Low Level Inventory Management

Rhothgar

New Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2013
Messages
32
Was chatting with a chap online today, who runs his own small business, about inventory management.

I'd love nothing more than to have up-to-date live stock levels but it'll never happen as these companies charge £100 per month upwards for the amount of orders we dispatch.

This guy said, "Well why not use Office 365", I chuckled to myself nervously, he continued, "Could you not use a single workbook with 4 sheets in it, with a master stock bible as the first sheet then just do lookups on that for the 3 others sheets that are formatted into the relevant import format for EKM, ebay, Amazon? Then just individually download each sheet in turn into the correct format required and upload them? That would be my first approach and see if that speeds things up for you."

Ummm! Lookups. Those things that cause complete confusion to me.

Are lookups really the solution? I've heard people argue that a database is the way to go but as I have zero experience in Access, Excel seems the preferred choice.

Here's the rub!

In Ebay, we should use Custom Labels which we can use to define a SKU.
In Amazon, they have a SKU field which may be different to the item SKU in Ebay or on our website.
On our website, we should use Product Code to act as the SKU.

Is the first code to align all the various fields so they are all match each other or would it not matter?

Then we simply need a price and quantity field. The quantity field is the crux of the problem. I'm guessing we need to maintain the first sheet and the other sheets would pick the quantity from the first sheet. We'd need different pricing columns to allow alteration of the prices where necessary to take amount of selling fees, etc.

So what I cannot get my head around is the stock levels change on ANY of the three platforms at the time someone makes a purchase. I need to work out the format of how this downloads from each site and would presumably paste it into that platform's worksheet. Then the front sheet should update automatically taking account of any new imports of stock into the other two platforms' worksheets.

BUT THEN!

Say if we realise the stock level is wrong on the front sheet for a particular item, we need to be able to change that and it propagate the value back to the other worksheets which we can then save out to the relevant format and re-upload to each platform with the correct inventory values.

Is this even possible in Excel?
 

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AhoyNC

Well-known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
4,749
Office Version
  1. 365
Platform
  1. Windows
If you do a YouTube and/or Google search of Inventory Management Excel and Inventory Management Access you will find a number of examples in using Excel or Access for inventory. I would also, argue that a database like Access would be the better option.
 

Rhothgar

New Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2013
Messages
32
If you do a YouTube and/or Google search of Inventory Management Excel and Inventory Management Access you will find a number of examples in using Excel or Access for inventory. I would also, argue that a database like Access would be the better option.

Just watched a great video,
, about using Tables in Excel.

I'm new to Office 365 but I can see that there are some really powerful things it can do. It's just a bit daunting.

For now, I'll stick with Excel as stupidly I never bothered with Access when I was young and could have understood it.

Not sure tables will be the answer to what I need to work with. I think this is going to take me some time to mull over and play with a spreadsheet and see what can be achieved.

It's just linking the different SKU codes for each platform that I'm struggling with I guess. The quantities will just come from a simple reference presumably from the first sheet.

I think this is going to work the way I hoped it could. If I create an inventory file with all the codes from each platform, I will just have to manually add new codes for each platform as and when we add stock and just update the master sheet each time. That sounds far simpler than what I am trying to achieve.
 

Rhothgar

New Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2013
Messages
32
Spent a good part of the day watching YouTube videos on Access.

Interestingly, Kirt Kershaw recommends getting familar with Excel first, which I already am, no expert but been using it for over 12 years in some way or another.

Relational databases seem really complex on the face of it and there is an inventory template in Access but it is overkill at the moment for my mind to comprehend.

I've played around linked my Excel inventory sheet I created last night with Access and got to the stage where I update the spreadsheet and it updates the database.

What I'm hoping someone can tell me is how do I then export from access in a format that can be recognised by Ebay, Amazon or our website using the limited Export facility access uses.

I also briefly played around with XML format and tried uploading to Amazon but of course it doesn't recognised the Schema used by Access. I am guessing that I will have to root through their help files for syntax.

Would anyone then be able to help me write a VBA or a macro or whatever is needed to export data from Access into both tab delimited .txt and .csv format please?
 

Rhothgar

New Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2013
Messages
32
I have been working on this on and off and have been gradually learning. It's a slow process.

I now have a database that displays basic SKU, Quantity Available and Pricing information from all sources.

I have used Linked Tables to bring in the data from say Amazon but it will not allow me to edit the Linked Table giving the error message, "Updating data in a linked table is not supported by this ISAM"?

I've looked at the connection strings. Is there something I can change that would enable the data to be edited within the database. The whole point of using Access is to propagate this information to the other channels, (Ebay and Website) in the correct format for upload to them.
 

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