How to track product inventory with Shopify
Shopify comes with basic inventory tracking that allows you to adjust the inventory in your Shopify account manually. Because it’s already included in the Standard plan, many Shopify sellers make do by managing inventory this way. To set it up, you need to enable transfers:
- Go to your Shopify admin panel
- Select one of your Shopify product variants and click on Edit
- In this window, go to the Inventory section and find the Inventory Policy drop-down menu
- Select Shopify Tracks this Product’s Inventory
- Don’t forget to save your changes
After you set up a transfer for one of your products, you can Shopify to receive inventory for this particular Shopify SKU. You can click on Add Transfer to set the number of items expected to be supplied into your Shopify inventory.
If you need a way to track raw materials, inventory, product recipes, and production processes, this won’t work — and neither will large, clumsy Excel sheets. External Shopify inventory control systems have become a viable option to iron out the creases in the platform’s native system and give you the visibility you need over all aspects of your Shopify business — from sales and inventory to production.
But before diving into the different types of job shop manufacturing software that integrate with Shopify, let’s first explore the native Shopify online store inventory system in more depth.
Is Shopify’s built-in inventory solution enough for manufacturers?
Many manufacturers selling on Shopify ask if it has a ready-made Shopify inventory tracking system — and the answers yes and no.
Shopify’s basic track inventory function is okay if you’re reselling products, as it allows you to monitor stock coming from a supplier and what you’ve sold. But companies that make their products have a more complex workflow and find the Shopify inventory solution is missing critical features like:
- Raw material and work-in-progress (WIP) inventory tracking
- Bill of materials (BOMs) management
- Production planning
- Manufacturing floor-level control
- Manufacturing cost calculations
Do you use Excel to Shopify track inventory and production? We’ve got news! There’s a better way of managing inventory on Shopify. The best way to handle Shopify inventory tracking is to take advantage of Shopify inventory software like Katana.
When it’s time to level up to a third-party Shopify inventory management system
You may be able to manage your sales and track your inventory with Shopify, but Shopify’s online store inventory works best for drop shippers or merchants who act as a middleman. Even with a decent inventory system to track your finished goods, most inventory management systems do not come with features for monitoring your raw materials or WIP inventory.
Manufacturers can take their Shopify inventory management to the next level with third-party software that integrates with Shopify like Katana, which includes a range of manufacturing features that give control of all the moving parts of your business.
1. Master planning features
Eliminate manual tracking with software that supports master planning. Katana allocates products and raw materials to open orders based on availability and allows you visually track order progress in real time.
By easily tracking order statuses and implementing better procurement practices, you can your order fulfillment rates and keep your customers happy and your team aligned.
2. Sales order fulfillment synchronization
There’s no need to run back and forth between the different apps that you use with Katana. Synchronize your sales orders with third-party software to update the fulfilled and delivered sales on both Shopify and Katana.
This synchronization process also transfers to your inventory —once a finished good is removed from one inventory list, the other app will also reflect the reduction.
3. Optimized production process
The basic Shopify inventory system doesn’t give you any functions to manage your production processes. Using manufacturing ERP software like Katana lets you plan and schedule production while reprioritizing your important orders.
Best of all, if the system has master planning features, reprioritizing your workflows will result in automatic reallocation of your products and materials. Once integrated, Katana automatically receives all orders from Shopify and allows you to get better Shopify inventory tracking of your raw materials and production process.
This way, you never miss a deadline, and you’ll always have the right number of materials available in stock.
Know what is being produced next and plan ahead
A manufacturing plan is rarely set in stone. On a typical factory floor, changes happen hourly, affecting your daily and weekly production plan. A sales order might get canceled, a floor-level employee might call in sick, a supply order of materials required for production may be delayed, and so on.
That’s why it is important to work with flexible software that makes it easy for you to change priorities in sales and production on the fly. A good planning functionality means you can:
- Change the priorities of sales orders with a drag-and-drop and immediately see the availability of products in stock and products expected from production based on changed priorities
- Clearly see the link between a sales order, related manufacturing orders, and related purchase orders for materials
- Get an live overview of the status of each sale, manufacturing, and purchase order currently being processed
Track Shopify inventory and more with a free Katana trial
Here is a summary of what you get when using Katana’s Shopify inventory integration.
- Get out of spreadsheets — By upgrading to Katana’s Shopify inventory management system, you’ll be able to avoid delays caused by the inefficiencies of Excel spreadsheets.
- Seamless product tracking — when you get an order through Shopify, it immediately appears in the Katana system. Create a manufacturing order with Katana straight away.
- Keep track of raw materials — quickly allocate raw materials based on Shopify order priority. Make sure there is no confusion between products that require the same materials.
- Manufacturing floor-level control — get Shopify orders to your shop floor immediately. Fulfill orders with task lists for every production employee and production line.
- Integrating accounting software — alongside your Shopify store, you can also connect Katana to accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero to generate invoices.
- Set reorder points – by establishing a reorder point on your products or material. Katana will notify you when inventory is running low, helping you avoid stockouts.
- Manage bulk orders with ease — rather than getting multiple Shopify add-ons. You can use a system built to adapt to high-demand periods to avoid inventory issues.