This page describes CORE's implementation of perpetual inventory. The major components are counts, orders, and sales. There's also some routine maintenance.
You always get started by counting what you currently have. Inventory only attempts to track items that have a count entered into the system. It's OK to have some items included in inventory and others excluded. See Base Counts for more in-depth information.
Counts are entered on the Inventory Counts page. You can enter counts for a single item (by UPC) or for all items from a vendor. The optional super department filter is sometimes useful with larger vendors. In either case you have the option to enter a new count, a new par, or both. The count is how many individual, salable units you have. The par is how many individual, salable units you want to keep in stock. To update only the par leave count blank.
If an item is purchased in one size but sold in multiple sizes, counts and pars are given in the smallest unit. For example, if Emergen-C is sold by the box and by the individual packet, counts and pars are given in individual packets. These type of items are managed as Aliases under Manage Vendors. Aliases Example
Tracking always operates based on the most recent count for an item. When you enter a new count, the system starts over and works from that number. If counts were taken on paper and entered into the electronic system later, you can click Adjust Dates to back-date any counts as needed.
Orders must be entered into CORE for inventory tracking to function. Order entry and management tools are all found item the Item Maintenance menu under Purchase Orders.
To create a new order, use Create Order => By Vendor. This creates a single order built from a single vendor's catalog of items. On the Item Search tab order you can search for items by SKU or UPC and add them to the order. On the Item List tab you can see all items currently on the order and alter quantities. When you're done click View Order. To go back and add more items or adjust quantities click Add Items.
How to place the order can vary. The next steps will typically be:
- Export the order and submit it to the vendor somehow (obviously this is going to vary by vendor)
- If an email address is associated with the vendor, Send via Email will email the export document to that address rather than downloading the document.
- Check the box for Placed. Once an order is placed, tracking will immediately add those quantities to inventory.
To receive an order, first find your order by going to the Purchase Orders main page and choosing View Orders. The default view shows all Placed orders from the current month. Change the month or year to view older orders or the status to view orders that are not yet marked Placed. In the order click the Receive Order button. The default receiving tool is currently very handheld oriented and works one item at a time. Enter a SKU (or UPC) to view that line-item of the order and adjust the received quantity or received cost as needed OR click Receive All to switch to a list of all items in the order.
CORE can also generate orders based on the defined pars. Go to the main Purchase Orders page and choose Create Order => Generate Order then designate which vendor(s) you want to create orders for. The remainder of the process is identical to creating an order from scratch. As before to adjust quantities or add additional items to a generated order click Add Items.
Sales should be deducted from inventory automatically. Shrink is counted separately but is also deducted automatically. The numbers shown may sometimes be "as of the end of yesterday". Returns are not added back into inventory. Special Orders are also current ignored (this only pertains to special orders created via CORE's special order system).
The Inventory (Approximate) task should be scheduled to run nightly. This recalculates inventory based on the day's activity. Auto Order can generate orders based on pars if that seems like a good idea.
There is also a fair amount of data maintenance to ensure the different components fit together - items need to belong to a vendor, they need a corresponding vendor catalog entry defining case size / order-able quantity, the UPCs on sales, orders, and counts have to agree, etc.
A Step-by-Step Example
(These steps most likely will not all occur on the same day)
- Enter a new item. Make sure the case size is correct (one is fine). If relevant make sure the SKU is correct, too.
- If you're dealing with a number of existing items, checking case sizes and SKUs may be easier via Item Maintenance => Manage Vendors and then Edit Vendor Catalog.
- Go to Item Maintenance => Perpetual Inventory to enter count(s) and par(s).
- Scan an item to enter a count & par for that individual item, OR
- Choose a vendor to enter counts & pars for multiple items from that vendor (e.g., entering count information that was recorded on paper).
- Generate order(s) for items with current quantity on hand less than par
- Go to Item Maintenance => Purchase Orders then Generate Order. Select vendor(s).
- Generated orders will appear in the "Pending" set
- Click Add Items in an order to make any adjustments
- Email/fax/phone the order information to the vendor
- Mark the order as "Placed"
- This will increase inventory immediately by the ordered quantities.
- Receive the Order
- Pull up the order in Item Maintenance => Purchase Orders and click Receive. If you aren't using a handheld clicking Receive All probably makes the most sense.
- The received quantities will default to the same as the ordered quantities. If there are any discrepancies/out-of-stocks/etc adjust the numbers and save.