Warehouse Inventory Control Software FishBowl

Managing the inventory within a warehouse is extremely important. It is becoming more important during a down-economy where only the leanest companies will survive. Do you know what your optimal reorder point is? How much current inventory do you have in work-in-progress? How much shrinkage occurs in your warehouse? These are all answers that warehouse inventory control software can answer.

There are a lot of good inventory management packages available. Finding one that fits your company is a matter of looking at your needs and the current situation within your company. This article will focus on one solution: FishBowl Inventory.

Some Features that Set FishBowl Apart

FishBowl comes with all the normal bells and whistles that normally accompany warehouse inventory software. One advantage of FishBowl is that it integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks. This integration by the FishBowl team was looking ahead to the future of warehouse inventory management: enterprise resource planning (ERP).

ERP basically means that you have one piece of software to “rule them all and in the end bind them.” Imagine having one software package to run your entire business. We’re talking accounting, manufacturing, sales, management, human resources, the works. Having one piece of software to run all of your business would cut training time down considerably, but it also has other advantages.

One of the main advantages of an ERP-like system such as FishBowl is data accuracy. An example will help explain. Normally inventory managers keep track of information in a spreadsheet or some other form of software. Once they have all their numbers they send this information to the accountants and management. The accountants then re-enter this information into their accounting software. Not only is this redundant, but it leaves a chance for data-entry errors (which unfortunately happen all too often).

Worse, managers take the information and enter it into a different set of software. Something that will allow them to manipulate the data into information they can make decisions with. Again, the chance for errors arises.

With FishBowl’s integration, the data the inventory managers use and the data the accountants use are in fact the same data. There is no re-entering. This not only ensures more accuracy, but it saves a lot of time. The accountants no longer have to petition inventory for their information, they already have access to it through FishBowl.

ERP systems store data in a centralized location that allows managers to control the data better and it also makes it easier to share the data throughout the organization. FishBowl is not a true ERP system, but it is approaching ERP which is a lot better than most of the warehouse inventory software available.

Pricing

FishBowl starts at around $3,600. This price will likely go up as the number of licensed users in your company goes up. This is a competitive price. It also comes with one year of support. Prices for support vary after one year depending on the type and quantity of support your organization needs. Note that most of your support issues will probably be in the first year as your organization gets used to the new warehouse management package.

Support

While we’re talking about support, we might as well mention that FishBowl’s support is pretty cutting edge. Sure they have the traditional methods like flying out to your company to help get things going, but they also have Web 2.0 aides like online training videos, remote online training, and web chat. Sometimes it is nicer to watch a training video on your own time, rather than having someone present it to you at an appointment.

Overall FishBowl should be able to handle your inventory tracking and accounting needs. As I mentioned, there are other good options out there, and you’ll want to see if FishBowl is the best fit for your organization. If you’re a small-to-medium sized company that is already using QuickBooks for accounting, FishBowl will be hard to beat.

Reimage Review: Extending The Useful Lifespan Of Windows XP

An interesting outcome of the recession has been the increase in users retaining their old Windows XP machines rather than upgrading to newer systems. This has prolonged the shelf life of XP and fostered support services and PC maintenance software. This Reimage review covers the pros and cons of sticking with XP and how software can automate computer repair and maintenance tasks.

Even prior to the recent recession the Windows XP operating system was still proving popular with customers.

  • The regular services packs made it stable and secure.
  • Vista was not a roaring success/improvement so many users put off upgrading to Vista.
  • PCs and laptops from 2000 to 2004 were already very fast and had sufficient performance for managing the bulk of applications that regular users were using.

Once the recession hit, users chose to stick with the old XP systems, perhaps even upgrading the RAM/CPU if performance was proving an issue. The fact that RAM for 5/6/7 year old computers than for newer machines meant it was economically viable to simply upgraded memory rather than move to a new OS/computer.

Prolonging XP’s useful life has resulted in a need to support the older system, principally around computer repair and maintenance. Ultimately software vendors, including Microsoft, will stop supporting their applications on XP and we will all need to upgrade or tolerate using older applications (which perhaps isn’t such a bad thing anyway). In the meantime there is still a need for people and services for computer repair and maintenance.

There will always be a need for computer experts that you can drop your PC off to for repairs and they can remedy both hardware and software issues. The majority of users will invariably attempt the repairs for themselves first usually using online advice for pointers.

In the case of software issues most users will attempt the repairs themselves prior to resorting to computer experts. There is a growing PC maintenance software industry that can assist users in effecting repairs for themselves, and for XP the Reimage repair application is one of the better solutions (and my tool of choice since 2005).

For a number of years now I have been running 4 computers using Windows XP (media box, music production, work laptop, family laptop). I was not impressed by Vista so didn’t make the move up on any of them. Maintaining the machines involved the usual activities – backing up data regularly, getting Windows updates automatically and clearing out caches/temp files/unused applications on a regular basis. However, when I experienced a blue screen exception I ended up turning to Reimage to attempt the repairs.

When an issue such as this occurs it is hard to know whether it is the registry, the operating system or application files that are at fault. Reimage focuses on repairing all 3 rather than merely specializing in just one.

It works in a 3 stage process, all of which operates from within a browser as it needs to query their online knowledge base

  1. Scan: The application scans the registry for orphaned keys, missing keys and incorrectly set keys. The file system is checked for trojan/virus files, missing files (for applications) and file versions (to ascertain if newer versions exist).
  2. Report: The scan report details the list of faults giving you the information to repair them yourself or let Reimage make the PC fixes.
  3. Repair: The application pull down any necessary files from their repository of over 20 million. The registry keys are set according to their knowledge base of healthy key settings – something which can optimize even a healthy machine to perform better.

The full process took under 30 minutes to scan and repair my blue screen issues (the exception code was 0x80072F76 which relates to a registry issue) and since then I have used Reimage to periodically make repairs on all my XP systems. At the very least, running the scan stage is a good means of checking the system’s health.

Ultimately, we will all need to move over to Windows 7, or whatever follows it, but in the meantime it makes economic sense to recycle and prolong the useful working life of our old XP machines.

You can find a more detailed Reimage Review here