5 Ways to Really Make Inventory Management Painless

November 15, 2011
When I read the article “Five Steps to Painless Inventory Management,” I thought Christmas had come early this year. This article is full of ideas I can build on because everything the author, Lisa Girard, says either ties into Fishbowl Inventory or can be improved on by Fishbowl.

Effortless tug of war, Fishbowl Inventory Blog

I’ll show you what I mean by going through all five steps:

1. Too Much Inventory

To solve the problem of overstock, Girard suggests business leaders “Start with some decent projections of how much supply you’ll need and when you’ll need it.” The problem is: how do you get these projections? She seems to have skipped that important step. You need to have access to data on products and sales history. But reports that project how much supply you’ll need don’t just create themselves. If you try to pull the data from Excel spreadsheets or some other ad-hoc inventory management system, you could waste a lot of time. Fishbowl Inventory finds all the data you need and then generates reports that help you plan for supply needs, seasonal demand changes, optimum inventory levels and much more. It takes the guesswork out of inventory management and keeps your inventory levels balanced.

2. Inaccurate Inventory Tracking

“Using electronic data interchange (EDI) and bar code scanning can help eliminate data entry errors.” Exactly! Girard hit it right on the head with this one, so I really don’t have much to add. To keep your inventory records accurate, you should stop entering data into a computer by hand and simply scan product barcodes. That way, you eliminate the possibility of typos creeping into the numbers. With a barcode reader and Fishbowl Mobile Warehouse software, you can receive products into your warehouse, place orders, cycle count inventory and much more.

3. Lack of Priorities

Girard’s answer to a lack of priorities is to “Focus on the items that matter most.” These include top-selling products. All other products, especially slow-selling ones, should be lower on your priority list. Again, there’s a missing step: how do you figure out which are your most popular products? You need data! This goes back to No. 1. Fishbowl Inventory keeps track of all the inventory data you need, and it can put it into easy-to-understand reports so you can analyze information and use it to make smart decisions.

4. Using Spreadsheets

Instead of using Excel for inventory management, businesses should “use software such as QuickBooks or Peachtree,” Girard recommends. To her credit, she does note that these two software solutions are mostly used for accounting, not inventory management. But the fact is that neither of them has all the tracking and warehouse management features companies are looking for. Fishbowl Inventory does. That’s why it’s the No. 1 inventory management software for QuickBooks. It integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks and adds all of the inventory management features companies need for a relatively low price. That way, they can keep using their favorite accounting software instead of having to switch to an entirely new system.

5. No Backup Plan

Girard makes a good point about data security. After you’ve set up a smooth inventory management system, “what happens if there’s a fire or your computer is badly damaged or stolen?” She offers several solutions to this problem, like downloading your data onto a jump drive or using a professional backup service. The trouble with backing up data on a jump drive is that it can be hard to remember to download all of your information onto it every day. Also, you might have to use multiple jump drives, depending on how much data you have. Professional services can be expensive, too. Fishbowl Hosted Services is a good data backup solution for small and midsize businesses. It stores a company’s data in a secure, offsite server that can be accessed anywhere through the Internet. If your computer crashes, you can retrieve your data in minutes by calling Fishbowl. They constantly update your saved files throughout the day, and they handle cyber security and other IT tasks for a reasonable price. So there you have it. That’s my take on the five steps to painless inventory management. Fishbowl offers solutions to all of these problems and many others, too. Sign up for an inventory software demo to see how Fishbowl can specifically help your company.