The Right Data, the Right Way

Do this first: Get the Data Right!

This article provides an important tip about successfully implementing new inventory software by gathering and preparing your data to add into the new system. This important step is essential to effective onboarding with inventory software.

Your new system can’t improve your data until it’s at least correct even if it isn’t extensive. It’s assumed that your data isn’t perfect, and that’s ok. The reason for inventory software is organize and manage data like products, stakeholders and orders. However, our tip is that by the time you upload any information into your new “blank slate” data software, you double check it to ensure it stays valid for the long run. It might seem like more work up front, but it will pay off when your new software from then on remains easy, accurate, and useful.

It’s obvious that the whole purpose of inventory software is getting the data right. When we say data, we’re talking about the details surrounding products, accounts, locations, orders, and services/processes. However, to get and keep your data accurate and manageable, it has to start as such.

In other words, it sounds silly when you say it aloud, but: to get the data right, you have to get the data right! So how do we get the data right from the start? What does that mean? And now we’re going to get a bit more detailed about your product data.

  1. Make sure your product numbers and descriptions match. Product numbers can be the SKUs or other identifier. In other cases, we have clients who don’t use product numbers but instead the names of the products. Either way, check that you have descriptions of the products. In short, the standard for product data is having a product name/number and also a brief description of the product.
  2. Consolidate any duplicate data. Look for products or people you might have listed more than once under different spellings. Sometimes we’ve found duplicates were created in their previous system due simply to spelling one differently. Multiple spellings representing the same document could occur over a long period of time using spreadsheets and not an inventory software system.
  3. Decide how you want to track each product. You track a product in one of three ways: by quantity, lot number, and serial number. Not all types of products need their own serial numbers. For example, gloves, nails, and air filters do not need serial numbers. Laptops do. They are more expensive and each one is unique with its own history and location. Lot numbers are in between. They are help for distinguishing one batch from the other, and managing expiration dates. Decide for each of your products. This must be noted before loading them into Flowtrac.
  4. Count your products. The good news is that you can save this part for last. You won’t need the real numbers of inventory until the moment you go live with Flowtrac. However, at that time, the numbers need to be up to date. That is actually another reason not to worry about how many products you have as you begin to load your data into Flowtrac for the first. Quantities today could change tomorrow.

In conclusion, you’ve just implemented a new inventory software system, or if you’re thinking of doing so in the near future, get the data right. This advice should be applied to IMS, WMS, ERP, MRP, and any other software that is being used to manage inventory.