Every business must know exactly both how many of each of its inventory items are present and how much each of them costs. A general ledger account called “Merchandise Inventory” is a part the bookkeeping system of every company, with subsidiary ledger accounts containing the balances of the various types of merchandise. But counting all the items and recording their values can be a time-consuming process, and the larger the company, the more true that becomes.
Fortunately, the development of technology is fast solving this problem. Various machines, as well as various computer programs, can make inventory calculation take much less time.
The spreadsheet, exemplified by Microsoft Excel and Power Point, have long been recognized as one of the clearest and most efficient ways to enter, edit and manipulate numerical data, making calculations based on that data and represent it on graphs of all kinds—line, bar and pie charts. A mechanical calculator, of course, is a good tool to have when you only have a few calculations to perform. However, if you are going to be performing large numbers of complex calculations, then it is far more efficient to have a spreadsheet.
One of their most attractive features is that they enable you to paste into one column a formula based on that contained in another, without having to perform each calculation separately. For instance, if each figure in Column B is double that of Column A plus 4.5, you can specify that in the spreadsheet. You can also perform complex functions like averages, which are considerably more difficult on a calculator, or quickly locate the maximum or minimum value in a column or range of cells. An added bonus is that, once this has been done, any changes that you make to the figures in Column A will affect its counterpart in Column B.
Another advantage of spreadsheets—from a purely esthetic perspective—is that you can adjust the background, foreground and font colors to highlight certain items, put text in boldface form, create “wraparound” text that fits neatly into the cell, and change the appearance of cell borders to set them off more clearly from neighboring ones.
Spreadsheets are commonly used by salesmen to keep track of the items that they sell, the value of each of them and the commissions they have earned. Likewise, accountants, sales analysts and supermarkets all use them for various purposes—to calculate profits, keep track of sales and thus analyze which products are selling the best and for supermarkets, to work out queuing times and thus determine how many checkouts should be open at a given time.
Inventory calculation can also be made faster and easier with other software programs. One such program is Inventory Management System 1.1, which can be downloaded from this website. It offers a “complete set of inventory management, manufacturing, and purchasing capabilities that will provide you with integrated supply chain management and control across your entire organization.” With it you can do even more than you can with a spreadsheet: You can select any product and view its data in detail—its name, the company name, the cost per item, how many are currently in stock, the date on which it was manufactured, the date on which it expires, the minimum and maximum stock ranges and any notes you may have regarding it. Of course you can do this with a spreadsheet too, but with this program it looks much clearer. To add new products, you simply click on that button on the right side and enter all the information just mentioned.
Inventory calculation via smartphone
No article regarding computers and Internet can be complete without having at least some time devoted to mobile use. There are apps for inventory calculation, most of them compatible with the iPhone and iPad. WMS Inventory is one of the best examples, designed specifically with small and medium-sized businesses in mind. Its input system is very detailed, allowing for in-depth reports on each item in stock. The settings are also “highly customizable.”
Katelyn writes for Camcode, a company helping users stay systematized and updated on new ways to keep inventory, clients, and employees organized in the work place. Visit their website at http://www.camcode.com/metal-foil-asset-tags.html
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