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.
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.
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.