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Real Frequently Asked Questions (RFAQ) about Clearly Inventory

Last Updated: Aug 05, 2013 04:38PM CDT
Actual questions from customers, and our answers.

Q. How many item numbers can be recorded? 

A. In theory, it’s only limited by the plan you select.  We set an arbitrary limit for the Enterprise Plan at 100,000 sku’s, but the limit is well beyond that. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. How many of each item can we carry? 

A. Unlimited. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. How many vendors for each item can we record?

A. Clearly Inventory can associate an unlimited number of vendors with an item. However, we only allow five “ranking” levels for preferences (you can have multiple vendors at the same level of preference). - Feb 8, 2011

Q. Can we keep alternate part numbers within the item record?

A. This is usually done at the ‘item detail’ level with a ‘custom item field’.  The alternate part number can be easily searched and filtered for, but it will not be used as the ‘lookup number’ when performing actions or in report or table views.  Some accounts include this type of information in the description also.  It really depends on what your needs are. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. Can we record equipment (model #s, names, etc) that the item will fit?

A. There are also several ways to do this.  The ‘cleanest’ is to set-up bills of materials for the items and their ‘top’ or ‘sub’ assemblies.  You can then use the “used for” and “used on” BOM reports in the Explore tab to view these associations. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. How many warehouses can be kept?

A. The only limits are the number of locations for a given plan.  We don’t distinguish among location types.  And there is no limit on ‘zones’ (location groups) which is how some companies configure multiple warehouses.  There are several ways to ‘nest’ locations, and we should discuss these when you configure your account. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. How many locations within a warehouse can be kept?

A. See answer above.  - Feb 8, 2011

Q. Can minimums and maximums be established?

A. Re-order points set a minimum at or below which a re-stock e-mail is sent, and the item is placed on the re-order report.  You can also establish a ‘target level’ which specifies the desired stock level for the item.  There is no ability to set a point beyond which a similar warning is sent (i.e. an ‘overstock’ warning). - Feb 8, 2011

Q. Can re-order points be established?

A. Yes.  You can set ‘system wide’ and ‘location based’ re-order points. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. What type of history is kept for each item?

A. All transactions involving an item are kept in history for the life of the account.  We do not maintain a ‘change history’ for an item’s details.  Not exactly sure what you’re after here. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. How long is history kept?

A. Transaction history is kept from the first transaction for the life of the account.  We do not archive or delete transaction history.

Q. Can items be imported to this system from csv or similar file?

A. Yes. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. Can items be exported from this system to csv or similar file?

A. Yes. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. How long is typical setup time?

A. Every account is different.  If your data is in the format required for our uploads, and you know your business processes, the act of configuring the account and loading all the data only takes 15 to 20 minutes.  If you have more than 2,500 items it will take an addition 10 minutes per item table (i.e. you can only load 2,500 items at one time)  The most time consuming part of setup will be getting your data in shape, and determining your workflow, business process, user accounts (if necessary), and making sure the on-site elements are all in place. - Feb 8, 2011

Q. How much customization is available or necessary?

A. It depends on your needs.  Some accounts don’t do any customization.  The primary areas of customization are: the application appearance, company settings, custom item fields (i.e. data points that apply to items), custom transaction fields (i.e. data points that apply to transactions), and site terms. - Feb 8, 2011 

Q. How many data fields are there, and does every field have to be used?

A. You can have up to 20 custom item fields, and there is no limit on the number of custom transaction fields (although practically we seldom see more than 5 or so.  You do not have to use every field (not sure I understand that part of the question).  - Feb 8, 2011

Q. Can different users be setup with different types of access?

A. Yes. The user access and configuration is scheduled for a major update in a couple of weeks, but the gist is that you can set permissions at a very granular level.  (you can do this now, but we’re making it even more robust) - Feb 8, 2011

Q. Would the system clearly show/report current stock levels - how?

A. Yes.  If you go to the EXPLORE tab, and click on the "Current Inventory Detail" report, you will see a table of your entire
inventory.  This table is searchable/sortable/filterable and exportable to excel or other spreadsheet programs. - May 24, 2011

Q. Would the system show out of stock products - how?

A. Yes.  There are two different stock out settings, global, for when an item reaches its re-order threshold for all locations, and location based, for when an item drops below the re-order threshold for an individual location.  When stock-outs (or re-order levels) occur, you are sent an e-mail, and the items appear on various re-order reports. - May 24, 2011

Q. Can a reorder point be set (eg. when stock reaches 3 it will alert us to reorder)

A. Yes.  We refer to this as a re-order qty, you can also specify a 'target qty' which tells users how much to re-stock when the stock level triggers a re-order. - May 24, 2011

Q. Can fields be added to the database? (eg we would like to add a field to show where an item has been sold)

A. Yes.  You can create two main types of custom fields, transaction fields (which contain information that relates to the adding, removing, moving, or converting of stock) and item fields (which contain information that relates to an item regardless of transactions).  To create custom transaction fields, go to the ACCOUNT tab and click the "Customize" link, then click the "Transaction Fields" link.  You can create data fields for each type of transaction.  Don't forget to click the "include" box so that the fields will appear. - May 24, 2011

Q. I noticed that there is no more "batch number". What happens then when I upload an Item Code already present in Clearly Inventory ? Will it replace all the fields of the existing Item Code ? If so, wasn't the older system better ? 

 A. The batch code was meant to prevent people from uploading the same table twice. However, in practice, this didn't work well, because it became very annoying for people to have to change batch numbers for every record, for even the smallest problems.  For that same reason, it didn't work well as a preventative measure because people would still upload the same data because they got used to just changing the batch number so often.  Instead, we eliminated the batch requirement, but we assign a system batch number to transaction uploads which makes the task of undoing a duplicate upload easy on our end if necessary. This is a classic usability vs. security battle, and we came down on the usability side. April 3, 2012

Q. Can you remind me what is "Use Unique Tag" and how to use it?

 A. The "Use Unique Tag" column indicates whether or not an item uses this function, and it is populated with a "1" for yes, and a "0" for no.  This setting keeps the interface 'cleaner' in those cases where items don't use tags, or serial numbers.  The actual unique tags, or serial numbers for items are applied when the items are added to inventory, and the unique tag field is only available for items that have it turned "on" as described above. April 3, 2012

Q. What does it mean to "clear a record"?

A. Clearing a record has no impact on transactions.  Only "0" records can be cleared, and once they are, they will no longer appear in tables or as inventory records.  Many users like 0 quantity records to remain so they know where items are usually stocked, but some users don't like to see this, so we created the clear function.
We are going to allow the 'clear' function behavior to be set at the item level in a future build, but right now, you have to click it to remove it. - April 5, 2012

Q. What does it mean to clear a transaction ? Does it mean to cancel an ADD / REMOVE / MOVE / CONVERT transaction as if it had never existed ?

A. No.  You are not clearing a transaction, you are clearing (deleting) an inventory record with a quantity of "0 units" (you CANNOT do this action if there is a positive quantity of inventory in stock).
For example, lets say you have 10 ea. Widgets in stock.  You sell 10 ea. and remove them from inventory.  Now you have a quantity of  0 ea. This 0 quantity inventory record will remain, unless you decide to clear it.  Since there is 'nothing' in stock, this action isn't a transaction, it's just the removal of a record.  If you leave the record in place, then the next time you purchase Widgets, you can just click the "+" in the inventory record instead of having to create a new one.  If you 'clear' the inventory record, no such record will be there when you make future purchases, and you'll have to create a new record using the "+" button that's above the table. - April 5, 2012

Q. I can’t figure out how to inbound items when they have different piece counts. I tried adding them as new item location or uom. And I can’t seem to get it to show up correctly. Example, Item 4013 comes in with 10 boxes at 2700 ct and 1 box at 900 ct. When I enter the UOM conversion it tells me one already exists like it. Ie: 2700 pieces = 1 box, then I try to enter 900 pieces = 1 box to adjust the inventory. What am I missing?

A. The solution is to first change the default UOM for Item No. 4013 from "boxes" to "pieces".  Next, add new units of measure "Small Box" (to represent 900 ct) and "Large Box" (to represent 2,700 ct). Finally, go to the item detail page for Item 4013, and add new units of measure conversion rates:  "1 Small Box = 900 Pieces" and "1 Large Box = 2,700 Pieces". - April 19, 2012

Q. You posted this, the 1st column being the new system and the 2nd column the former one:

Restock Quantity Needed Restock Quantity The estimated quantitiy of an item to be restocked in order to bring it's on-hand stock level equal to the high stock threshold.
High Qty. Threshold Target Quantity A desired quantity of stock to have on-hand immediately, once an item has been restocked. Used to generate the restock quantity.

What is the difference between the 2 screens, with the 2nd being "location based"?  Also, can I set the minimum stock in Excel and import the data?
A. Nothing about the program itself has changed.  It's just the labels we're using.  One of the problems was that we use "Restock Quantity" in two different ways.  Sometimes it referred to the what is now know as the "Low Quantity Threshold" and sometime it referred to how much stock was needed to reach the "Target Level" (now called the "High Quantity Threshold".  You can still change the numbers via spreadsheet, and the numbers that you had previously, should still appear under the new labels in the items table, and elsewhere.

So, just to be clear:

The "Low Quantity Threshold" is the quantity, at or below which, you would like a restock notice to be triggered. (formerly called "Restock Quantity" or "Restock Level")
The "High Quantity Threshold" is the desired quantity you'd like to have on hand, AFTER the item has been restocked. (formerly called "Target Level")
The "Restock Quantity Needed" is the amount of stock required to bring the quantity to the "High Quantity Threshold" from the "Current Stock" level. (Formerly called, "Restock Quantity", "Quantity Needed", "Order Quantity", etc.)

The difference between the High and Low Quantity Thresholds at the top of the item detail page, and the "Location Based" is that the amounts specified in the 'header' of the item detail apply to the total amount of stock of the item regardless of where it's located.  By contrast, the "Location Based" levels are only triggered if a specific location's stock level drops below the Low Quantity Threshold. - May 25, 2012

Q. What forms of payment do you accept and how secure is my credit card data?

A. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit cards.  As a matter of course, we do not accept PayPal, Checks, or other forms of payment, however if you have special payment needs, please contact us and we will see if we can accommodate you.

Clearly Inventory never stores your complete credit card data, and our credit card processing methods are similar to the millions of websites that process payments via credit card.  We store the name, address, expiration date, and encrypted credit card number on our servers in the Clearly Inventory database.  We never store the card verification code (CVC). No other credit card information is stored on our servers.  When you submit your credit card data, you do so on an encrypted SSL connection and the data is submitted to one of the nations largest payment processors.  Only certain authorized employees of Clearly Inventory can access the payment processor's website.  In the event that our site, or payment processors have reason to believe that there has been a breech in security, you will be notified immediately. - September 26, 2012

Q. What is an Item Group and what is it used for? Same thing with Item Tags.

A. Item Groups are used in some views to segment items by the broadest of criteria.  For example, if you were tracking salable goods, cleaning supplies, and machinery & equipment, you might want to put these into separate groups.  That way, you can quickly segment some reports and views so you can focus on different types of inventory.  You can achieve just about the same thing with custom item fields, but some of the views don't include custom item field data.

Item Tags allow you to attache multiple values to an item within one field.  I discourage you from using this unless you really need it.  If the custom item fields are meeting your needs, I would just ignore the tags, because they are so similar to what's available with the custom item fields. - March 3, 2013

Q. We want to use the FIFO method and I am not sure if its available with Clearly Inventory.

A. Regarding FIFO - you're correct that we don't track it.  We do however record every transaction that is made.  So, you could export your transaction history, and 'back into' FIFO costs using Excel, if it's a quarterly or annual need.  However, if you need real time FIFO, our product is not going to meet your needs. - April 15, 2013

Q. Why doesn't my excel export have the same format as the view in Clearly Inventory?

A. When exporting Views, the system will export the original view state into an Excel format.  If you move columns, sort, or filter, these states are not preserved in the export (but they're pretty easy to do in Excel).  So, for customers who want to filter and sort data, and then export into Excel, we recommend that they first export the report 'as is' and then do these kinds of manipulations within Excel. - May 3, 2013

Q. When I download the sample file in Clearly Inventory and open a .csv file, the file opens into one column, ignoring the comma's.  Why does this happen and how do I fix it?

A. It may be a difference in your Windows regional settings. 

Windows Start Button|Control Panel|Regional Settings Applet
Click on the Formats Tab, Additional Settings Button, then Number Tab and check the List Separator. 

Your pc may be set for something other than comma (semicolon).  If you change this, you should be ok. In the USA, we recommend the comma. - May 16, 2013

Q. I would like to know the best procedure to do a full or cycle stock take. Also (and maybe related to this question), I would like to know what is "Hard Count Method" and to best use it.

A. As far as using Clearly Inventory for a cycle stock take, the determining factor is whether or not you need to record transaction data with any adjustments that occur. Depending on your answer, you'll use one of two methods.

Method 1 - No custom transaction data needed for counts.

The "Hard Count Method" provides a quick way to 'overwrite' the current stock amounts, and have a transaction performed (an increase, or decrease) to make the adjustment without having to fill out the standard 'increase' or 'decrease' form. Most often when stock counts are taken, there is no transaction information to record, because you generally don't know why there is a vairance. If you run into an exception, and you know why there's a variance, you can always perform an offsetting transaction. 

To use the hard count method, you select the location that you're counting and enter the correct count. Once you have all of your counts entered, you click the "Commit Counts to Inventory" and the adjustments are made. If the stock amount are equal, the system doesn't do anything. Also, if a field is left empty (i.e. no '0") nothing will happen.

When you run the hard count method, there is a button that says "Print Format", and if you click it, it will provide you with a printable 'count sheet' that does not contain the current stock levels, so the person performing the count doesn't 'cheat'. 

Method 2 - Record custom transaction data, and perform full transactions

In this case, the best practice will be to export your current inventory (usually the "Summary" format) to Excel, and create additional cells to enter the quantity counted (you can make your own print version, or enter the counts directly into excel). Once the data is in excel, you can calculate the difference, and then perform transaction against only the records that show discrepancies. If there are a lot of records, you can upload the 'increases' and 'decreases' seperately.

Operationally, if possible you want to perform the counts during 'off hours' when items are not being moved around. If your operation is so large that this is not possible, it's best to isolate areas until the counts are completed. - June 20, 2013

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