Fishbowl Products–Selling Your Parts in Fishbowl

This is the second post about how to differentiate between Fishbowl Parts and Products…and some details about each.  In this post, we will discover how a Product is used, and maybe you’ll even find out some things that you didn’t know about your own products.

Money

What is a Product?

In Fishbowl, a Product is anything that you sell…so, if you put it on a Sales Order, it is considered a Product.  Period.  Yes, even samples are considered Products.

What Are the Different Types of Products, and What Can You do With Them?

Although there are many types of Parts in Fishbowl (as discussed in our last blog post), you can only associate products with the following types of parts: Inventory, Service, Non-Inventory, and Shipping.  This makes sense, if you think about it.  You wouldn’t be selling Overhead, Internal Use parts, or Labor (at least, not directly).

Products

Part and Product Association

As we mentioned in our last blog post, you can associate multiple Products with one Part.  This is important in many industries when you want to use the same inventory, but sell it to your customers with different names, or in different Unit Of Measure quantities.  For example, let’s say that you sell Part A to Customer 1 as Product X, but to Customer 2, you sell that same Part as Product Y.  You want to pull from the same pool of inventory, but you want your customers to see different things when they purchase your products.  That is why you can associate multiple Products with one Part.  Are you confused yet?

Another great thing to know about Products is the Kitting feature.  A Kit is really just a group of Products that are sold together as a package deal.  This is different than manufacturing, because you do not build a Kit and stock it on your shelves.  In this case, the Kit is placed on a Sales Order, and each of the Products would be picked individually from your shelves after the order has been entered.  If you are interested in creating Kits, you can do so in the Product Module (just use the little black arrow next to “New”).

We hope this information has helped clear up some of the confusion about Parts vs. Products in Fishbowl.  As always, you are welcome to let us know if you need more explanation on this topic.

Fishbowl Parts vs. Products

In this series, we will explore the differences between a part and a product in Fishbowl Inventory.  If you are new to Fishbowl, sometimes this can be a confusing concept, especially if you are coming from QuickBooks, which only uses “Items”.  In this post, let’s talk about how Fishbowl treats Parts.

PartsWhat is a Part?

In Fishbowl, Parts are anything that can be purchased, consumed, transferred, picked, manufactured, cycled, scrapped, etc.  In other words, a Part is what you use in your everyday business.  The only thing you cannot do with a Part, in Fishbowl, is sell it.  Selling is reserved for your Products.  We will talk more about products in our next post.

What Are the Different Types of Parts, and What Can You Do With Them?

  • Inventory.  Inventory-type parts are the most common for most businesses…for obvious reasons.  Inventory-type parts can be purchased, received, tracked (e.g. serial numbers, lot numbers, and expiration dates), consumed during manufacturing, created from manufacturing activities, and inventoried.
  • Non-Inventory, Service, Internal Use, Capital Equipment, and Shipping.  All of these part types can be purchased,received, consumed during manufacturing, and created from manufacturing activities (though this may not be wise, from an accounting standpoint).  These parts cannot be tracked by Serial Number, Lot Number, Expiration Date, etc.  They also cannot be inventoried.
  • Labor and Overhead.  The only use for Labor- and Overhead-type parts is in the Manufacturing module.  These parts cannot be purchased, nor can they be received.  However, they can be consumed or created during the manufacturing process.

Part and Product Association

One last thing to remember about Fishbowl Parts:

You can have multiple Products associated with one Part, but you cannot have multiple Parts associated with one Product.  Just let that sink in for a minute.

LilyPad: Giving the Gift of Mobility

LilyPad MobileNews Flash!  LilyPad Mobile Sales and LilyPad Mobile Warehouse make Fishbowl extremely more flexible and accessible.  Okay, maybe that’s not news, but let’s see why they’re so helpful…then, let’s see what people are saying about them.

More Cool LilyPad Features

We’ve already talked about some of the features of LilyPad in our previous blog posts (here and here), but our customers are also raving about these features:

  • Accepting and saving signatures
  • 2D barcode creation and scanning
  • Cycle counting by location
  • Being able to email reports from LilyPad
  • The option to upload your personal Logo, so your customers feel right at home when logging into your company interface.
  • And so much more…

The Word on the Street

These are some of our favorite things that our customers are saying about us:

“I believe that LilyPad is an excellent add-on value to Fishbowl and I strongly recommend for companies like mine to use since the benefits and cost savings are great.”

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“…Your immediate actions speaks volumes to which we are deeply grateful and will never forget. We look forward to a smooth running system for years to come, and we are blessed to have a team as dedicated as yours, to helping not only our business, but the businesses of others.”

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“Sharpe Concepts has been extremely responsive to our needs. They have worked with us to enhance the LilyPad interface to be a robust system that checks and controls many things that were not originally in the interface. They are fast, reasonably priced and extremely knowledgeable in all parts of the systems.”

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“…I would strongly recommend your services to other companies…”

Don’t let everyone else have all the fun!  Check out LilyPad to discover for yourself what everyone is talking about.

LilyPad Mobile Warehouse For Fishbowl Inventory

LilyPad Mobile Warehouse allows you to take Fishbowl Inventory into your warehouse, in the palm of your hand.  Check out these features that make LilyPad Mobile Warehouse an invaluable addition to your Fishbowl Inventory software.

LilyPad Mobile Warehouse

Logistical Benefits

  • Handheld Devices: When you are doing work in a warehouse, you don’t want to be carrying around bulky laptops, or pages of reports.  Nor do you want to have to memorize information from a computer screen, and try to remember what you saw on the computer while walking around the warehouse.  Having a small, handheld device that holds all of the information can be helpful for completing your warehousing tasks in a simpler, more efficient way.
  • Scan or Key Data: LilyPad Mobile Warehouse will allow you to scan barcodes throughout your warehouse in order to perform your needed activities.  Or, if you don’t have a barcode available, you can type in the information you need.
  • Scan Master Pack Quantities: If your inventory comes in Master Packs (a package that is then broken down into your standard Units of Measure), LilyPad Mobile Warehouse gives you the ability to scan the Master Pack, and then the inventory is automatically received at the correct quantity and Unit of Measure.
  • 2D Barcode Scanning: 2D barcoding is becoming more common in almost every industry.  And guess what: LilyPad Mobile Warehouse allows you to scan 2D barcodes, as well as 1D barcodes.
  • Mobile Custom Reports:  For those of you who like to see reports while in the warehouse, LilyPad Mobile Warehouse gives you access to the reports that you need.

Software Benefits

There are many software benefits to using LilyPad Mobile Warehouse.  Here are some of the functions that can be performed with your handheld device:

  • Pick, Pack, and Ship Fishbowl Orders
  • Receive Orders
  • Move, Cycle, Scrap, and Add inventory
  • Create Sales Orders, Purchase Orders, and Transfer Orders

All of these functions become simpler,and more accurate when you are scanning your parts in the warehouse.  In addition to the ease of use, LilyPad Mobile Warehouse will submit the information to Fishbowl in real time…which means that Fishbowl is up-to-date at all times.
Check out these videos to see all of the great features of LilyPad Mobile Warehouse.

LilyPad Mobile Sales for Fishbowl Inventory

LilyPad Mobile Sales allows you to extend Fishbowl Inventory to a whole new audience: your customers.  This is possible because LilyPad Mobile Sales connects directly to your Fishbowl database, but is accessible from any device that is connected to the internet.  With this accessibility, your sales team can create orders while standing in front of your customers.  Or, even better, your customers can log in and place their own orders in a secure, controlled environment.  Let’s explore these features:

Giving Your Sales Team the Freedom of Mobility

In many industries, the effectiveness of your sales team comes from their face-to-face interactions with your customers.  Having an edge over the competition can become the deciding factor that determines if your customers are going to choose to continue to do business with you.

Imagine giving your Salespeople the ability to place an order as they sit with your customers, knowing that the order will be sent to Fishbowl as soon as it is submitted in LilyPad Mobile Sales.  Not only does this create an efficient way to create your sales orders, but your salespeople will also be able to move on to the next customer, rather than trying to enter the sales orders once they leave.

Store Front

Let Your Customers Do the Work

In LilyPad Mobile Sales, you can create user logins for your customers.  With these logins, your customers can enter their own sales orders at any time, and from anywhere they have internet access.  Because you have the ability to control what products y
our customers can see, and since their pricing rules are automatically applied, there is no risk in allowing them to create their own orders.

Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will help you explore more benefits of taking Fishbowl Inventory into the mobile world with LilyPad.

LilyPad: The Perfect Fishbowl Inventory Add-On

Fishbowl Inventory has been touting itself as the #1 QuickBooks Add-On for over a decade, now.  While that may be true, you might not be aware of the #1 add-on to Fishbowl Inventory: LilyPad.LilyPad Logo

Sharpe Concepts, the maker of the LilyPad products, has been creating solutions for Fishbowl users since almost the beginning of Fishbowl.  While we don’t have room to describe all of the products, we would like to tell you about two of them: LilyPad Mobile Warehouse, and LilyPad Mobile Sales.

LilyPad Mobile Warehouse

LilyPad Mobile Warehouse, or LMW for short, allows you to take Fishbowl Inventory into your warehouse by making the following features available:

  • Scan or Key Data
  • Pick, Pack, and Ship Fishbowl Orders
  • Receive Inventory from Fishbowl Orders
  • Move, Cycle Count, Add, and Scrap Inventory
  • Create Sales Orders, Purchase Orders, and Transfer Orders in real-time
  • Accept Payments
  • Finish Fishbowl Work Orders
  • Scan Master Pack Quantities

Don’t forget one of the best features of LilyPad Mobile Warehouse: 2D barcoding!

LilyPad Mobile Sales

LilyPad Mobile Sales, or LMS for short, gives you the ability to take Fishbowl Inventory to your customers.  This can be especially helpful for those of you who have an outside sales force.  LilyPad Mobile Sales can be used on a tablet or smart phone, and will allow your sales people to create orders while they are on-site with your customers.

Another great feature of LilyPad Mobile Sales is the ability to create users for your customers.  In other words, your customers can log onto your system, and place orders themselves.  They don’t have to call, email, or fax (do people still do that?) an order to you.  Instead, they log into LilyPad Mobile Sales, place their order, and within moments, the order is in Fishbowl Inventory.

This can be a huge time saver!  And, it helps reduce the problems of manual order entry.

Stay tuned to hear more about LilyPad Mobile Warehouse and LilyPad Mobile Sales.

Tips and Tricks of Fishbowl Inventory Reports (Part 2)

In our previous blog post, we discussed a few ways to make your reports easier to read, and more accessible.  We continue along that path with a few more tips in this week’s post.

Dashboard Reports

Adding Reports to Your Dashboard

The Dashboard can be a helpful tool, especially to gauge the ebb and flow of your daily business activities.  To help make your Dashboard complete, you can add any Fishbowl report, and then pull it up within a few moments.  All of this can be done without having to go to the reports module to open the report.

Just remember that the more reports you add to the Dashboard, the longer it will take your Fishbowl Client to load.  Another thing to be aware of is that the reports on your Dashboard will be displayed with whatever filters you have set on the report in the Report Module.  For tips on saving multiple reports, but with different filters, see our last blog post, or give us a call.

Scheduling Reports For Export

Reports can be scheduled to export on a regular basis.  These reports can be exported as excel files (including csv’s), as pdf’s, or as Rich Text Files, which can be helpful if you want to keep a record of your reports within a designated folder.  At the same time, the reports can also be emailed to a designated recipient.

One of the known problems in Fishbowl Inventory is that some reports are not accurate if you are back-dating the report.  For example, the “On Hand by Date” report shows you the inventory quantities from your chosen date, but it displays the asset values as of today.

Another example is the “Inventory Valuation Summary” report.  This report cannot be back-dated, so if you did not save a copy of the report on a given date, that report is lost forever.

We suggest that you find the reports that most impact your business, and schedule them for automatic export on a daily basis.

Default Reports

Fishbowl has set up their own reports as defaults in specific modules (e.g. the “Sales Order Report” in the Sales Order Module, or the “Pick Ticket” in the Picking Module).  But, what if you want to print or email a different report from these modules, when prompted?  This can be accomplished in the Reports Module by choosing which Default Reports you want to have assigned to each Module within Fishbowl.

Setting up Default Reports in specific modules can help you more easily get the reports you need, at the time you need them.  The report that you have set up as the default report for each module will be the one that prints out when you click the “Print” icon in the module, or when you are prompted to print a report after completing a step while processing orders.

Other Settings (Module Options)

In the Module Options of the Report Module, you will find some other handy options that you might not already know about.  Some of these options include:

  • Displaying the “Modify Report” dialog box upon opening a report
  • Setting a Default Date Range
  • Setting a Default Location Group
  • Setting a Default Salesperson
  • Choosing how many decimal places to show on your reports
  • How the date displays on your reports

These options can be helpful for getting the most out of your reports.

Let us know if you have any questions about Fishbowl reports.  As always, we are happy to help!

Tips and Tricks of Fishbowl Inventory Reports (Part 1)

There are over 150 built-in reports in Fishbowl Inventory.  However, not all of those reports are helpful in their default settings or configurations.  In this two-part series, we will discuss some changes you can make to the reports, and some settings that can help make your life a little easier.

Reports

Use the “Modify Report” Feature

When you first view a report, the default filters for that report will be used.  For many, the standard filters are not sufficient.  So, to change the report filters, just click the “Modify Report” button at the top-left of the report.  This will open a window that allows you to change date ranges, statuses, details, displayed fields, etc.  Changing some of these simple filters can help change a useless report into a valuable tool.

After you have changed your filters, don’t forget to click the “Save Filters as Default Filters” icon (the one that looks like a little disk and is located at the bottom-left of the “Modify Reports” window).  Then, your filters will be applied every time you open the report.

While in the “Modify Report” window, don’t forget to check out the “Printer” tab, which allows you to choose which printer your report will be sent to when printed.  You can choose a specific printer for each of your Location Groups that you have set up in Fishbowl.

Finding Your Favorite Reports

In the Reports Module, you can add your most-used reports to your “Favorites” folder.  This not only helps you to find your reports quickly and easily, but you can also save specific filters to these reports.

To add a report to your “Favorites” folder, right-click on it in the search pane of the Reports Module, and click “Add to Favorites”.  In addition to setting your favorite reports, you can also copy your reports, rename them, and have multiple versions of the same report, but with different filters set on each one.

Make Your Reports More Accessible

Not everyone wants to go to the Reports Module to open their reports.  Luckily, you have the option of assigning your reports to your chosen modules.  For example, if you want to see the “Purchase History” report in the Sales Order Module, you can assign it to the Sales Order Module, and then you will be able to find the report in the “Reports” drop-down menu within the module.

To make reports available within the modules, you will go to the Reports Module and open the report you want to assign to a module.  Once open, click on the “Details” tab at the top of the report.  In the Details Tab, you will see a list of all of the modules in Fishbowl.  Simply check the boxes next to the module(s) you want to associate the report with, and then click the “Save” icon at the top-left of the screen.

Get a Custom Report (or a modification)

If you can’t get the information you need from the default Fishbowl reports, you can build the reports yourself, if you have some programming knowledge.  Or, you can call on us to write the report for you.  We have built many reports over the years that have helped save time and money for our clients.  After all, Fishbowl Inventory is just a tool that relates information, and the better your reports are, the more informed you will be.

If you create your own report, it will need to be installed on your Fishbowl Server.  To install the reports, you will paste the files into the correct directory, and then use the “Upload” button in the Reports Module to load the report into your Fishbowl Database.  Once you have installed the reports, make sure you assign them to the correct modules in Fishbowl.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our story on Fishbowl Inventory Reports.

Transferring Like a Pro in Fishbowl Inventory

When it comes to transferring your inventory in Fishbowl, you have multiple options, each with their own benefits.  Let’s explore!

Transfer Orders in Fishbowl Inventory

In the Transfer Order module, you have the option to choose what type of Transfer Order you want to create.  By default, your Transfer Orders will come up as “Ship”, but you can use the drop-down list to choose one of the other two types when you are first creating your order.  Here is a description of each of the types of Transfer Orders, and how they are most commonly used:

  1. Ship-type Transfer Orders.  A Ship-type Transfer Order will allow you to ship inventory from one Location or Location Group to another Location or Location Group.  Most commonly, these types of Transfer Orders are use to ship inventory from one of your warehouses to another.

When processing a Ship-type Transfer Order, you will go through the Picking, Shipping, and Receiving steps to pull your inventory from your shelves, ship it, and then receive it into the correct location at the destination.  This type of Transfer Order requires the most steps to complete, but it also provides you with the most documentation when all is said and done.

  1. Move-type Transfer Orders.  A Move-type Transfer Order is similar to the Ship-type, but instead of going through the shipping and receiving steps, you will complete the order in the Pick Module.

This type of Transfer Order is usually performed when you are moving inventory from one bin/shelf/area of your warehouse to another bin/shelf/area within the same warehouse.  Just be careful in the Picking Module, because once you finish the pick, the Transfer Order will be fulfilled…and there’s no turning back.

  1. Putaway-type Transfer Orders.  This is probably the least-used type of Transfer Order.  However, it can be one of the most useful, if used properly.  To complete a Putaway-type Transfer Order, you must have default locations set up for your parts.  Then, if your inventory has been received into a different location, you can use the Putaway Transfer Order to easily put your inventory into the default locations.

A Putaway Transfer Order works just like the Move-type Transfer Order, in that it does not have to go through the shipping and receiving steps to be completed.  Instead, the order will be completed as soon as you finish the Pick.

  1. Auto Putaway.  The Auto Putaway function allows you to move all inventory from a staging location into the default locations of each part.  That means that a default location must be assigned before this function will work.

To accomplish an Auto Putaway, you will choose a location where you have inventory stored, and then choose which Location Group you want to put your inventory into.  As you complete the Auto Putaway, each of the parts that were in the original location will be moved to their default locations.

  1. Auto Replenish.  This type of transfer is based on Reorder Levels.  If you have set up Reorder Levels for your parts, and you have done so for each of your Location Groups, you can create an Auto Replenish Transfer Order to move inventory from one of your Location Groups to replenish the inventory of a second Location Group.

This is especially helpful if you have a distribution warehouse that stocks storefronts or other locations.  You can keep your inventory located in the central distribution warehouse, and then create a simple Auto Replenish Transfer Order to restock the outlying locations.

Mobile Barcode Scanning in LilyPad Mobile Warehouse

Transferring with Mobile Scanners
Transferring with Mobile Scanners

If you are looking for a barcoding solution to help control your inventory, check out LilyPad Mobile Warehouse.

LilyPad is a Fishbowl add-on that allows you to scan do simple moves of your inventory by scanning the Part Number, the original Location of the inventory, and then the destination Location.  You can easily move the needed inventory into a new location with a few quick scans.  This can all be done on your phone, tablet, or all-in-one scanners.

If you like the traceability of Transfer Orders in Fishbowl, you can use LilyPad Mobile Warehouse to create Transfer Orders, which will then be entered automatically into Fishbowl.  This, too, is accomplished with a few easy barcode scans, which helps you streamline your transferring process, and move on to other important activities.

 

Perfecting Your Purchasing in Fishbowl Inventory

PurchasingPurchasing can be considered a form of art.  From negotiating with vendors, to keeping the correct on-hand quantities, there is always a balancing act that must happen in order to create the perfect purchasing scenario.  Here are some tips to help you master the art of purchasing in Fishbowl Inventory.

Use The Built-in Reports

The Reorder Report, which can be found in the Reports Module, will show you all of the parts that need to be reordered in order to fulfill all of your current demand.  The report is a handy tool to help you figure out what your current “On Hand” inventory is verses your “Available” quantity.  Throw in Reorder levels (see below), and this report can become a powerful tool for any purchasing agent.

The Auto PO report shows much of the same information that you find on the Reorder Report, but the information is broken down by Default Vendor.  In other words, if you want to see all of the items that should be purchased, and from which vendors to purchase them, use the Auto PO report.

Set up Reorder Levels

In the Part Module, you can set up reorder levels for each of your Inventory-type parts.  The reorder levels include a Reorder Point (some people call this the min), and the Order Up to Level (some people call this the max).

When your inventory dips below the Reorder Point (min), that part will show up on the reports that we mentioned above, and it will populate into the Auto-PO wizard (see below).

If you need to keep a specific amount of inventory on hand, make sure you set up your Reorder Levels.  This will help you eliminate some of the guess work when you do your purchasing.

Bonus: after you have used Fishbowl Inventory for a few months, you can run the “Auto ROP” wizard to help you calculate your Reorder Levels based off of historical data in Fishbowl.

Use the Auto PO function

The Auto PO function can be used to create Purchase Orders for all parts that need to be reordered.  The button is found at the top-left side of the Purchase Order Module.  When running the Auto PO wizard, Fishbowl will look at all of your open orders (SO’s, PO’s, MO’s, and TO’s) to see what inventory is scheduled to leave your warehouse, and what is scheduled to come in.  Not only will Fishbowl look at your open orders, but it will also look at your Reorder Levels to see if additional inventory should be ordered to replenish your shelf quantities.

If you want to use the Auto PO function, you must first set up Default Vendors.  This can be done in the Part Module, under the “Vendors” tab.

Once you have set up your Reorder Levels, and assigned your Default Vendors, your life as a purchaser should be smooth sailing.  The biggest decision you’ll have to make after that is what to do with all of your free time.

We would love to hear your feedback!  Let us know of your successes or difficulties when it comes to purchasing in Fishbowl Inventory.