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.

More Efficient Sales Order Processing in Fishbowl Inventory

If you’re spending too much time entering Sales Orders, instead of talking to customers, your business is going to suffer.  Follow these helpful tips to make your Sales Order Processing faster and simpler.

Sales Orders

Tip 1: Quick Fulfill

If you don’t want to worry about going through picking and shipping, you can just click the “Quick Fulfill” button, and your sales order will be completed in just a couple of quick steps…right from the Sales Order module!

Tip 2: Product Trees

Sales Order Search Options

If you’ve set up a Product Tree in Fishbowl, you can access the product tree from the Sales Order module to help in creating your sales orders.  To access the product tree, click the Product Tree icon at the top of the search pane (the middle of the three icons). Then, you can easily navigate through your product tree and double-click on the products that you want to add to the sales order.  This feature can be especially helpful for new salespeople.

Tip 3: Quick Add

The “Quick Add” search option can also be found at the top of the search pane in the Sales Order module (it’s the icon on the right…the one that looks like a sales tag).  When you click on this icon, a list of your products will be displayed in the search pane, and you can double-click on any product that you want to add to your sales order.  For an added bonus: any product that you highlight in the Quick Add search pane will display the “On Hand” and “Available” quantities below the list.  Super helpful!

Tip 4: Quick Lists

If you have customers that order the same products every day/week/month, you can create a Quick List that you can use every time your customer places an order.  The Quick List allows you to add an entire list of products, including quantities, to an order with just a few simple clicks.

Tip 5: Mass Issuing

If you are in the practice of creating estimates for your customers, follow these simple steps to issue multiple sales orders at the same time:

  1. Highlight the unissued sales orders in the search pane
  2. Right-click on one of the highlighted orders
  3. Choose “Issue Sales Order”

Once you have completed these steps, all of your highlighted orders will then be issued and ready for picking.

Tip 6: Mass Picking

Similar to Tip 5, if you are in the Picking Module, you can highlight multiple orders in the search pane and choose to Start, Finish, or Commit all of the highlighted picks at the same time.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help make your sales order entry go a little more smoothly in the future.  Give us a call if you have questions about any of these processes.

Making Manufacturing Easy in Fishbowl Inventory

Some of you may be familiar with the manufacturing processes in Fishbowl Inventory, but here are some tips that might help streamline your everyday manufacturing activities.

You Can Modify Your Work Orders

One thing that is certain in your daily production activities, is that things do not always turn out how we plan them.  So, how can you make changes to Manufacture Orders that you have already created in Fishbowl?  Let’s find out:

  1. Did you know you can split your Work Orders into more manageable chunks? When you are starting a Work Order, you have the option to start a lower quantity than the original quantity on the Work Order.  For example: if you have a Work Order for a quantity of 50, when you start the Work Order, you can change the starting quantity to 25, and the Work Order will then be split into two separate Work Orders on the same Manufacture Order.  This makes it pretty smooth for separating your production over multiple days.
  2. You can substitute parts and quantities on a Work Order. If you need to change a Raw Good, or even a Finished Good, on any of your Work Orders, you can visit the “Materials” tab on an unissued Manufacture Order, or the “WO Details” tab on an issued Manufacture Order.  In either of these tabs, you can switch your parts, or quantities, if the situation requires.
  3. Once your Raw Goods have been picked, you cannot make changes to the parts or quantities, unless the pick is voided. Once you have voided the pick, you can make your needed changes.

There Are More Ways Than One to Finish a Work Order

The long way to complete a Work Order is by clicking the “Start” button, then going to the picking module to complete the pick, and then returning to the Manufacture Order to “Finish” the Work Order.  You don’t have to take all of these steps, if you don’t have changes to make on the order.  Instead, you can do one of the following:

  1. You can skip straight to the “Finish” step in the Manufacture Order module. This will combine the “Start”, “Pick”, and “Finish” steps into one quick and easy wizard.
  2. You can click the “Quick Fulfill” icon at the upper-left-hand side of the screen to finish all Work Orders within a Manufacture Order.

Taking these steps will help streamline your manufacturing, especially if you have a lot of Work Orders to process each day.

What if You Make a Mistake?

Even the most advanced Fishbowl Inventory users can make mistakes when it comes to manufacturing.  So, what do you do when you have completed a Work Order, and find out that it was done incorrectly?  You might be tempted to make inventory adjustments to get your inventory back to where it should be.  However, the best practice is to do a “Disassemble” Work Order.  Here’s how you disassemble your Work Orders:

  1. Create a new Manufacture Order.
  2. Click the green plus sign at the right side of the screen. This will open the “Add Bill of Materials” screen.
  3. Choose “Disassemble” from the list.
  4. Use the drop-down list, or the magnifying glass, to choose which Work Order you are going to disassemble.
  5. In the next screen, type the quantity of that item that you are going to disassemble.
  6. Finish the wizard, adding any other pertinent information.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 to add more disassemble Work Orders to the Manufacture Order, if needed.

Once you have added all of the disassemble Work Orders to your Manufacture Order, issue the Manufacture Order and then process the Work Orders as usual.  Completing these disassemble Work Orders will remove the Finished Goods, and will place the Raw Goods, back into your inventory.  Don’t forget to create your replacement Work Orders!

As usual, feel free to call or email us if you have any questions about Fishbowl Inventory, or if you would like to find out more about our custom integrations and add-ons.