How to Pick the Perfect QuickBooks Order Management Solution
There can be no doubt to the brilliance of QuickBooks Online when it comes to tracking your account and finances. Many an accountant's ears will perk up when they hear that you have adopted it.
But how does it fare when it comes to managing your orders?
Well, as a manufacturer, it turns out not so well.
Because the reality is that you have two fronts to cover here: sales and manufacturing orders. And QuickBooks Online does not provide adequate tools to deal with either. Which is why many turn to software solutions to help them with QuickBooks order management.
The main reason for that is that there is no sales order feature with QuickBooks Online which makes tracking your orders and inventory levels a real hassle.
On top of that, there is the issue that there is no manufacturing module in this version, which means that fulfilling your manufacturing orders can be both inefficient and costly.
That means there’s all too much potential for late deliveries and a lack of time to properly offer the support your customers deserve.
Now, as we mentioned, there are QuickBooks order management systems which can help out here. The question is, how do you make the right choice?
There are just so many options on the table, each offering their own spin.
But the truth is that there is no right answer. Each product-making business has its own needs for their order fulfillment cycle which need to be met.
It’s just a case of knowing which questions to ask of yourself and understand the breadth of features that are available to you.
So, let’s have a walk through this tricky bog of information and hopefully by the end you should have a much clearer vision of where you need to be headed.
What Makes Perfect QuickBooks Order Management?
Great order management is all about efficiently managing, tracking and fulfilling your sales orders. But using QuickBooks for manufacturing makes this a long-winded process which takes time and energy to ensure everything runs smoothly.
If you want to improve your QuickBooks order management then you need to know what kind of features to be looking for. The options available are vast, but there are a few which you simply cannot afford to miss.
Here are 7 of the most critical:
1. QuickBooks Integration
Well, of course, you won’t have yourself a QuickBooks order management system unless it integrates with your QuickBooks Online account. But just knowing that it integrates is not enough.
You want to make sure that the software slots into your current order fulfillment process by having the ability to sends bills and invoices to your account easily. That means sales and purchases should be able to be updated to your QuickBooks account without having to move back and forth between software.
Ideally too, you will be able to sync your contacts and supplier information. Without it, you might be adding more headache to your day than it's worth.
2. Sales and Manufacturing Order Support
QuickBooks Online does not have a sales or manufacturing order system. A good QuickBooks order management system is one which uses sales orders to create invoices when sales have been made, and then subsequently reduces stock automatically.
But as a manufacturer, you will also need the ability to create and track manufacturing orders. They work so that your materials inventory is reduced as the process goes along. This way your inventory is always working with your orders and not against them.
These two elements are the foundation of solid QuickBooks order management for manufacturers.
3. Manufacturing Cost Calculations
Part of managing your orders is having the ability to keep on top of your manufacturing costs so you can decide which orders are worth prioritizing.
So, you need a software which tracks the cost of ingredients and operations for each of your products. QuickBooks Online does not include this in its system. However, a good QuickBooks order management software will allow you to track how much it costs to make a product in terms of materials and operations in real-time.
By having QuickBooks bill of materials (product recipes) set up, it will be much easier to track and compare your product costs.
That means having a system which will automatically update your manufacturing costs based on material purchases and changes to labor costs.
4. Material Inventory Management
Managing your orders might seem simple enough on a surface level. Orders come in, you make them, you ship them out. Well, we all know it’s not that simple.
The production aspect requires constant diligence and awareness of what is happening in your stockroom. Having enough materials to fulfill your orders is one thing, and then ensuring that you don’t overstock is another.
Lacking materials leads to delayed orders, whilst overstocking adds to your carrying costs.
A good QuickBooks inventory management software is one that can manage your materials and finished goods so that they are consistently at optimal levels.
5. Production Scheduling
As mentioned, QuickBooks Online does not have a dedicated manufacturing module. One of the issues here is that there is no way to track your team's tasks in relation to your sales and manufacturing orders.
You want QuickBooks order management which is going to allow you to set up your manufacturing scheduling and keep track of the progress for each of your orders. This will increase your operations efficiency and let you make the most out of your solution.
And ideally, the software will provide you with the option to prioritize your orders whilst automatically adjusting your stock levels.
6. Overview of Order Fulfillment
It’s likely that you are attempting to resolve a lot of these issues yourself using spreadsheets and the like. In which case you’re sure to already know how inefficient they can be. Moving from one spreadsheet to the other, trawling for the right data and then cross-referencing can be a right headache.
Which is why your QuickBooks order management should provide you with a complete overview of your order fulfillment process. You want to be able to track them from the production stage to the sales stage without having to make constant manual updates.
The more automated and real-time the system appears to be the better.
7. E-commerce Integration
So, where do your orders come from?
Likely if you’re a modern manufacturer then a lot of it comes from your e-commerce stores. Now technically you can use any order management system for your e-commerce sales, but it just means you’re going to have to manually input them into the system.
But there’s not much point adopting a solution which doesn’t make your life easier. Look for software which is going to integrate with your e-commerce platforms like Shopify so that your orders can be pulled automatically.
How to Find the Right QuickBooks Order Management Software
Okay, so we got an idea of the kind features we should be looking for. But that’s not enough really.
We need to know the why as much as the what. The driving forces behind your decisions.
There are four questions you should ask yourself when looking for the right solution to your QuickBooks order management woes.
1. What are you missing?
It’s hard to know which specific features you require without knowing what your business currently needs. A great place to start is to look at your current order cycle from start to finish and look for where difficulties lie the most.
It could, for example, be related to pulling in e-commerce orders or conversely it could be something to do with a lack of a bill of materials.
It might not even be the case that it’s something specific but rather it's just a general issue with being overwhelmed by spreadsheets.
2. What are your technical requirements?
After you know what you’re missing it can be a great idea to take stock of your technical requirements.
Questions like these:
How many SKUs do you need?
What volume of orders needs dealing with?
How many locations need dealing with?
What current software needs integrating?
Which e-commerce platforms would ideally be integrated?
That’s just a starting point though, go as wide as you can here. Once you get talking to solution providers you will be in a much better position to know if they are the right fit.
3. How does the future look?
Scalability is the keyword here.
It’s important that you have QuickBooks order management which is going to be able to handle your business in a years' time as well as now.
Because the bitter truth is that changing software is not an ideal situation to be in. It can be a time and resource-consuming process for both you and your team.
So, you need to take the decision seriously and envision future needs your business will have as best you can.
4. Can you test it?
Following on from the fact that you need to be careful in your choice of software, is that you need to test out any potential future solution before adoption. Don’t jump into any rash decisions without trialing them out first.
Look for software that gives you the option to take them on a test drive first.
Ultimate QuickBooks Order Management Software
Alright, we get the idea.
Choosing software to help with QuickBooks order management is not to be taken lightly.
Make the wrong move and you’ve committed to a daily pair of jeans which are going to get smelly and torn up quickly.
Instead, it’s better to focus on the positive implications as you do your research. Because they can be massive.
The right solution is going to gift you precious time and resources, alongside making your order management run smoothly.
Just take the time to ask the right questions and look for the top features.
Katana Smart Workshop Software is a QuickBooks order management system which has been designed for modern manufacturers. If you’re a small or medium-sized product-making business, then it’s definitely worth checking out.
Your invoice and bills can be sent to your QuickBooks account at the click of a button, and your contacts list is synced up automatically. Not to mention that the syncing process is automated and doesn’t require you to spend unnecessary time manually transferring your data over.
This means that you can keep your order fulfillment process on a system which has been designed to work for manufacturers, and then use QuickBooks for its strengths in accounting and finances.
But it gives you a lot more benefit than that. The point is to provide you with an all-in-one solution to your product-making business woes.
Inventory, production, and sales are unified on a single visual, color-coded dashboard which has been designed for the maker’s eye. So, you can use Katana as the foundational tool for your entire workflow.
It includes all of the features that have been mentioned so far, but here are just a few more of the benefits on offer:
Sync accounting with your QuickBooks;
On-demand access to your manufacturing costs;
Track finished goods and material inventory;
Use as a production scheduling software;
Manufacturing floor-level control;
Plan your material purchasing efficiently;
Ditch inefficient excel spreadsheets forever; and
Keep your entire business workflow on a single dashboard.
Once you get up and running you can ensure that your orders are getting fulfilled as efficiently as possible. Your customers get their beloved products on time, whilst your business runs optimally both on an operational and financial level.
Take it for a 14-day free test drive and see what you think for yourself!
But regardless of what you decide to do, just remember that improving QuickBooks order management is about making your life easier, as well as for your customers.
If you keep that in mind, there’s no way you can go wrong.