Managing inventory and tracking items to be invoiced

With reference to the lengthy discussion under More clarity under Inventory Items tab and the fact that certain features are unusable as is, I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that Manager perhaps you need to focus on workflow first before adding more new features.

  1. I full agree with @Sarika - implementing a new feature like quantity on hand, QTY to deliver etc must be implmented in such a way that it does not cause inconvenience to the end user. It is not reasonable to expect someone to update nearly a thousand customers missing delivery notes because of an upgrade in the Manager program.

  2. I am also in the same position as Sarika in that I use inventory items for electronic inventory as well as physical inventory. Why - Well for example, I bought over a hundred Microsoft Licenses recently for various clients. By mistake I sold 30 licenses to one client, but only ordered 22 licenses for them when I should have ordered 30 for them! I have just picked up this mistake because its in inventory. I would never have picked up this mistake if it were in non-inventory items. Thus I highly recommend that you implement a feature such as a tick box for electronic inventory which does not require tracking of delivery, but does require tracking of quantities bought and sold. It is stupid to need a delivery note for electronic inventory!

  3. I like the idea of forcing end users to use the delivery notes for every physical delivery as its something that I need to improve upon and I agree with your argument:

And in your statement above, you have just made my case for electronic inventory! By using QTY on Hand, QTY to deliver and Qty Owned it is easy to see what physical products have not been delivered (so your argument for delivery notes for all inventory is valid), but by the same token using QTY On hand and QTY Owned helps to ensure that you have invoiced clients and also purchased and sold the correct quantity as highlighted in my Microsoft error above. The problem is that I may buy items for one client from several different suppliers so the inventory really helps me to keep track of who still needs to be invoiced for what!

Which brings me to my final point regarding workflow of Manager

To me, the workflow should be as follows:

  1. Client requests a quote
  2. I create a quote
  3. Client accepts quote and sends their Purchase Order Number
  4. I create a sales order - i.e. I copy to Sales Order from the Quote
  5. Then I create a purchase invoice from the sales order and order the goods
  6. I receive the goods and deliver to the clients
  7. Then I invoice the clients by copying the sales order.

This functionality is broken because in sales invoice and purchase invoices you have open invoices at the top and paid invoices below and shown in status of red or green. This functionality is still not available in quotes and Sales Orders and Purchase Orders. At the moment I am using custom drop down fields for open, closed and successful for quotes and I am not using sales order at all until the status issue is fixed as I really need to be able to view only open sales orders and purchase orders instead of viewing everything! I am happy for the sake of consistency to have the same format as sales and purchase invoices to have red for open at the top and green for closed underneath open quotes/orders in the same way as you do for red for unpaid and green for paid invoices. The secondary problem is that I forget to close a quote or purchase order upon conversion to sales and purchase invoices. You have this working for invoices when you spend/receive money, it should not be difficult to do same for quotes and orders! Because of this broken functionality it makes it a lot harder to keep track of what clients need to be invoiced for whatever and to ensure that I have ordered everything! Which is why I rely on inventory tracking for this more than I should!

The secondary problem is that one of the reasons I hardly ever use the delivery notes is because of the difficulty of transparently copying serial numbers from my purchase invoice onto the sales invoice and ultimately onto the delivery notes, which is the main reason that I wanted the delivery notes - for proof of delivery and for site manager to have serial numbers.

In short could you urgently address the following issues for the sake of workflow in terms of ensuring that all deliveries are delivered, all products to be invoiced are invoiced and for tracking inventory more efficiently:

  1. Create some kind of batch transfer for historical transactions - like move all QTY to deliver before date 1st July 2017 to delivered status so that people with thousands of customers don’t have a three month job ahead of them! I don’t need this, but I can appreciate the complaints of others on this point.

  2. Create a tick box in inventory item for electronic inventory so that this fills QTY On Hand and QTY Owned Fields but does not alter Qty To Deliver. This would enable tracking of quantities bought and sold to ensure one can pick up on errors like my Microsoft example highlighted above but avoid having to create fake delivery notes for electronic inventory.

  3. At the very least create Red Status for Open quotes, Sales Orders and Purchase Orders and Green Status for Closed Quotes and Orders. Then once quote has been copied to Sales Order, quote can be marked as closed in the same way as invoice is “paid” turns green when you spend or receive money. I appreciate that there will be difficulties with this as you could copy sales order to purchase invoice or to sales invoice, but maybe the way to make it work is that sales to sales closes previous document, but sales to purchase merely copies the content.

  4. Maybe you have implemented it by now and I have not noticed, but to have some kind of box where whatever I type in there for purchase invoice, can be automatically carried over to sales invoice and delivery notes or failing that maybe link the serial number in a table so that when I buy a printer and put the serial number in purchase invoice, the serial number is listed in the serial numbers table, so when I sell the printer, the sales invoice can select the serial number of the printer that is in QTY on hand or something which is then cloned to Qty to deliver and slapped onto the delivery note. I think if you can somehow link Serial numbers with Qty Owned - one row per each item and carry across to Qty on Hand and Qty to deliver it transparently handles serial numbers across purchase and sales invoices and delivery notes as well as managing inventory in terms of tracking serial numbers as in where they are!

Sorry for the long post. I think your improvements in inventory in the long run are very good and I see the direction that you are going in but I think that you need to consider case use of electronic inventory, handling serial numbers in terms of tracking where any given serial numbered product is and sorting out status of quotes and orders to make it far easier to keep track of what needs to be ordered, delivered and invoiced. Thanks

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One thing you didn’t say anything about, @dalacor, is how quotes, sales orders, and purchase orders would move to Closed status. Just because you copy to the next form in your personal workflow doesn’t necessarily mean the status has changed. For instance, you copy a sales order to a purchase order, but that doesn’t mean the sales order has been fulfilled and is read to invoice. So you still have manual intervention and the possibilities for error, just different possibilities.

Yes, I know, having the ability to show status might be convenient, but you will begin to rely on the color codes and potentially make mistakes as a result of missing status changes. And to make things more complex, your workflow won’t be the same as someone else’s. For example, you raise your sales invoice from the sales order. Others i very similar circumstances might copy the purchase invoice to the sales invoice with no interaction with a sales order at all. Lots of complexities to consider.

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I have already noted the complexities of this issue in my post. This does not negate the need for a status system as this is not about who uses quotes and sales orders and in which order per se - but about making it easier to keep on top of which clients needs to be invoiced and for what products. I am simply stating that relying on inventory tracking to keep on top of which clients need to be invoiced and for which products is good for error checking, but should not be the default method used to keep on top of this.