October 10, 2012
By Thomas R. Cutler
Ned Smith, a reporter from Business News Daily, reported that hiring among the small and midsized business manufacturers ticked up in the last six months; nearly three-fourths of SMB manufacturers reported the addition of staff, according to a snapshot survey of 134 executives of SMB manufacturers with fewer than a hundred employees. More than a third of these respondents expected to add even more staff over the next six months.
New employees herald new orders and new inventory management requirements. Most of the SMB manufacturers are using QuickBooks, yet need a new solution to cut operation time and expenses as well as to create a web-based order entry system.
When SMB manufacturers efficiently manage the entire inventory the result is a sharp reduction in business expenses incurred. Fishbowl Inventory software, as a QuickBooks add on software, seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks, giving SMB manufacturers total control over both accounting and inventory records in one place.
For most small and medium size businesses or SMBs, establishing internal hosting capabilities is a larger investment than outsourcing. The major costs of running and management of a business software application include an in-house IT staff (consisting of at least one person), equipment, software, initial set up costs, ongoing equipment and software upgrading costs, as well as the costs associated with round the clock monitoring, management, and dollars spent in troubleshooting numerous problems.
Outsourcing technology enables a company to reduce costs incurred in running an application by freeing current resources and by diminishing the expenses associated with the total budget running an in-house business software application.
Pam Baker of SmallBusinessComputing.com noted, “Fishbowl was an interface that any employee can master,” also praised Fishbowl because, “The program prevents anyone from gaming the system by requiring clear permissions for designated users, and stop-measures if employees try to duck out of entering all the information. Data entry is not burdensome so the average warehouse and office worker will not find using the system a hardship or time-consuming. Indeed, it's the simplicity that attracts high adoption rates among staffers at any level. The system requires no IT intervention to use as is.”
SMB manufacturers from every sector (from baking to moldmaking, from fabricating to foam core) require a complete inventory management system without replacing QuickBooks for accounting. Those manufacturers currently using a combination of QuickBooks and Excel need a more robust solution as they grow. Most SMB manufacturers will never require an enterprise-level ERP (enterprise resource planning) system. A low-cost system that will not require them to replace QuickBooks speaks to the needs of more than 90% of these small and midsized manufacturing companies.
The additional new hires, is just one indication of the growth these varied small manufacturers are encountering. Often they require more streamlined inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP), and job shop floor control and manufacturing execution. This honed and specific inventory-centric approach, must provide features for barcoding, asset management, raw materials management, cycle counting, and customized reporting. The solution must also automate the quoting, ordering, and purchasing processes.
Fishbowl Inventory is represented in more than seventy manufacturing industrial sectors and offers extensive training and support resources through its training videos, online tutorials, in-house specialists and other resources. Fishbowl Intuit’s Gold Partner status, the highest level of service third-party integrators can achieve, has held this high ranking for a decade.
The prognosis for Fishbowl is expansive as more manufacturers know that the days of Excel inventory management are not working as growth and new hiring indicate the need for better processes and better tools to continue growing most efficiently.
Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., (www.trcutlerinc.com). Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 4000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, American Society of Business Publication Editors, and Committee of Concerned Journalists, as well as author of more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.