How PASS Storeroom inventory control software works

PASS Storeroom is Windows Inventory software for warehouse management and stock control. It monitors goods received and goods despatched to customers and maintains full batch traceability and records of the warehouse inventory by location and by date. It operates as a system based on tags and barcodes with direct barcode label printing built into the system. It is designed for small and medium sized warehouse and businesses and priced on a once only fee. There are no annual licence fees. It can operate with business forms to provide on line data to client pcs.

Its main forte is the installation assistance, support and training that is given with the product and once installed it just does the job. The are two parts to it and for those that just want a simple stock taking program we have PASS Stocktake. This uses either phone or pda to capture the counts and these can be either full or partial counts enabling you to easily resume the stocktake on consecutive days where it is impractical or inconvenient to count it all on one day. The full warehouse management system is called PASS Storeroom and this focuses on keeping a perpetual inventory by carefully recording all goods coming in and out and their movements internally.

Getting the products on to the system

The most time saving work that you can do before running a stock control system is to set up your data with as much detail as possible. The easiest way is to start with a spreadsheet If you have a list of products on a spreadsheet then we simply import those directly from the spreadsheet together with their details. This forms the basic framework and we can then do a stock count. There are several elements to consider having on the spreadsheet before the import is done.

Stock Types

Different categories of stock require different tracking methods. There are three types.

1. Commodity stock that does not need a shelf life.

2. Commodity Stock that has a shelf life and needs batch traceability like food

3. Stock with serial numbers like Laptops that need to be uniquely identified before and after sale

In the spreadsheet make an extra column and define each item as Commodity, Batch or Serial.

Product codes and supplier codes

When goods arrive at the warehouse they will only have the supplier code on them at best so to record the receipt quickly you need to scan the supplier code and the system needs to be able to connect this to your own stock code. You can use the supplier code throughout the life of the product and it will be tracked and recorded without problem. There is no absolute need to add your own barcode label but you can do so very easily at the point of receipt if you prefer to do so. Searching for products on a database however presents a different problem because whilst it is easy to look up and remember most of your own product codes it is not so easy to remember the supplier codes. So on the spreadsheet it will save you time if you add a column for you own code and another for the supplier code. We then import and connect the two. . If you make a supplier column in the spreadsheet for each product then give each supplier a short code like the first few letters of the name and import the suppliers first before the products.

Stock Categories

You can set categories for the stock so as to group them and inspect them more easily. For example you could have Stock for Sale, Consumables, Quarantine etc. Set this up as a separate coumn in the spreadsheet first.

Product packs or unit of quantity

The container or unit of quantity is important. For example it could be packs of 50 nails in which case when the software displays 50 as the quantity it means 50 bags of 50 nails. The software operates with minimum quantity settings, both local and global if you have more than one warehouse or stores. So add an extra column to the spreadsheet and fill in the minimum quantities that you need to have in stock. Then when the stock falls to this level you will get warning flags in the system and reorder reports can be generated.

Stock Locations

Before the stocktake is done we need get a list of locations on the database so that when the counting is being carried out we can record which locations the items are in. It depends on how your stores are laid out as to the best way of giving the locations their code. The IKEA style for example records the Aisle and Row A13-21 all on levels one and 2 for their customers. The upper levels are reserved for bulk storage. In a small storeroom all you will need is a rack number. Where you have goods on a floor area you need to define that area with a code so that everyone knows where to look.

Stocktake

We are now ready to do the stocktake. Now all the products are on the system we can print out a complete list of them with their barcodes on A4 sheets. The count is then done and the PDA is used to record the location number, the product code and the quantity. When this has all finished then the records are uploaded to the pc and the stock data is updated to reflect what you have in stock. We now have a system. At this point it is worth running the reorder report to see items that are below you minimum quantity requirement. You can then place the appropriate orders.

Bringing goods in

When goods are received from the suppliers they are scanned and moved to their stores location. But what if there is no barcode on the product? You can do one of two things. Look it up and scan from a preprinted barcode list that we provide or print a label with a label printer connected to a PC in the receiving area. When the product code is scanned the PDA will recognise whether the stock type is serial, batch or commodity. If its either of the first two types then the batch or serial number will be required. This is necessary so that every item is monitored and can be easily found. The batch and serial numbers will normally be found on the delivery note if they are not already on the suppliers label on the outer container.

Despatching goods

This is straightforward and involves a simple scan of the location and product codes. Your work method may be to pick the goods first for the customer order and bring them to the despatch bay. In this case you would do the scan as you remove them from their location and set the despatch area as the new location.
When they are then loaded onto the van or carrier you can scan them again to record the date and time of despatch.

Lend and return

Some items may never leave stock, like engineers tools. Using the Lend and Return module you can use the PDA to scan these tools from you barcode list (labels don't stick to tools for very long!) and get reports on everything that is out on loan. So the difference between Issue and Lend is that Issue removes the items from stock as they are despatched but if an item is Lent it remains part of your stock and shows up in all the reports.