Turbo charge your inventory management system

What system do you use to manage your inventory? What do you use to collate orders into picking lists? How do you manage goods inwards? I’d like to tell you about how we manage our inventory.

Over the last year I have been learning how to use FileMaker Pro. It is a program that has huge potential. This is one of its drawbacks. It takes a long time to master. But once you do you can use it to make a bespoke system tailored to suit your company’s needs that can grow and evolve with you allowing you to add features as you need.

20130221-121250.jpg

One of my favourite features is that I can access and update our stock on my iPhone. Our database is hosted on a server. So all information is always up to date. When I am in the warehouse, where we don’t have computers or broadband, I can receive an order on my phone, check its location, mark it as picked. This allows us to update stock levels. Filemaker Go for iPhone/iPad offers lots of potential. The container fields allow us to photograph book jackets and feed them to the websites where we sell our stock. You can see that containers also allow the user add audio, signatures and PDFs. Siri allows the user to add text using the phones microphone. I have CNS Barcode Reader integrated with our database. This nifty feature allows us to scan our books’ barcodes on the iPhone. It is a pleasure to use.

20130221-121322.jpg

FileMaker Pro is great for adding goods to our inventory. We programmed it to scrape information about our books from amazon. So when we add a new book we type in the ISBN and press a button. The rest of the information is scraped in a couple of seconds. The scraping feature is one of my favourite features. I’m developing our database to scrape our orders from amazon and our other market places automatically and getting it to push the orders to us. Isn’t this just the same as email? No. When I mark the order as posted FileMaker Pro will tell Amazon that the order has been shipped. Depending on where the order ids going I can get FileMaker Pro to email the customer just after the expected date of arrival of the shipment asking him/her for feedback – timely and effortlessly. It creates a really professional impression on the customer.

I’m also in the process of developing our database to scrape prices from bookfinder.com. I’ll use an algorithm to competitively price our books. You may say that what I am doing here can already be done by fillz or monsoon. The beauty here is that I can change how our price is worked out and I don’t have to pay a commission for the privilege.

I can send customers a snapshot link of our inventory based on a find according to my their preferences. The customer will receive this smart find in the form of an app.

20130221-121306.jpg

The interface is absolutely gorgeous especially after Filemaker introduced new themes last year. It is also easy to produce charts, from live, updating data, showing your best sellers, customers, regions etc.

Please let me know what your favourite features are of your inventory management system.

Ten ways to beat the recession and put more money in your pocket

Five years into the recession now and although there are signs that growth is returning in the Irish economy Ireland faces more pruning before we face more gentle budgets. This year’s budget was one of the harshest in living memory. Property tax was introduced. Child benefit was cut by €10 per child for the first two children. Many people are struggling to meet mortgage repayments and are in negative equity. It is my aim to share some of my money saving tips. But I would really love you to share yours too so that together we can get rid of our money worries once and for all. 

stress

Thanks to secrets-2-success.com.

  1. Rent a room out in your house. You may not have a spare bedroom at the moment. I moved our children into the smaller bedroom to free up some space. Foreign students are willing to pay for bed and board. We just a student stay with us for two months. Call your local TEFL academy and offer your services. They often have enquiries from students looking for accommodation. 
  2. If you find that you want to trade up but cannot afford it consider renting out your own home and renting a larger house. You may be able to rent a considerably larger home without having to deal with the bank.
  3. Talk to your bank if you are struggling to pay your mortgage. You may be able to pay interest only for a number of years.
  4. Don’t use your credit card for Christmas shopping. Only use your laser or credit card. Pay off your credit card bill in full every month. The interest on credit cards is considerably higher than other sources of credit. 
  5. Shop around for your presents. I priced a Lego set for €78 on the high Street. It was available on EBay for £38 + £10 postage – equivalent to €60. 
  6. The National Consumer Association advises that you make sure you are getting all of your tax relief benefits and/or social welfare entitlements. See revenue.ie, welfare.ie. 
  7. Make sure you don’t duplicate insurance policies. Nca.ie states that you may be covered for some elements of travel insurance by your health insurance provider.

    NewImage

    Thanks to Financefox.ca

  8. Bring a shopping list to the supermarket. This cuts down on the temptation to impulse buy. I try and have a meal before a supermarket shop for the same reason. 
  9. Have a garage sale. Some of the junk in your garage is treasure to others.  Photograph the items and sell them on gumtree.ie and on donedeal.ie.

    Garage sale

    Thanks to Golden Nugget Flea Market

  10. Consider house swapping as a cheap holiday alternative. You can save on accommodation and car hire. You will also have many of the conveniences which hotels don’t offer in you host home. We house swapped two years ago with 1sthomeexchange.com and really enjoyed it.

I hope you can adapt some of this advice to your situation. Please share your comments and tips.

 

Check out these books: The Hutchinson Money Minder

Money Guide 

The Independent Woman’s Money Guide: Take Charge Of Your Finances And Make Your Money Work For You

Money Management