BusinessInventory Management

Setting up a Sandbox for Inventory Software

By September 19, 2022 August 24th, 2023 No Comments

Small Business Sandbox Setup for IMS

When it comes to implementing the inventory software that will drive your profits and streamline your success, you don’t want to settle for second best. That’s why we’ve developed a five-step implementation process that can transform any operation into a well-tuned machine that works for your needs, rather than against them; a circumstance which is unfortunately all-too-common. If you haven’t yet read the general overview of our entire process, check out our article about it here.

We’ve already covered the first step in depth, so today we will be focusing on the second one, namely: setting up a sandbox environment for your system. Just as how the first step (configuring the right setup and establishing an overall vision) was an important foundational stage, it is likewise crucial at this point in the implementation process for us to continue with creating a sandbox environment to help us ensure a successful implementation. While this is an essential part of the process for every company, the bigger your operation is, the more important this becomes because there will be so many moving parts involved that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with.

What is an Inventory Management Software Sandbox?

A sandbox is essentially a copy of your inventory management software that is inputted with all of your relevant workflow data. If your operation is current, and you’re looking to improve your processes, then we simply take an aggregate, parallel copy of the entire existing account and work with that. On the other hand, if you have not yet implemented the software yourself, then we simply help you manually enter your existing data into the new inventory software system so that we can have a working sandbox that reflects what your users will, eventually, be operating with.

What makes a sandbox so appealing for your inventory software implementation? In a word, it allows us to create a realistic environment for people to learn in. With this, we may start off small in the scope of the sandbox, incorporating only a few parts initially so that you can become comfortable with the rudimentary aspects of the software, but soon we would like to have you be interacting with and learning from a full-scale replica of the integrated software file. This, of course, will give you and your team the relevant hands-on expertise they will need to eventually go live with the overall workflow operation.

Employing the Sandbox

Once this is established, the sandbox becomes something of a testing ground to uncover potential problems, iron out inconsistencies, and discover the most ideal and desired way to carry out your essential tasks. It becomes the point at which we begin to understand the important minutia that will be necessary for the operation to function. Along these lines, you may start to have questions relating part numbers, units of measurement, bills and material, what types of parts are required, and how the software ultimately maps to QuickBooks, etc., and these questions can promptly be addressed and resolved as they arise.

More broadly, this is the point in time where you and your team begin to, through the process of osmosis and repetition, become familiarized and comfortable with the overall “feel” of the software, helping you understand how the inventory software works and flows in a general sense. Once you figure out the best way for your company to use the software, and you test it out to your liking, then you will be in a great spot to begin preparing for training and going live.

Making Necessary Preparations for Inventory Help

Step 2 of our five-step plan also involves creating a multitude of spreadsheets. We prepare the spreadsheets of your workflow design in a way that your specific inventory system will accept. There may be mapping fields provided by the inventory software, whether browser or desktop based, that serve to prioritize and organize the data types which need to be recorded into your system. Things such as units of measurement, terms, carriers or other things that the customer is assigned to will be entered into the software first.

If this is one of the inventory management software systems mentioned prior, then this can happen automatically. Otherwise, we can help you reconfigure the data layout in order to ensure that it is all entered in both correctly, and in the proper order. This foundational process does take experience to perfect, and thankfully we have enough experience to ensure this data transfer is smooth and painless. In order to do this successfully, we will help you connect the copy of your inventory software to a copy of your live QuickBooks account. This will help you test out how the inventory software communicates with your QuickBooks account, allowing us to foresee and deal with any unwieldy surprises that come along with this new connection, as well as plan for ideal results.

Am I Ready to Go Live Yet?

Before you jump into going live with the software, you will want to ensure that every facet of the operation has been fully tested and flushed out, that all have been trained adequately, and that everyone feels a sense of familiarity with the software. This includes ensuring that all features have been tested, all data has been inputted, and all bases covered. The reason this is indispensable is because you want to make certain that there will be as few issues as possible when the software is live, and when every error and issue will result in real-world consequences for your bottom line.

While determining if you are ready to go live can often be a choice based upon feelings over hard data, we will be there to help ground you if we believe that there is additional preparation necessary to ensure a successful go-live date. We have seen and helped far too many businesses who became slightly overconfident with their workflow process, only to find that after they had gone live, there were still just few details they needed to smooth over before they were truly prepared.

Your Inventory Software Digital Transformation

Many of our clients worry that once they’re ready to go live with the software, they will have to do all the work of creating the sandbox over again. This is, however, not the case. When you are ready, most software companies have built-in mechanisms that allow you to convert your sandbox environment into a live software system. Even if there is not such an automatic feature or service with your chosen software, the manual process is not a difficult one, and we can help you with it regardless as it is a simple exportation of relevant data. And, because we went through the effort of creating the sandbox to begin with, you and your team will be more than adequately prepared to make the superficial transition between the copy of the software, to the live software. After working with hundreds of clients, we are seldom disappointed with the results when this essential step of inventory software implementation is taken.