There are three categories of Inventory management systems that are used by QuickBooks customers The next three blog posts will each focus on one of these three categories:

  1. Stand-alone

  2. Take over all inventory management functionality

  3. Deep integration 

 

1. Stand-Alone Inventory Management System

The stand-alone inventory management solutions are the most widely deployed inventory management systems for QuickBooks (QB) users. They do not have as much functionality as some of the other solutions, but they are the least expensive. These kind of systems have no integration with QB at all.  They are designed to exist in their own environment completely independent of any transactions or changes made in QuickBooks.  In order to see the same items in QB and in the inventory management system, you would have to duplicate the data between the two systems.

The biggest issue is keeping QuickBooks and the inventory management system in sync from a quantity on hand perspective.  This task requires constant duplication efforts and eventually the issues add up.  Most people stop trying to track inventory in QB and just rely on the inventory management system for the quantity on hand.  This means that the salespeople have to sign in to the inventory management system to check the quantity prior to placing a customer’s order, and purchasing has to sign in to the inventory management system to figure out what they need to reorder.

An example of a customer order workflow might look something like this. The salesperson skips the sales order in QuickBooks and goes straight to the invoice.  This is a risky maneuver, but is a big time saver. They list the items the customer wants on the invoice and print a pick list.  This is handed to the warehouse person who picks the items on the invoice and does the data entry to get them into the inventory management system.  The inventory management system tells them where to go to pick the items.  After the pick, they go back into the inventory management system and edit any lines that were not completely picked.  They write on the QB document pick list or pack list and give it back to the QB person.  They then go into QB and correct the invoice in QB to reflect what was actually picked and shipped. In this process, there are a lot of opportunity for errors.

In general, these stand-alone solutions can be a great system for someone who has limited inventory requirements.  Perhaps they just need to track lot numbers or assign barcodes to their items.  It is an inexpensive solution, but can result in higher operational costs later down the road.

Check back in tomorrow for an explanation about the Take Over All System.