain the same.
This is why Fishbowl Inventory can hire someone right out of college, train them on the details of Fishbowl, and then, with confidence, send them all over the country to provide on-site training to company owners and entrepreneurs who have been running their own companies for years. Fishbowl is a crash course on the best practices of managing inventory in a business, and when a business owner is having problems with their inventory, 9 times out of 10 it’s because their processes need fixing. That “best practice know how” is EXACTLY what they need and that’s EXACTLY what Fishbowl provides.
Till next time!
Grant Kimball is currently serving as vice president, partner relations and is one of the founders of Fishbowl. Grant joined the original Fishbowl team in 2001 and has filled many roles in, or related to, sales. Previous to his current role, he was vice president of sales and marketing. Grant brings 24 years of sales experience to Fishbowl, primarily in technology-related fields. In 2003, Grant helped steer Fishbowl towards integration with QuickBooks, the popular accounting package from Intuit Corporation. Since 2003, Fishbowl has focused on this relationship and is currently the #1-requested add-on software solution for QuickBooks users out of approximately 300 software packages. Besides the relationship with Intuit, Grant is also responsible for developing Fishbowl’s growing resellers program, which he is currently managing, and now accounts for over 20% of Fishbowl’s total sales. Grant earned a Master’s in Computer Integrated Manufacturing from Brigham Young University and a Bachelor’s in Operations Management from Cal Poly, Pomona.