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Inventory/Database software (for shop supplies)5/23
Anyone here using software to manage their inventory/ordering? Whether generic, like MS Access, or specialized/bespoke software like Fishbowl.
We are using Microsoft Excel currently. Every product we commonly use is in there and has it's own Excel page with all necessary information-- SKU, order quantity, vendor contact, etc. Everything from sharpie markers to edgeband rolls.
We keep a printout of that sheet with the product, and use it to order directly from the shop floor.
Excel just sucks at this. It's too big. The document is so massive now that my hard drive weighs as much as my cargo van. The file crashes all the time.
Anyone recommend a good inventory or database software (other than MS Access) that would allow us to make printable pages? Something with the ability to generate a QR code with product information would also be quite helpful.
Yes, Excel would definitely suck at this. It's time to step up to a database. My first question is this:
Why not Access? It gets a bad rap, because it's easy for people that don't know what they're doing to make fundamental errors in db design. You can also find ways to integrate QR codes into Access reports. A quick google search found several examples, even third party add in's like this one: https://www.idautomation.com/cart/QR-Code-Native-Microsoft-Access-Barcode-Generato
Here's a few facts:
-let's say you're a MASSIVE company, no problem. Just upgrade your db to SQL Server, now you can grow as large as you want.
So, if you want something that works and does everything YOU want it do, dig in and learn. Focus on the fundamentals of a good database. Data Normalization, Primary & Foreign Keys, indexing, etc. You'll be amazed how you ever got along without it. Lynda.com has some excellent videos to get you moving. You can even learn enough from Youtube.
The drawback to MS Access comes if you want to use it beyond windows, or outside the office. You'll need to come up with a way to remote in at that point.
Or, if you don't have the time, energy, desire...Just look into ShopPAK and ProjectPAK, they are excellent enterprise-grade solutions, specific to our industry.
I cannot give you the specific answer on why "not MS Access" except to say that I am told by our Design/Proposal department that Access cannot export data into some of our estimating software. In retrospect, I should have mentioned that to begin with, but neither I am not aware of what format (or method) of communication is necessary.
Combine that with the fact that Access is a generic product, not specifically an inventory/cost tracking software.
Our hopes (perhaps too jaded) is that there is software out there that is designed specifically for inventory/reorder/cost tracking.
I will consider Access more though, although ultimately the decision lays in the hands of another lol.