Inventory Request Tracking

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mrussell
mrussell
edited 02/15/24 in Smartsheet Basics

Hello,

I am trying to set up an inventory request system. I seem to only be able to find templates for request trackers and inventory trackers, not a way to link the two. How can I create an inventory list and then a form where users can request use of items in the inventory and I can track when items are checked in/out etc.? I want to be able to tie the requests to specific items with barcodes, etc. and I cannot figure out how to get that information into a form.

Thank you,

Meghan

Best Answer

  • Bassam Khalil
    Bassam Khalil ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
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    Hi @mrussell,

    Creating an integrated inventory request system in Smartsheet, which combines inventory tracking with a request form, involves a bit of creativity since you're looking to link two distinct functionalities: tracking inventory and managing requests, including check-ins and check-outs. Here's a step-by-step guide to set this up, focusing on the use of Smartsheet features such as sheets, forms, and potentially reports or dashboards for better visibility and management.

    Step 1: Set Up Your Inventory Sheet

    1. Create an Inventory Sheet: This sheet will be your primary inventory list. Include columns for Item Name, Barcode, Description, Quantity Available, and any other relevant information (like location, condition, etc.).
    2. Add Barcode Support: Smartsheet doesn't natively support barcode scanning into a sheet directly. However, you can use the Text/Number column type for barcodes. Users can manually enter barcode numbers, or you can explore Smartsheet's API and third-party barcode scanning apps for more automated solutions.

    Step 2: Create a Request Form

    1. Generate a Form for Item Requests: Go to your inventory sheet and create a new form (Forms > Create Form). This form will be used by users to request items from the inventory.
    2. Customize the Form: Include fields in the form for the requestor's name, contact information, item barcode (or name), quantity requested, and dates for check-out and check-in. You might not be able to directly link the form to your inventory list for item selection, so instruct users to refer to the inventory sheet for item names or barcode numbers.
    3. Sharing the Form: Once the form is ready, share its link with your users. You can post it on an internal website, send it via email, or share it through any other communication channel you use.

    Step 3: Track Requests and Manage Inventory

    1. Requests Sheet: Form submissions can be directed to a new sheet (a Requests Tracker) or the existing inventory sheet, depending on how you want to manage the workflow. A separate Requests Tracker sheet can help keep requests organized without cluttering the inventory list.
    2. Manual Updating: When a request is made, you will need to manually verify the availability of the item and update the inventory quantity. This includes decreasing the quantity when items are checked out and increasing it when they are returned.
    3. Automation and Notifications: Use Smartsheet's automation features to alert you when a new request is submitted, or when items are due for return. Automations can also be set up to notify requesters of their request status (approved, denied, item ready for pickup, etc.).

    Step 4: Reporting and Dashboards

    1. Create Reports: To get a unified view of your inventory and requests, create reports that pull data from both your inventory sheet and your requests tracker. This can help you monitor stock levels, pending requests, and items due for return.
    2. Dashboards: For a more visual management tool, create a dashboard in Smartsheet. You can include widgets to display reports, key metrics (like total items in stock, number of items checked out, etc.), and even include links to your inventory form or sheet for easy access.

    Additional Tips

    • Cross-Sheet References: For advanced tracking, consider using cross-sheet references to pull in data from your inventory sheet into your requests tracker. This requires some manual setup and maintenance but can enhance your tracking capabilities.
    • Barcode Integration: If manual barcode entry is cumbersome, explore third-party tools that integrate with Smartsheet and support barcode scanning. This might involve additional costs or setup but could streamline the check-out/check-in process.
    • Training and Guidelines: Provide clear instructions and training for your users on how to use the request form and the importance of accurately entering information, especially barcodes, to ensure smooth operation of the inventory system.

    This setup, while not fully automated, provides a solid foundation for managing inventory requests using Smartsheet's capabilities. As you get more familiar with the system, you can explore additional integrations and automations to further streamline your processes.

    PMP Certified

    bassam.khalil2009@gmail.com

    ☑️ Are you satisfied with my answer to your question? Please help the Community by marking it as an ( Accepted Answer), and I will be grateful for your "Vote Up" or "Insightful"

Answers

  • Bassam Khalil
    Bassam Khalil ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    Options

    Hi @mrussell,

    Creating an integrated inventory request system in Smartsheet, which combines inventory tracking with a request form, involves a bit of creativity since you're looking to link two distinct functionalities: tracking inventory and managing requests, including check-ins and check-outs. Here's a step-by-step guide to set this up, focusing on the use of Smartsheet features such as sheets, forms, and potentially reports or dashboards for better visibility and management.

    Step 1: Set Up Your Inventory Sheet

    1. Create an Inventory Sheet: This sheet will be your primary inventory list. Include columns for Item Name, Barcode, Description, Quantity Available, and any other relevant information (like location, condition, etc.).
    2. Add Barcode Support: Smartsheet doesn't natively support barcode scanning into a sheet directly. However, you can use the Text/Number column type for barcodes. Users can manually enter barcode numbers, or you can explore Smartsheet's API and third-party barcode scanning apps for more automated solutions.

    Step 2: Create a Request Form

    1. Generate a Form for Item Requests: Go to your inventory sheet and create a new form (Forms > Create Form). This form will be used by users to request items from the inventory.
    2. Customize the Form: Include fields in the form for the requestor's name, contact information, item barcode (or name), quantity requested, and dates for check-out and check-in. You might not be able to directly link the form to your inventory list for item selection, so instruct users to refer to the inventory sheet for item names or barcode numbers.
    3. Sharing the Form: Once the form is ready, share its link with your users. You can post it on an internal website, send it via email, or share it through any other communication channel you use.

    Step 3: Track Requests and Manage Inventory

    1. Requests Sheet: Form submissions can be directed to a new sheet (a Requests Tracker) or the existing inventory sheet, depending on how you want to manage the workflow. A separate Requests Tracker sheet can help keep requests organized without cluttering the inventory list.
    2. Manual Updating: When a request is made, you will need to manually verify the availability of the item and update the inventory quantity. This includes decreasing the quantity when items are checked out and increasing it when they are returned.
    3. Automation and Notifications: Use Smartsheet's automation features to alert you when a new request is submitted, or when items are due for return. Automations can also be set up to notify requesters of their request status (approved, denied, item ready for pickup, etc.).

    Step 4: Reporting and Dashboards

    1. Create Reports: To get a unified view of your inventory and requests, create reports that pull data from both your inventory sheet and your requests tracker. This can help you monitor stock levels, pending requests, and items due for return.
    2. Dashboards: For a more visual management tool, create a dashboard in Smartsheet. You can include widgets to display reports, key metrics (like total items in stock, number of items checked out, etc.), and even include links to your inventory form or sheet for easy access.

    Additional Tips

    • Cross-Sheet References: For advanced tracking, consider using cross-sheet references to pull in data from your inventory sheet into your requests tracker. This requires some manual setup and maintenance but can enhance your tracking capabilities.
    • Barcode Integration: If manual barcode entry is cumbersome, explore third-party tools that integrate with Smartsheet and support barcode scanning. This might involve additional costs or setup but could streamline the check-out/check-in process.
    • Training and Guidelines: Provide clear instructions and training for your users on how to use the request form and the importance of accurately entering information, especially barcodes, to ensure smooth operation of the inventory system.

    This setup, while not fully automated, provides a solid foundation for managing inventory requests using Smartsheet's capabilities. As you get more familiar with the system, you can explore additional integrations and automations to further streamline your processes.

    PMP Certified

    bassam.khalil2009@gmail.com

    ☑️ Are you satisfied with my answer to your question? Please help the Community by marking it as an ( Accepted Answer), and I will be grateful for your "Vote Up" or "Insightful"

  • mrussell
    Options

    Hi Bassam,

    I was hoping for more of direct connection, but I think I can make this work. The problem is my users aren't super tech savvy so I was hoping to have the least amount of work on their end possible. Thank you for these detailed instructions. They are very easy to follow!

    Thanks,

    Meghan

  • Bassam Khalil
    Bassam Khalil ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Options

    Hi @mrussell,

    Are you satisfied with my answer to your question? Please help the Community by marking it as an ( Accepted Answer), and I will be grateful for your "Vote Up" or "Insightful"

    PMP Certified

    bassam.khalil2009@gmail.com

    ☑️ Are you satisfied with my answer to your question? Please help the Community by marking it as an ( Accepted Answer), and I will be grateful for your "Vote Up" or "Insightful"