Do Inventory Based Businesses Need Software Integrations?

The short answer, a very big “YES”!

Every company is using software in some capacity to run their business whether they realize it or not. The bigger question these businesses need to face is how to best integrate their software solutions stack with one another while also planning for future applications.

“But my business just uses online stuff…”

Yes, e-commerce sites offer inventory tools, but in today’s digital age, it’s almost impossible for any business to survive without the use of some form of dedicated software. This is especially true for inventory-based businesses, which rely on the accurate tracking and management of their products in order to stay afloat. Without the proper tools in place, it can be incredibly difficult to keep track of inventory levels, process orders, manage the supply chain, not to mention the time saved on redundant tasks.

For example, rather than manually entering data about each product into a spreadsheet, you can use a software program to automatically import CSV files and update this information. These small processes free up the time you need to get real work done and offload unnecessary mental gymnastics.

So many solutions, so little time

Think about how many programs you use on a day-to-day basis to run your business, from responding to email, tracking orders, evaluating shipping rates, checking inventory levels, and monitoring all of these transactions across several different hubs and dashboards. The work of juggling software can be a job unto itself.

How can you better integrate your current software solutions to both save time and streamline your processes? Partners

The Power of Software Partners

As  technology continues its rapid expansion, technology companies provide a variety of integrations, plugins, or even API access, but for the sake of simplicity, we’re going to focus on Partners. Established technology companies offer partner programs that they team up with to provide a variety of services through third-party vendors including consulting, on-site training, even third-party solutions that tap into the power of the existing software.

It’s the same software, but better

One of the biggest downsides of relying on a multitude of programs and apps to run your business is having to learn and relearn different operations, different workflows, and different logic conventions to make the system run at optimal. This is where the power of a partner created integration can speed up your business, as you’re adding more customization into an existing software architecture that you are already familiar with. You’re making a powerful tool more congruent to your needs, and further streamlining your company’s process.

How do I find Existing Partners?

Here’s three simple ways to find a software integration partner for your business needs:

  • Type in the main site into the URL bar (yoursite.com), add a /partners into the address (yoursite.com/partners). This shortcut is not guaranteed, but most sites follow a similar structure, like Intuit.com/partners. If that doesn’t work…
  •  Find the company’s partner page. This is typically found either through the top navbar under community, resources,  integrations, etc,  or at the very bottom of the website through the provided site map. And if all else fails…
  • Call the company. The company either has a partner department or a dedicated partner manager, and they can connect you to the people or provider to fit your needs.

How to best match your business’ needs to a Software Partner

When it comes to choosing the right software for your business, it’s important to consider your business’s specific needs and goals, and the same holds true in finding the right partner. Start by identifying the challenges and problems that you’re trying to solve, and look for a partner that is designed to address those issues.

It’s also important to consider the scalability of the software. If you’re a small business that is just starting out, you might not need a complex and powerful software solution. On the other hand, if you’re a larger business with more complex operations, you’ll need software that can grow with you and handle the increased demands.

And for future software considerations, always factor in the integration capabilities of the software. As mentioned earlier, it’s likely that you’ll need to integrate your software with other systems, such as an accounting program or a CRM. Look for software that has APIs or integrations available to make this process easier, but keep in mind that partner solutions have often done the hard work for you.

The misunderstandings and misuses of software for business

While software can be an incredibly powerful tool for businesses, it’s important to understand that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that any software program will automatically improve your business, but this is not always the case.

One common misunderstanding is that software can solve all of your problems without any effort on your part. While software can certainly make certain tasks easier, it’s important to remember that it still requires input and attention from you and your team. If you’re not actively using and adhering to best use practices, it won’t be able to truly help your business.

What about extra cost?

All these solutions can add up, so break it down. Consider the potential benefits, time saved, errors prevented, and factor it into your return on investment. In many cases, the time and money saved by using software will far outweigh the initial cost.

All these tools but still feeling stuck?

Ask for help. Most software companies offer training and support to help you get the most out of their products, or even have–you guessed it–partners that provide additional training and onboarding to get the most out of your investment. 

You can also seek out advice and recommendations from other businesses in your industry to find out what software they’re using and whether it’s a good fit for your needs.

The Age of Software Integrations is Now

The use of software is essential for any inventory-based business looking to streamline their operations and improve efficiency, and the more your solutions can integrate into one another and your business process, the more efficient–and competitive–you become.

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.

Bringing a Fishbowl Expert onboard can make all the difference in your inventory process
Bringing a Fishbowl Expert onboard can make all the difference in your inventory process

Takeaway

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.

 

LilyPad for Fishbowl – Premier Fishbowl Consultant and Marketplace Solution

If you’ve had trouble in the past with Fishbowl Go, or if you’re looking for a better alternative software to integrate your Fishbowl inventory services, your search is finally over. LilyPad for Fishbowl offers a wide variety of up-to-date, easy-to-use software add-ons to help make your Fishbowl experience the best possible. LilyPad also offers on-site trainings, consultations, and other premier Fishbowl services.

Get Started Today with LilyPad for Fishbowl!