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Our 5-step Fishbowl Inventory Setup Process

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Successful Fishbowl Inventory setup and deployment of a software system requires careful integration into your organizational structure and operation.

  • Assign a key person in your company to work on the project.
  • Assure that key person is empowered with expert training.
  • Don’t overwhelm them with unreasonable expectations. This will just set them up for failure.

Don’t underestimate Fishbowl Inventory. It is a complex and robust system.

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Since 2006 we have helped over 100 companies implement Fishbowl. Through success and failure, we have discovered a proven 5-step system that will assure a successful implementation.

Step 1. Assess IT Infrastructure

You will hate your Fishbowl setup if it’s slow or won’t sync smoothly with QuickBooks and other software. Therefore, all necessary hardware, network connections and operating systems meet minimum software requirements so your Fishbowl software system will run smoothly and efficiently.

After you install Fishbowl and ensure users can log in, coordinate with your IT administrator to assure your IT infrastructure has the required setup between Fishbowl Inventory and QuickBooks.


Step 2. Practice File Setup

All the training in the world will not help you if your file is not set up right. Ensure your data file is structured correctly to maximize your Fishbowl experience.

Foundational data, such as parts, units of measure, QuickBooks account mapping and locations are key. User rights and default settings need to be carefully decided. In addition, your part scheme needs to be optimized or created. Learn how to use the import/export feature. Prepare spreadsheets and import parts, products and inventory quantity, cost and locations in mass. If you purchased Fishbowl Manufacturing, Create one Bill of Material to test in the next step. Once the data file is setup and optimized, connect the file to a practice QuickBooks file and begin testing the flow of data from Fishbowl transaction to QuickBooks.

Custom IntegrationsShopping cart, EDI and CRM for Fishbowl and carrier integrations can be setup and tested at this point.


Step 3. Process Design

Together with a Fishbowl expert, walk through your everyday transactions in the practice file. This is a “train the trainer” step as the Fishbowl expert consultant works closely with one key individual in your organization.

This also is a time to test your practice Fishbowl Inventory setup, and decide on best practices for your company.  Record your decisions on a shared document. Process design is difficult to accomplish if you’re new to Fishbowl. Necessary adjustments to processes are made during this testing phase.

Consider each person’s role in the company. Decide what their Fishbowl responsibilities should be and produce valuable SOP documentation for their role. These documents can include screen shots and numbered steps to be used for reference later.  Remember, don’t overwhelm your key person with unreasonable expectations. Hire the expert Fishbowl consulting help they need.

Optional Custom Reportsare designed and developed before or during this stage. Almost every Fishbowl implementation project requires custom reports.


Step 4. Training and Practice

Once the processes are laid out and responsibilities are assigned, give your individual staff members who use Fishbowl Inventory the customized training they need. We team with your new key Fishbowl expert to clearly explain to each staff member their new role and responsibility. They will gain confidence and comfort to have a successful ongoing experience with Fishbowl Inventory. Work to have the process accepted and adopted. Don’t push. Persuade. If they don’t fully except the new process, they won’t do it when your back is turned.

Once executives and Fishbowl users feel good about the new processes, everyone is assigned to practice their specific role by entering data into Fishbowl on a daily basis. The more realistic the practice, the more valuable the questions will be. Resolve all questions and concerns before going live with Fishbowl Inventory and before connecting Fishbowl to your live QuickBooks file. Assure everyone is involved in this practice step: Accounting, purchasing, warehouse manager, shipping and receiving, production scheduling need to say, “We’re ready. Let’s do this!”


Step 5. Convert and Go Live

The go-live date can usually be scheduled at the end of the process design step. Training and practice generally takes a couple of weeks depending on the size of your company. A few days before cutting over to the new system, setup a new blank Fishbowl Inventory file. Export your list type data from your practice file. Import the list type data, (customers, vendors, parts, UOM etc) into your new Fishbowl Inventory setup. Connect with your live QuickBooks file in preparation to perform a sync later. This is necessary to assure the part accounts are mapped correctly in advance.

Assign your sales reps to enter the open Sales Orders into the live file before it’s actually live. This is great practice! Assign your purchasing manager to enter all open purchase orders and your production manager to enter all open work orders. Just before the go-live moment, pause all operations. Prepare the “Add Inventory” spreadsheet with live part numbers, quantities, locations, units of measure, values and lot numbers etc. Import live inventory into Fishbowl. This will create hundreds or thousands of transactions. Mark those transactions “as posted,” so they don’t post to QuickBooks. This can be nerve-wracking.


Call (844) 839-4949

Work with someone who has done this before. Hire and expert Fishbowl consultant! We will guide you through making a balancing journal entry in QuickBooks so Fishbowl Inventory and QuickBooks will reconcile from day one.

  • Live Fishbowl Support and Training – Once live, we offer support and any additional training necessary.

Some of these steps may be done with us remotely or on-site. Some of them may be simple and quick for your company. All steps are required for a successful Fishbowl Inventory setup. Don’t try to skip a step. Many companies come to us after they have implemented Fishbowl Inventory on their own. Hopefully you have found us before then. We can help either way. Have you already implemented? Call us. Are you just getting started? Call us. Are you somewhere in between? Call us. (844) 839-4949 We can help.

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