For parents and children with imagination, Backyard Adventures is the place to shop. This Amarillo, Texas-based company allows its customers to design customized play sets for their children. Customers can choose from any number of configurations to design the perfect “backyard adventure.”

Backyard Adventures

Business Challenges & Needs

With so many design options available, Backyard Adventures needed a flexible, easy-to-use order entry system and a robust inventory control system. Also, because of the company’s nationwide network of 65 distributors, they needed an efficient means to order parts and maintain inventory across multiple locations. The distributors also required that the new inventory solution integrate with their QuickBooks® accounting software.

Both Backyard Adventures and its distributors needed an accurate picture of inventory levels. Because the independent dealers and distributors worked with customers to design their playsets, they needed an order entry system that could accommodate customized parts lists. Some distributors also needed to manage and track the parts inventories of multiple locations, and Backyard Adventures wanted a standardized way for dealers to place orders when their inventories ran low.

The Solution

Backyard Adventures turned to Fishbowl because of its powerful QuickBooks integration and advanced client/server architecture, which allows quick communications with remote users. Fishbowl’s sales order module lets Backyard Adventures’ customer pick the basic play set they want and then displays the custom options for that system in a list. As custom options are chosen, the list is updated with additional features and prices until the play set is complete. A work order is then automatically generated and the custom play set assembled.

To streamline the reordering process, Fishbowl designed a reorder system that allows the user to set multiple “reorder” and “order-up-to” points in different units of measure and with the appropriate cost for that unit of measure. This option lets dealers see the substantial savings they realize in both time and money by ordering by the pallet load instead of by individual piece.

Backyard Adventures

The Results

Fishbowl is easy to use and well liked by the dealers and distributors in Backyard Adventures’ network. “In a year, Fishbowl has completely transformed inventory control in my company,” says Chris Connors, Vice President of Specialty Sales and Marketing at Backyard Adventures. “It has several unique features that have helped make inventory control an easy process, including its unique configurator. The configurator makes it possible to customize a bill of materials … and allows you to customize the finished good for each customer.”

“In a year, Fishbowl has completely transformed inventory control in my company.”– Chris Connors
VP of Specialty Sales and Marketing
Backyard Adventures

The distributors also appreciate being able to maintain the right level of inventory — neither tying up too much capital in parts nor running short and possibly losing sales. To make maintaining inventory easier for distributors, Fishbowl helps automate reordering with reorder thresholds and quantities. And the ability to manage inventory separately for multiple locations is a time-saver.

The combination of Fishbowl software and QuickBooks eliminates hours of manual entry and it has made orders more accurate. “With Fishbowl and QuickBooks, we can complete our customer jobs in less time with more accuracy,” says Connors. “Our orders are complete and accurate, which saves everyone time.”

Through Fishbowl’s Configuration Wizard, Fishbowl software downloads all the customer, vendor, and part and quantity information directly from QuickBooks. From that point forward Fishbowl handles all the sales orders, purchase orders, manufacturing, and inventory control. When the distributor or Backyard Adventures needs a change in the General Ledger, Fishbowl will write that information directly to the QuickBooks file. Fishbowl exports critical accounting data as inventory changes are made.

“Fishbowl mirrors all the logical steps in a business, from purchasing to sales to packing and shipping products, so it’s easy to use,” says Connors. “Fishbowl is a full-featured manufacturing, warehouse management, inventory control and sales package that my employees have been able to adopt in their daily routine without a lot of training.”