1.1.What It Does
1. Safely and securely catalog anything that you want to keep track of: parts, documents, complaints, inspections, NMRs, deviations, RMAs, machinery, assets, and the list goes on. You name it, you can track it. You determine the type of thing you want to track, pick a template that suits it, and go.
2. Store files with any of your cataloged items. Use your existing networked file server, or a service like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or OneDrive. Parts Dashboard is simple to point to a folder location, and it stores all of the files under that. It doesn’t try to encrypt, obfuscate, or otherwise interfere with your files. The files are still there in an open structure that you can navigate and move with any file manager like Windows Explorer or Finder.
3. Build connections between any of your cataloged items. Use it to create a Bill of Materials (BoM) for engineering and manufacturing, or to link an inspection to a part, a part to a manufacturing process or machine, to connect an asset to a location, etc. Connect the dots between your things.
4. Track inventory of your parts and perform basic material operations and transactions. Well suited to small manufacturing operations who’ve discovered spreadsheets just don’t cut it but aren’t yet ready for true MRP, or larger organizations who need more sophisticated tracking systems to manage sample and prototype inventory but cannot use their MRP system to track non-production items.
1.2.How It Works
Parts Dashboard stores its data in the cloud using Microsoft’s Azure platform for the database, and a range of different file hosting services to store your files.
Files can be stored using applications such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.com, ownCloud, or any system that uses local file replication. If they have “download the app” then you’re all set. Alternatively, you can store files on a local drive or folder, or a network share. By using your own existing file storage system you reduce duplication of storage systems thus reducing costs, continue to interact and manage files like you’re accustomed to, and Parts Dashboard has no direct contact with or knowledge of your files.
Parts Dashboard is a Windows native application. This means it only runs on computers running Microsoft Windows. Additionally, Parts Dashboard is only supported for desktop versions of Windows 7 and higher.
This is a quick start guide to getting going with Parts Dashboard. All of the information here is covered in more detail in later sections of this documentation, but this will provide you a good overview of how to get up and running.
If you’re installing the free or trial version of the app then download it from our website.
If you’re running a paid version then we will send you the install files specifically tailored for your environment.
Either way, follow these simple steps to install the application:
- locate the install file, double-click it (or right-click and choose Open), and this will launch the installer.
- After you accept the Windows security warning the installer will ask you to install.
- Depending on what components you may already have on your computer, the application will install in a few seconds, or may take several minutes. Once that’s done the application will launch.
- You’ll first see the login screen, so go ahead and enter the admin username and password provided to you.
- After logging in you’ll be taken to the Dashboard screen and you’re using Parts Dashboard!
After the program is first installed there is some basic configuration that is needed
2.2.1.File Storage Vault
Parts Dashboard can interact with your files, and can create a separate folder for each Item. These files are stored on any drive that you can point to, and are not interfered with in any way by Parts Dashboard, so you can move them around with Windows Explorer just as you normally would.
Parts Dashboard will give you a list of all files it finds for each Item, and you can open the files directly from inside the Item details, or open the folder.
In order to access files through Parts Dashboard, you need to set up 3 things:
1. You need to establish the location of your file vault. This is a single folder under which all other folders will be created & stored, and where all files will live.
You can access this either from the General tab of the System Configuration window, or directly from the Ribbon menu.
From the Ribbon menu, choose More Tools, then Setup, and then Set Vault Location.
Navigate to the location where you’ll store your files.
2. Each Item type needs to have its individual storage pattern set up. You can have a maximum of 2 levels under each Item Type in which to create folders.
To access this, go to the More Tools option in the Ribbon menu, choose Setup, then System Settings.
Then navigate to the Item Types tab.
Select the Item Type in question.
Scroll down to the Files and Folders section, and configure the storage options.
Parts Dashboard has various options for configuring the application to suits your specific needs. Let’s take a look at the general settings options.
To access this, go to the More Tools option in the Ribbon menu, choose Setup, and then System Settings.
Here you can set options for how users log into the application, your preferred paper size, whether or not you will use the Inventory module, and location of the File Storage folder, if you intend to use this.
Parts Dashboard catalogs the different things that you want to keep track of. These things are called “Items”. The primary categorization of Items is into Item Types.
Parts Dashboard come pre-loaded with some default Item Types, such as Document, Inspection, Operation, Part, Project, Raw Material, etc.. Each of these types is configurable from within the Item Types tab of the System Configuration window, and you can create new Item types here also.
To view or edit an existing Item Type, select it from the drop-down at the top of the window.
To create a new Item Type, hit the plus button next to the selector drop-down, and type in the name for the new Item Type.
See here for more info on Item Types.
2.3.Create a Company
It’s a good idea to at the very least establish your own company when you first start the application. You can create additional companies now, or come back here and create them later. When you create people you’ll be asked to assign them to a company, so that’s a good reason to add them now. However, you can also add new companies when you’re adding new people.
To add a new company, select Companies from the ribbon menu.
You’ll see a list of all the companies that are in your application. You can either double-click on a row to see the details for any company, or select the row and choose the Details button.
To create a new company, select the New button.
At a minimum, enter a name for the company. If this is your company, check the “System Owner” box. (Only check this box for your company.)
The Contact Info and Address tabs can be edited, and the People and Supplying tabs will show who’s associated with the company, and what items the company supplies, respectively. These last two tabs will populate with info as content is created elsewhere in the application.
2.6.Add Parents and Children
The Dashboard is the first screen that you see after logging into Parts Dashboard. The Dashboard gives you a snapshot of all the items that you’re tracking, quick access to them, access to your user settings, and most importantly, search tools to find everything you need as simply as possible.
Let’s take a look at the different aspects of the Dashboard:
1. Search tools allow you to quickly find the things you’re looking for. You can additionally filter by Item Type, or simply type in any part or parts of a search term. If that’s not specific enough, use the Advanced Search button to further refine your search criteria.
2. Create a new item directly from here. Simply choose an item type from the drop-down list.
3. User name, privilege level, and shortcut to your user settings.
4. Quick summary lists of all the different items that you have cataloged. Double-click any of the rows to be taken to a list that’s filtered for those criteria.
5. Inventory summary, if inventory management is enabled.
The Ribbon menu at the top of the Parts Dashboard application’s main window has a number of options. These allow the user to access all actions and windows that are not directly accessible through the main list view. Here’s what the Ribbon looks like:
Expanding the More Tools button shows more options: Import, User Tools, Setup, About, and Exit.
The Import menu allows you to import Items, Companies, and People. See the section on Importing for more information.
The User Tools menu gives options for accessing the User Settings dialog (which is also accessible from the dashboard via the settings button at upper-right), changing your password, seeing a list of all users who have Admin rights, and ability to change the logged-in user.
The Setup menu gives access to the default inventory transaction types, the system settings, and the location of the file vault folder for storing and accessing files associated with cataloged Items. See individual sections in this guide for more detailed information on how each of these options work.
Parts Dashboard can search across all of your cataloged items using simple text snippets, or with more complex tools that search specific combinations of fields.
The simple text search will search using any fragments of words and in any order. For example, the search term “dash doc” will find the Document item called “Dashboard Installation Guide”.
The advanced search tool allows for AND-type searches across multiple fields. This means that the search returns featuring all terms used. Looks for this button to use the advanced search:
The advanced search tool has the following options:
Use any combination of fields to narrow down your exact criteria. You can also multiple terms in the fields that are not drop-downs or the date fields.
When you click through from the Dashboard either by selecting from one of the filtered list choices, using the search function, or by creating a new item you will be taken to the Items List screen. This shows a condensed list of all items that you have cataloged in the system.
Double-clicking a row in the list will open the individual details for the selected Item.
There are two different ways you can view the list. The user can choose which main list view they prefer and set that through the user settings.
Justified View (this is the system default):
Taking a closer look at the top of the screen there are several groups of options available:
Sort by: Choose an option from the dropdown list to the list view by that field. Selection the same field again with reverse the sort order. Note that the Tabular list view doesn’t have this option as you use the individual column headings to sort the columns.
Open Item. This will open the Item’s detail view. Also, double-clicking any item in the list view will open the same view.
Open the folder associated with the selected Item.
Print the contents of the list view.
Export: The contents of the list will be pushed to a table for copying & pasting directly into a spreadsheet.
Creates a new item; select the type of item from the dropdown list. This is same action as is available on the Dashboard.
Use any text to search across the list. This is same action as is available on the Dashboard, and through the application.
Advanced search for more complex searches and more control. This is same action as is available on the Dashboard, and through the application.
Reset the list back to an unfiltered view; shows all items.
And remember, all you have to do is double-click any of the rows in the list view to open the Item’s individual details. These are discussed in the following section.
3.11.Lock and Unlock
4.1.Version of MS Office
The Parts Dashboard desktop application runs only on Windows (we support Windows 7 and up), and it also uses some components of Microsoft’s Office products. Unfortunately, Office has both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and it’s important to install the version of Parts Dashboard that matches the “bitness” of the version of Office that you have.
(If you don’t have any Office products installed, great, then just download the 32-bit version from our Download page and it’ll have everything you need.)
How do you know which version of Office you have? Follow these simple instructions.
The first step is to open any Office application, it doesn’t matter if it’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. For the newer versions of Office you’ll have to have a file open, but in Office 2010 you can just open the application on its own. Then see which of the following looks like the version of Office you have.
Office 2016 & Office 2013
1. Open any Office file, or open any Office application and start a new file
2. Click on the File tab
3. Click on the Account option in the left-side menu bar. This will take you to the Account screen
4. Click on the About Word (or Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) button in the lower right of the Account screen
5. See which version of Office you are running
1. Open any Office application, or Office file
2. Click on the File tab
3. Click on the Help option in the left-side menu
4. See which version of Office you are running
Office 2007 and Earlier
Parts Dashboard does not actively support versions of Office 2007 or earlier, but you can still give it a try. We’d suggest the 32-bit version of Parts Dashboard.
If you’re downloading the free version of Parts Dashboard, go to the Download page and choose the version of Parts Dashboard that matches your Office “bitness”, either 32-bit or 64-bit.
Whether you’re downloading the individual user / free trial version, or the we have sent you a dedicated install file for your company’s installation, there are a few things to know before installing.
You can use this application for as long as you want, free of charge. This is a single-site install, meaning that you can put this wherever you want on your computer, or on a network drive, but it is designed for a single person to access. If you want to share the application with other people then please contact us so that we can get you set up with a free multi-user installation.
This application is built for computers running Microsoft Windows (but Apple Mac and mobile versions are coming). Additionally, it uses Microsoft Access to run; Access is often included in Microsoft Office. If you don’t have MS Access, or don’t know if you have it, then simply download the 32-bit Parts Dashboard application below, and during the installation process you’ll be prompted to install a free version of MS Access, called the Access Runtime.
You will need to determine which version of the Parts Dashboard application you require. There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions available — which one you need depends on the version of MS Office you have installed. (Note, we do mean which version of MS Office, not which version of MS Windows your computer is running.)
Even with virtually all modern computers using 64-bit MS Windows, most will still use 32-bit MS Office. You need to select the version of Parts Dashboard that matches your MS Office install. If you don’t have any version of MS Office installed then no problem. Go ahead and select the 32-bit version, and download the free MS Access Runtime. Use the following link to determine which version of MS Office you have:
4.5.Removing / Uninstalling
5.1.Setting Default System Options
5.1.1.Accessing Setup Options
The Item Types tab is where different Item Types are established and configured. Item Types are key differentiators between the different classes of information that are stored in the application. This is where you establish these different types, eg: Part, Document, Project, Task, etc. Different Item Types have different rules about how they can be related to one another, and will also display their details differently. All these factors are configured on this screen.
Even with the screen locked, it can be cycled through the different Item Types that are set up, by choosing them from the drop-down list that is at the top of this screen.
Select the particular Item Type to view options. New Item Types can be created by clicking the “+” button to the right of the drop-down.
Determines where this Item Type appears in lists of Items. Lower numbers appear at the top of lists. Use integer numbers only. If left blank then ranking is alphabetical.
Require Item Numbers for every Item
Determines if the user is forced to enter an Item Number when creating new Items. Not having an Item Number will prevent the “Open File” shortcut button from working and a file storage folder from being created and accessed with the “Open Folder” button (but these are the only limitations). An Item Number can always be added later if an Item is created without one.
Allow duplicate Item Numbers
Allows either just one, or multiple Item Numbers to exist within the same Item Type. Useful for things like inspections where you might have multiple inspection records of the same part and use the part number to identify the inspection records.
Use fixed length Item Numbers
Set this option to require all Item Numbers of this Item Type to be a pre-determined length. Any characters in the Item Number after the fixed length are treated as a derivative Item, and would be stored in the parent folder.
Item Number primary characters
Requires Use fixed length Item Numbers to be checked. This is the set length for Item Numbers for this Item Type.
Allow inheritance of Item Number and Name when creating a new Item from an existing Item
An assist when creating a new Item from an existing Item. Copies the existing Item’s Number and Name or Title into the new Item. These values can be edited or over-written in the new Item.
Use Links and Bills of Materials
Allows creation of links between Items in a Parent and Child relationship. If the Items were parts, this relationship would be a Bill of Materials (BOM). Selecting this option causes the Links, Parents, and Children tabs to appear on the Item’s details screen.
Allow use of numeric quantities in Links and Bills of Materials
Requires the Use Links and Bills of Materials option to be checked. Allows for the use of a quantity when adding Parents and Children to a Bill of Materials, or Links. This quantity will factor into Inventory calculations, if the Inventory option is being used. This is best used for physical things.
Enables creation of Revisions or versions for Items. An appropriate details template will need to be chosen for a Revision field to appear in the details screen. If enabled, and if the Primary Item File group is appropriately configured, the File Open shortcut button will open the latest Revision file. Selecting this option causes the Revisions tab to appear on the Item’s details screen.
Use Revision tracking
Requires the Use Revisions option to be checked. Useful if distributions of controlled documents such as Revisions need to be tracked. Selecting this option causes the Revision Tracking tab to appear on the Item’s details screen.
Use approved Suppliers
Allows for adding various Suppliers to an Item’s record. If the Use only approved Suppliers for Inventory transactions option is enabled, then only these Suppliers can be used for Inventory transaction for the Item in question. Selecting this option causes the Suppliers tab to appear on the Item’s details screen.
Use Item approvals
Enables an approvals workflow for the Item. Suggested use is for things like Engineering Change Notices, where sign-off is required. Allows for multiple people to be added to the approval process. Selecting this option causes the Approvals tab to appear on the Item’s details screen.
Enables comments to be appended to the Item. Comments appear chronologically and are tagged with the author’s name. Can be used either for leaving notes against the Item or as a way to have a recorded conversation about the Item. Selecting this option causes the Comments tab to appear on the Item’s details screen.
Allow Read-Only users to access the file folders for this Item type
Users with a Read Only privilege level can or cannot access file folders for Items.
Make your company the Client when creating new Items.
If checked this will add your company into the detail for any new items as the client.
Folders and File Storage group
Determines how and where files for each Item within this Item Type are stored.
Top-level folder name
Name of the folder containing all other folders for this Item Type. Options are:
- Item Type: All Item files and folders will be stored in a folder named exactly for this Item Type, eg: Part
- Client Name: Files and folders will be stored in folders named for the Client listed on the Item. If no client is listed in the Item then the name of your company will be used
- Other: Supply your own top-level folder name
Use the “✔” button to the right to create or verify the folder. This does not apply if Client Name is used because the top-level folders will be created on demand as Items are added.
Second-level folder name
Optional. Provides for a second level of nesting for folders. Options are:
- Item Type: All Item files and folders will be stored in a folder named exactly for this Item Type, eg: Part
- Client Name: Files and folders will be stored in folders named for the Client listed on the Item. If no client is listed in the Item then the name of your company will be used
- Other: Supply your own top-level folder name
- None: No second-level folder will be used
Use the “✔” button to the right to create or verify the folder. This does not apply if Client Name is used because the second-level folders will be created on demand as Items are added.
Use individual folders for each Item
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Stores Item files in separate folders for each Item Number. If this option is not checked then all files for all Items of this type will be stored together in the same folder.
Optional. Enter text here if you want some fixed label to be added to the beginning of each Item’s individual folder. Leave blank for none. The Item’s Item Number will appear after this. Be sure to add a space after your text if you want a gap between this and the Item Number when the folder is created. Leave blank if not used.
Optional. Use this option if intending to store files in a folder one level below the Item’s primary folder. An example would be where a part’s files are stored in a folder named with the part’s Item Number. Then, say, inspection files could be stored in a subfolder under that, eg: “QC”. Leave blank if not used.
Complete folder path
Displays the complete path to the storage folder as specified above. Not directly editable, this is compiled based on the options already configured.
Create additional sub-folders
Optional. These will be created inside the Item’s individual folder. Separate folder names with a semicolon, and no spaces. If no sub-folders are desired then leave this blank.
Parts Dashboard has various user-configurable classifications for Items. These are applied through the Item’s detail screen. You should set up collections of Tag types here for each Item Type. An example is a Part Item has a Category field that can be divided into: Reserved, Development, Released, Obsolete. Develop tags that best suit your business processes.
Not all Tag types are used in every Item Type detail template. See the different details templates for which tags are available given the template(s) you have chosen for your item types. Here are the four Tag types currently used:
- Approval: Work in any template so long as the Use Item approvals option is selected, above
- Category: Used in Asset, Document, Inspection, Part, Part with Supplier, and Project detail templates
- Disposition: Inspection
- Priority: Project
- Status: Asset, Change, Document, Inspection, Part, Part with Supplier, and Project
The value of the Tag. In the above example, the four Tags are Reserved, Development, Released, Obsolete.
Tags are ranked when appearing in drop-down lists. An integer number can be entered for the rank, or it can be left blank, in which case the Tags will rank alphabetically.
Creates the new Tag and adds it to the collection for the chosen Tag type.
Re-orders the Tag list if list entries have been manually edited.
Deletes the selected Tag.
Item Number Auto-Sequencing is part of the Item Type Configuration process.
We currently have 4 different auto-numbering sequence types:
- XX — a straight incrementing number. Eg: 00001, 00002, 00003…
- YYYY-XX — the 4-digit year followed by a straight incrementing number. Eg: 2021-00001, 2021-00002, 2021-00003…
- YYYYMMDDXX — the date the number is created followed by a straight incrementing number (with no separators). Eg: 20211217001, 20211217002, 20211217003…
- YYYY-MM-DD-XX –the date the number is created followed by a straight incrementing number (with dashes as separators). Eg: 2021-12-17-001, 2021-12-17-002, 2021-12-17-003…
Select whichever scheme best suits the item type you’re configuring. Note that you can use the same scheme on multiple item types, and they’ll then all appear the same but the incrementing portion of the number will depend on how you have that configured.
Number Of Incrementing Digits (XX): this is an integer controlling the number of digits in the incrementing portion of the item number. For example, if you chose:
- XX sequence with 4 incrementing digits you would have 0001, 0002, 0003…
- XX sequence with 7 incrementing digits you would have 0000001, 0000002, 0000003…
- YYYY-XX sequence with 3 incrementing digits (and this was the year 2021) you would have 2021-001, 2021-002, 2021-003…
- YYYY-XX sequence with 5 incrementing digits (and this was the year 2021) you would have 2021-00001, 2021-00002, 2021-00003…
- YYYYMMDDXX sequence with 3 incrementing digits (and today was December 17, 2021) you would have 20211217001, 20211217002, 20211217003…
- YYYY-MM-DD-XX sequence with 4 incrementing digits (and today was December 17, 2021) you would have 2021-12-17-0001, 2021-12-17-0002, 2021-12-17-0003…
Allow Manual Entry: determines if the user-interface allows someone to over-write an item number or if they’re forced to use a sequenced number.
Unique Across Item Types: determines if this item type has sole claim to a particular sequenced number, or if other item types can also have the same number. For example, if you were using a XX scheme with 4 digits, and created a part then a document and then a raw material, and all item types were set up the same way you would have:
- Unique Across Item Types = No would produce Part 0001 then Document 0001 then Raw Material 0001
- Unique Across Item Types = Yes would produce Part 0001 then Document 0002 then Raw Material 0003
Seeding your item numbers: This is not a configuration option so much as it’s how you start off your numbers. If you’re using an empty database to get going then your incrementing portion of the sequence is going to start at 1. However, you can manipulate this by manually creating an item that uses a starting point number as a seed. This is the same effect as if you’ve imported some existing items — the system will see their item numbers and sequence from there.
To manually determine where a sequence starts, simply add that number yourself. (You will need to have Allow Manual Entry set to Yes for this to work). For example, you’re using XX with 4 digits, so create an item numbered 0500 and that’s where the sequence will key from. The first auto-sequenced number will be 0501, and then 0502, 0503, etc..
If you have a need for a different sequence type, please contact us with a description of what you need and we can work on it.
5.2.Selecting Item Type Details Templates
5.2.1.Accessing Details Template Selection
5.2.7.Part with Supplier
5.3.Selecting Item Type Details Tabs
5.3.1.Accessing Details Tab Selection
5.3.3.Revisions and Revision Tracking
[If enabled in the System Configuration settings.]
6.2.Connected to Another Item
this is the section of importing a company
Keep track of all your inventory as it arrives from vendors, moves around your facility, and then as you ship it out to customers.
[This option needs to be activated in your subscription.]
The Parts Dashboard inventory management module is well suited to small manufacturing operations who’ve discovered spreadsheets just don’t cut it but aren’t yet ready for true MRP, or larger organizations who need more sophisticated tracking systems to manage sample and prototype inventory but cannot use their MRP system to track non-production items.
It is flexible enough to offer simple tracking without the use of locations, or for detailed management across multiple companies, warehouses, and down to the bin level.
Some important features:
- Build assemblies and consume components using the multilevel BoM
- Assembly changes prompt a cost roll-up
- Inventory management uses post-production issuing (“backflush”)
- Running costs are on a weighted average basis
There are multiple inputs to managing inventory, regardless of how detailed you want to get in your tracking:
- Companies and/ or Locations
- Inventory Transaction Types
- BoMs (optional)
The first key decision is whether or not you want to track inventory at a more granular level than simply summing it for each company. The system is built to allow for locations beneath the company level. You can have a mix as well, where some companies have locations under them, and some companies are just assessed at the company level.
As part of making this decision, it’s helpful to understand how Parts Dashboard calculates inventory. Inventory transactions count towards total inventory count and value and/or they count towards the available on-hand count. There are several parameters that contribute to the state of the inventory. We’ll discuss them in the following sections.
8.1.Inventory Transaction Types
Parts Dashboard tracks inventory using a double-entry system. This means that one record is created for the “From” side of a transaction, and inventory is removed from here, and another record is created for the “To” side and inventory is added here. There is an exception, where only one record is created with no “From” or “To” direction, and that is determined in the Inventory Transaction Types form.
From the Inventory Transaction Types, there are two parameters that influence the state of inventory:
Transaction Complexity – this refers to how many records are created for any one transaction. A transaction is either Single- or Double-Sided. The preference is to have a double-sided transaction as this will allow you to record where material came from and where it went to. If using just a single-sided transaction then you only see the effect of the transaction, with no directionality. The ideal use-case for a single-sided transaction is an adjustment, either to an order, or to existing inventory, or to a previous BOM operation.
Effect On Stock – For single-sided transactions, this determines if the stock is added or removed from inventory. It is not relevant to double-sided transactions as the “From” side will have inventory removed, and the “To” side will have inventory added to it.
|Transaction Type||Description||Transaction Complexity||Affect On Stock|
|Built Stock||Production of an item||Single||Adds|
|Consumed Stock||Stock used during production of another item||Single||Removes|
|Inventory Adjustment||Use +ve to increase inventory, -ve to decrease||Single||Adds|
|Received Stock||Stock has been received into inventory from another company||Double|
|Scrapped Stock||Scrapped stock will be deleted from inventory||Double|
|Sold Stock||Sold stock item to some other entity||Double|
|Movement||Transfer of material between two locations. Can be internal or external.||Double|
|Ordered Stock||Ordered stock from another company||Single||Adds|
|Order Adjustment||Adjust quantity on an existing order from another company. Use +ve to increase quantity, -ve to decrease||Single||Adds|
Here’s an example of the result of a single-sided transaction, in this case in Inventory Adjustment to remove 2 pieces of stock:
Here’s an example of the result of a double-sided transaction, in this case Scrapped Stock from the QC Hold location into the Scrap location:
You can either accumulate inventory just at the company level, or you can have any number of locations under the company. If you create an inventory location under a company then you can no longer accumulate inventory at the company level and you must choose a location for any transactions.
By default, if no locations are created for external companies then all inventory here is ignored from calculations about on-hand and total inventory. For your company, all transactions are counted by default.
If you wish to change this behavior then you must create locations and tailor their behavior according to the following options. There are two parameters which each affect how inventory is calculated:
Contributes to total inventory – this means any inventory at this location will be counted towards the overall total quantity and the combined value of stock of the item. You would normally want this to be true for internal locations, and probably false for external locations.
Contributes to available on-hand inventory – any inventory at this location will appear as available for use. You will generally want this to have the same value as Contributes to total inventory.
However, some exceptions apply to the standard settings described above. There will be cases where you want Contributes to total inventory checked and Contributes to available on-hand inventory unchecked. One example is for a QC Hold location. You want to have any stock in that location count towards your overall total (otherwise it would disappear from your books), but you don’t want it to appear available for use. Moving stock into or out of QC Hold is a double-sided transaction.
Another example is if you are tracking orders from suppliers (a single-sided transaction). The same conditions apply as for QC Hold, where you want to see the total count and value of the order appear in your records, but you don’t want to show the inventory as available for use. When you then receive the order (and assuming you have Receive Stock set-up as a double-sided transaction) you would record it as coming from the location where the order was made, and what location you received it into. This action would decrease the On Order amount by what was received. If the quantity received is not the same as what was ordered then you can zero this out by adjusting the ordered amount, or hold the order open for any stock that might have not been supplied.
If you want to set-up separate warehouses, then we suggest that you do it at the Company level. Meaning, create a new Company that is the warehouse in question. Then you can create any number of locations under that, each having their own properties.
You can create two types of transaction, either:
Individual Transaction – this transaction is always available and will create either a single-sided transaction (like an adjustment of some kind) or a double-sided transaction (like a movement of material between locations, receiving stock, or selling stock).
Build using the BOM – this transaction is only available for items that a BOM below them, ie: some child items. This will always create a double-sided transaction, recording from where the child items came (and removing inventory there) and where the item built went (and adding inventory there).
8.4.Performing Inventory Transactions
To create an inventory transaction, you need to open the item’s details. From there go to the Inventory tab and follow these steps:
1. Choose the scope of the transaction, either Individual or Build using the BOM.
2. Choose the Transaction Type.
3. Enter the Transaction Date. This will default to the present date and time, so you only need to enter a value here if you want the transaction to be recorded at some other date.
4. Choose the company and location. Depending on what kind of transaction type you chose (single- or double-sided) you will have either just one company drop-down to select from, or you will have a Company From and a Company To to record the flow of material. Additionally, if there are locations established at the chosen company or companies then you will have to select one.
5. Enter the Transaction Quantity.
6. Enter any Transaction Notes you wish to record.
7. Hit the Create button to post the transaction.
Changes in inventory quantity and value will then be reflected in the summary boxes at the top of the form and in the Inventory by Location and Inventory Transaction lists at the bottom of the form. Additionally, values in the summary on the Dashboard will update, and more detail is available through the Inventory Totals and Inventory Transactions forms available in the Ribbon menu.
Accurately managing and tracking inventory can be a simple task, but it becomes more complex the more granularity you want from the information.
For every action there eventually needs to be an equal and opposite reaction to keep numbers balanced. If you track orders of stock but do not accurately account for receiving material then you will have open orders showing, and no inventory available on your shelf. If you are producing assembled items but do not manage your Backflush levels then you will have imbalances in your available stock.
8.5.1.Customizing Transaction Types
We recommend that you do not modify the standard inventory transaction types. You can modify them, but depending on the combination of options you select, and the workflow you use to record transactions, you could end up with unpredictable accounting of your inventory. Thorough testing is recommended, or contact us for further advice and consulting services.
8.5.2.When Not Using Locations
This is the simplest way of using the system. You will see a single inventory quantity and value (per item) for each company. By default, inventory at external companies is not counted, and inventory at your company is counted.
8.5.3.When Using Locations
Using locations is more complex but gives you full insight into where and in what state is all of your stock. You can choose to track inventory coarsely, for example, having just a few internal locations like “In Transit”, “Production”, “Finished Goods”, “QC Hold”, and “Scrap”.
Having just one location to store all of your unfinished goods or raw material (in this example we called it “Production”) makes balancing inventory when building from the BOM much simpler as you will not need to create a single virtual location from which to collect and pull inventory that then needs to be routinely balanced.
The flipside is that if you do choose to track your unfinished goods or raw material in more than one location then you will have an additional reporting and tracking step to manage a temporary location like “Backflush”, as described below.
Here are some examples:
18.104.22.168.Example: Materials Ordered From Suppliers
If you choose to track items on order (transaction type Ordered Stock) then you need to be diligent about also creating transactions to receive that stock (transaction type Received Stock). The system needs to see a record for receiving stock in order to negate the order quantity. If stock is not received into the system then orders will still appear to have open quantities, and your available quantity of stock will not increase to reflect what you actually have.
You can choose to not track orders from suppliers, and then when you receive stock into the system there will be a negative balance attributed to the supplier, and also in the On Order summary. You can adjust this to zero after the fact by performing an Order Adjustment to negate the quantity.
To accurately track orders from suppliers, choose Companies from the Ribbon menu, locate the company that you wish to order from, open to its details, and then switch to the Inventory Locations tab. Here you can create a new location, naming it something like “Orders”. Make sure that Contributes to total inventory is checked, and Contributes to available on-hand inventory is not checked.
Here’s an example of an Ordered Stock transaction:
And here’s an example of the follow-on transaction to Receive Stock when the ordered items arrive. Note that the example shown below receives 50 pieces, which would negate half the order above, leaving 50 pieces still showing as on order:
22.214.171.124.Example: Material From Many Locations Through Production
The transaction scope Build using the BOM pulls inventory from a single place (Company and Location From) and adds it to a single place (Company and Location To). Parts Dashboard will backflush materials out of the From location – meaning it reduces the material count there equivalent to what the BOM requires to build the item in question. However, it does not blind backflush, which is the practice of tracing materials back to their respective storage locations and reduce them there.
Because of this, we recommend setting up a virtual inventory location in your company such as “Backflush”. This is not a physical location – actual materials cannot reside there (and you should not be tempted to make it a physical location and store materials there). Then as you’re conducting assembly and production operations in Parts Dashboard you pull materials from the Backflush location, which will result in a negative balance there. You should routinely manually re-balance your inventory by transferring materials from the applicable physical location of your stock into Backflush to keep everything in balance. Any time you see a quantity in Backflush then you know you need to re-balance your stock.
To do this, choose Companies from the Ribbon menu, locate your company and open to its details, then switch to the Inventory Locations tab. Here you can create a new location, naming it something like “Backflush”. Make sure that Contributes to total inventory and Contributes to available on-hand inventory are both checked.
Here’s an example of a Build using the BOM transaction using a Backflush location from which to pull all the component inventory. Note how one transaction record (line) is created for the Car that was built, and one record each for each component that was consumed:
8.5.4.Mixed Location Tracking
You can have a mix of locations for some companies, and no locations for other companies. This gives you the flexibility to manage your inventory however best suits your needs.