Fishbowl Inventory 2010 is an inventory control application that integrates with QuickBooks, the popular bookkeeping software. However, it can also be run as a standalone inventory management tool, making it especially suitable for distributors, wholesalers, delivery businesses, and even large operations such as manufacturing that maintain lean inventories for just-in-time operations. Among the features it packs are bar coding, parts tracking, shopping cart and Point-Of-Sale integration, multisite operations, administrative tools, and order management and tracking. Development kits, integrated hardware, and additional services are also available.
Fishbowl Inventory's installer lets you select or exclude the Manufacturing Option, which adds specific functionality; we chose to install it. The software opens with a sample database as well as a Product Tour/Overview dialog that includes links to further tutorials online as well as the option to create a new database for your company. The customizable, tabbed layout hinges on two basic modules: the Dashboard and the Report Center. A navigation "palette" accesses a series of gadgets for handling sales and work orders, RMA orders, and other items to be picked, shipped, or counted; you simply drag-and-drop gadgets onto the Dashboard to create layouts. The interface makes good use of color to differentiate items, too, and specifically labeled controls and menu items help make the software not only easy to learn but also easy to use. We especially like the ability to quickly create highly specialized layouts, save them, and load them with the click of a button. The Quick Links panel is another nice feature; it gives access to frequently used features, reports, Web sites, customers and vendors, and more. On top of Fishbowl Inventory's extensive range of features and capabilities is full QuickBooks integration, a recommendation in itself.
This is a large and feature-packed software package that isn't cheap, but its combination of power, features, user-friendliness, and QuickBooks integration will suit many enterprise environments, from small shops to distributed manufacturing operations.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Fishbowl Inventory 2010.4. The trial version is limited to 14 days.