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Getting Started

posted Jan 3, 2016, 9:10 AM by Admin Manager   [ updated Jan 9, 2016, 5:11 PM ]
Introduction

This topic focuses on some of the key concepts in mInventory and explains some of the principles behind the design of the program.  This is a good starting place to get to learn how to use the program.

Why mInventory

Retail businesses of all sizes face challenges when it comes to managing inventory, many of which are addressed with business accounting software programs like QuickBooks.  However, many of these programs offer a broad range of functions, and don’t typically do a good job with basic inventory management.  Additionally, many small businesses find that the complexity of these applications can be overwhelming. 
mInventory is a simple and straightforward software system for managing inventory.  It offers the small business with a set of purchasing, sales and inventory management functions that can greatly simplify the complexities around establishing, tracking and reporting on your inventory levels. 

The concept behind the program is pretty basic.  You set up vendors from whom you purchase products and then create items in your inventory for each of these products.   When you make purchases against your vendors, the inventory items are updated automatically as you receive goods.  The program can produce purchase orders to streamline your purchasing, or allow you to simply enter receipts.  As you sell products, inventory is depleted.  You can set reorder levels and have the software automatically inform you of replenishment needs.

Process Overview 

The diagram below gives a high-level overview of how the functions of the software come together to allow you to manage your inventory workflow. 
This guide will walk through these functions to give you an overview of how these are handled in the software.   
 
          

Basic Navigation

Before we get into the process flow walkthrough, it may be helpful to go over the basic navigation in the program. It’s really pretty easy. On the left side of the screen you’ll find icons that represent the major functions of the program.  This is called the Navigation Bar. These are Vendors, Inventory, Transfers, Purchases, Customers, Sales and Invoices.  Clicking on one of these icons will show you a list of records that correspond to the function you clicked on.

At the top of the screen there are a set of icons that run particular functions.  This is called the Action Bar.

On the right side of the screen we have the Action Panel.  This panel will provide access to details and features based on the particular functional area that you have selected on the Navigation Panel.

 Action Bar

 Navigation Bar
 Action Panel
For any of the functional areas you can double click on an entry in the table to edit the record. You can also right click on a record and you will be shown a popup menu with available program options. These options will vary depending on which function you are interacting with.

You can add new records to a function by clicking on the “Add XXX” button on the Action Bar. You will be shown an empty window that you can fill in the information fields.  Click Save to save your work or Cancel to discard changes.

Also on the Action Bar are icons that allow you to run reports or configure program settings.

The main menu bar also provides some shortcuts to navigate the screens.  If you pull down the ‘Inventory’ menu, you’ll see the options available and the corresponding short cut keys.   As you become more accustom to using the program, these will become helpful to you.

Vendor Management

Vendors are businesses that you purchase products from.  You may purchase and resell these products or you may use them in the production of your own products.   mInventory can be used in several production scenarios but before you can place a purchase order for product, you have to tell the system who you are buying from.  One of the first steps in using mInventory is to create vendors that you work with.

Inventory Management

This is the heart of the program and likely the place that you’ll spend a good portion of your time with the program. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with the functions available in this section and experiment with the many features available.  Here, we add those inventory items that you will be keeping track of.

Ordering & Receipts Management

At this point, you will have created vendors to purchase from and created inventory items for those items that you want to sell.  You are now at the point that you can begin to place orders and receive goods.   mInventory allows you to create a purchase order and then add the products that you will be purchasing.  A PO report can be created and sent to the vendor to initiate the purchase process.  When goods show up at your business, you can use the receiving workflow to mark them received and have the inventory levels updated.  mInventory supports both a full and partial receipt models

Not that mInventory also supports manufacturing, custom builds and manual adjustment workflows to update inventory counts.  These are described in additional help topics.

Customer Management

Customers are those individual that you sell your inventory items to.  You should create customers before you begin using the sales and invoice workflows in the program.

Sales Management

Here you have the ability to create sales orders, add items to the order and specify specifics around the sale.  mInventory allows you to drag and drop inventory items on your sale as well as specify a few different types of discounts and order adjustments.  You can create and select tax rates and then produce a series of reports that can be used internally and with your customers.  If you sales has payment terms, you can produce an invoice for your customer.

Selling items as part of Sales Management will reduce inventory counts.
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