East Wind Nut Butters has been looking for a comprehensive inventory control and management software for several years. This year we purchased Fishbowl Inventory, and have been implementing it over the past several months. We had previously been using a number of Excel spreadsheets, which were effective, but cumbersome. With the new software we can integrate many facets of running our business into one program. This will increase our efficiency and accuracy.
Fishbowl-aptly named for the user's ability to view data from a variety of angles to see the full picture of the inventory-links together the segments of East Wind Nut Butters in a loop like fashion. The production team enters the manufacturing information as we schedule shifts and produce nut butters, which updates our finished goods inventory count and reduces our raw material count. The purchasing department uses the program to check inventory levels of raw materials and place orders to our vendors. The sales department enters our customers' sales orders, which are then available to the shipping department for packing. Once packed, finished goods are removed from inventory. The shipping department also receives shipments of raw materials, at which point they are added into inventory. Fishbowl also integrates with QuickBooks, our existing accounting software. Data is exported to QuickBooks, where final purchase orders and invoices are generated and where our accounting department has access to the full range of financial reports that QuickBooks offers.
A key feature of Fishbowl is bar code tracking. Fishbowl allows us to track all our raw materials and finished goods with use of bar code stickers and hand-held bar code scanners. The scanners are easy to use, and allow inventory to be tracked in real time. This is very convenient for answering questions about what is available in inventory. The use of bar codes also makes our process for tracking product that has been sold much more efficient. If we are notified that there is a quality concern with a raw material we purchased, we can quickly and efficiently determine if it was used to manufacture any nut butter, dispose of inventory on hand, and immediately contact any customers who received affected nut butter.
We are working hard to utilize and maximize the capabilities of this new system. It will never replace human experience and judgement, but we believe it will help us provide more efficient service to our customers. To learn more about Fishbowl, visit www.fishbowlinventory.com or their wiki page here.