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Author Topic: Lumber Inventory Software  (Read 1453 times)

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Offline PA_Walnut

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Lumber Inventory Software
« on: January 30, 2018, 04:27:07 PM »
Does anyone have an iOS, Android or cloud-based app that they use (and like) for keeping tallies and inventory?

I've looked at TallyWorks9 (which they falsely claim to be free on Google Play store) but it's really useless unless you pay them $2150. They will not even offer-up a functional demo to test it out.

Thanks.
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
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Offline clearcut

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2018, 08:10:34 PM »
I'm a fan of home made spreadsheets for forest inventory collection. Collect the data that you want and display information that is helpful to you.

For simple spreadsheets, I like Google Sheets. Has an offline mode if needed. Can be set up to sync with various devices. It fairly easy to set up pull down lists and use conditional formatting to highlight potential data conflicts and such.

The size and complexity of your operation dictates they types of software.

What do you want it to do? Tallies of what?

Offline tylerltr450

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2018, 08:45:45 PM »
I agree with above google doc seems to be the best solution I have found also.
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2018, 08:38:29 PM »
I am pretty proficient with spreadsheets, but I want something more robust and designed for the task. TallyWorks is a nice concept as you can then tie it to TallyWeb, etc. for online inventory/sales purposes, but as I mentioned, EXPENSIVE and the demo is worthless.

I want to keep better track of two items: Logs in the yard and lumber packs (both on sticks and kiln dried). I've noticed that some solutions have handheld units that would also be helpful. Although I don't want to just create busywork, I'd like to know at a glimpse what I have on hand, what's on sticks awaiting kiln (dates and amounts) and what is ready for sale or further processing.

Ideally should be helpful for planning, inventory control, insurance, projections and sales-related calls and shipping. (ie. someone calls and says, "I'm looking for 15,000 bf of walnut 4/4 and 8/4)." I can tell them in an instant what I have and/or can produce timely.

thx
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe
WoodMizer KD250 Kiln

Offline tylerltr450

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2018, 08:52:40 PM »
I am pretty proficient with spreadsheets, but I want something more robust and designed for the task. TallyWorks is a nice concept as you can then tie it to TallyWeb, etc. for online inventory/sales purposes, but as I mentioned, EXPENSIVE and the demo is worthless.

I want to keep better track of two items: Logs in the yard and lumber packs (both on sticks and kiln dried). I've noticed that some solutions have handheld units that would also be helpful. Although I don't want to just create busywork, I'd like to know at a glimpse what I have on hand, what's on sticks awaiting kiln (dates and amounts) and what is ready for sale or further processing.

Ideally should be helpful for planning, inventory control, insurance, projections and sales-related calls and shipping. (ie. someone calls and says, "I'm looking for 15,000 bf of walnut 4/4 and 8/4)." I can tell them in an instant what I have and/or can produce timely.

thx

PA_Walnut,

What is your idea of keeping track of the stacks, and time in the drier and also the sales related calls.

It sounds like your asking for a lot out of an app and if there is an app that can already do that for a little over 2k seems worth it to me.
It sounds like your looking for PP (Production Planning), a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), IM/WM (Inventory / Warehouse Management); and SD (Sales and Distribution) system
Timber Harvester 36HTD25 fully loaded

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 05:25:03 AM »
I believe you are making it more complicated than I'm asking.

I want a software that can calculate tally from inputs regarding a bundle (including attaching a few pics), allow species selections, the date is was placed on sticks or kiln, and BF totals of logs in the yard. Then allow me to recall cumulative data on a specific queries such as total inventory on hand, log yard potential, etc.

This does not entail PP, CRM, WM, and SD. More of an industry specific database with some glorified calcs and inputs.

Also, I'm not necessarily objecting to $2k for an app. What I'm objecting to is an app that is masked as being "FREE" yet so severely crippled that you can't actually use it. Even when wrestling a demo software key from them (no, their "automatic" signup from the app doesn't work. You must call and get deemed worthy) and it won't allow you to use any functionality, really. Screen captures of the GUI would be as helpful.
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe
WoodMizer KD250 Kiln

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 06:42:11 AM »
We never kept too close of track for our logs or our lumber.  We weren't in the high end niche markets.  Veneer was sold off and we sawed the rest.  But, we knew fairly well what we had in inventory for our purposes. 

Mills that want to keep high levels of inventory information often use some sort of bar coding or serial number system.   It may be useful if you have specialty logs.  A large operation would need to keep tabs on log inventory to keep procurement up with sales. 

Bar codes could also be used on lifts of lumber on sticks and in kilns.  I guess you could even go down to the board if you wanted to. 

I'm pretty old fashion as I remember how things were handled before we had all the technology to distract us.  The computer and spread sheets have allowed us to get past cranking out information on paper.  The price of an app has to be worth more than the information you get from it.  How much value would a precise log inventory, stack inventory, and board inventory have over your current system of knowing what you have?   You also have to factor in the amount of time needed for data input for higher levels of information.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline tylerltr450

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 07:04:41 AM »
We never kept too close of track for our logs or our lumber.  We weren't in the high end niche markets.  Veneer was sold off and we sawed the rest.  But, we knew fairly well what we had in inventory for our purposes. 

Mills that want to keep high levels of inventory information often use some sort of bar coding or serial number system.   It may be useful if you have specialty logs.  A large operation would need to keep tabs on log inventory to keep procurement up with sales. 

Bar codes could also be used on lifts of lumber on sticks and in kilns.  I guess you could even go down to the board if you wanted to. 

I'm pretty old fashion as I remember how things were handled before we had all the technology to distract us.  The computer and spread sheets have allowed us to get past cranking out information on paper.  The price of an app has to be worth more than the information you get from it.  How much value would a precise log inventory, stack inventory, and board inventory have over your current system of knowing what you have?   You also have to factor in the amount of time needed for data input for higher levels of information.

I agree with what was stated above, a barcoding system is probably the only way to help you. You can get by with spreadsheets an a paper system with putting a letter number code on stacks.
A true barcoding / rfid system is a sweet option but the cost could be very high. From my experience with RFID and WM, SD, CRM, PP and IM, you could get by with a logical lettering / number system and you would staple that on the side of a stack. The code would be tracked on a spreadsheet like date cut date in drier and so on.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 02:52:56 PM »
I've considered several things, but I haven't seen anything yet that works for our system.  Too much trouble, too cumbersome. Yet every big mill I go to has barcoded stacks of wood and they can track them to the exact bdft.  This place as acres and acres of wood stacked like this.  You can see the barcode on every stack, listing the grade, location, species, length, thickness, etc.  Very impressive system.  I have no idea what it is.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2018, 03:20:14 PM »
One of our computer clients runs a locally developed timber tracking package. I'm not up with all the functions of it, but it tracks everything as it goes through their operation, from packets of rough sawn coming in, to customer orders going out.  They have computer terminals with barcode scanners around the  machine shops, so they can enter the various processing stages, and industrial label printers for when new tags need to be created during the processing.

My job is more about keeping the PCs / network side of things running, If they can log in again, my work here is done, type of thing.

But as an operating grows, the work needed to track the various packets through multiple stages and buildings becomes huge. This site is running about 15 PCs around the office and plant to control the operations, plus the dedicated gear that is running machinery and the treatment plant.

This is the software, but probably not much use outside the NZ market, but this is their web page
https://www.timbersmart.co.nz/project
Our client that runs it.
http://www.clelandstimber.co.nz/processing
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2018, 05:32:22 AM »
We keep a paper tally as we put a pack up, each pack gets a date and pack number for that date eg today we did 020218/01, 02, 03 etc. Paper tally records get entered into the inventory system sometimes via an excel spreadsheet but mostly they just stay on a clipboard sorted by date. It works, and the big thing is that the data entry step is only "sometimes"ie as required.

I did try and run a tablet based tally system but found it was too difficult to operate in conjunction with the business of stacking lumber. Sweat, sawdust, sap... not the right environment for a touchpad.

Many years ago one of my mentors who was a (by any standards large) rancher were discussing how many cattle he had. He told me there was three numbers... one for the books/taxation purposes, one for the bankers/ collateral purposes, and a third which was how many he had give or take a thousand.

The point being that it may pay you to consider the ramifications of having a very accurate picture of what you have in stock, Stock has a value and that value can effect your taxation status and you really should take professional advice as to exactly what occurs there. I dont know the US tax code but there aint much worse then paying tax on something you are yet to sell, but it could potentially happen (lets say you hold 10MBF of walnut and the price of walnut jumps from $8 BF to $12 BF ... thats a gain of $40,000 and the taxman always wants to know when your investment increased value whetehr its a stack of lumber or shares in microsoft).
Auditors love computer systems because they can tell you everything thats ever been entered into them and what you tried to hide or deleted. Bit harder to do when its a pile of loose sheets of paper that may have been lost, packs missed, got a grubby greasy handprint on some etc etc etc)

All this changes at the real big business stage but for most of us,,, as I say seek some professional advice around how your stock on hand should be regarded. Me, I aint got none unless the place burns down and then I bet they'll breed on that clipboard. Must have been a busy year lol :D
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2018, 05:36:04 AM »
Brilliant observation, for sure! The last thing I want to invite, is The Man putting his thumb on me any more!  >:( :-X
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe
WoodMizer KD250 Kiln

Offline coltittu

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2018, 11:43:02 AM »
Hi everyone - new member here and I have the same question as some of you. I run our mill from over 100 miles away so the inventory management is a pretty big deal. We also have quickbooks so I was looking for a solution that would integrate with that. I found one.... maybe, i'm still researching, but on intuit.com they have recommended apps and I came across Boxstorm? it's cloud based and, like i said, integrates with quickbooks so you can easily see your inventory from anywhere and create POs and invoices. the cost is pretty cheap.... which could be amazing, but could also be very telling and there are apps for all the different platforms (iOS and android). I'm doing some experimenting, I will let you all know how it turns out, but if you have given it a shot, please let me know what you have found out. 

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2018, 11:30:47 PM »
Since my earlier reply, I have gone with Filemaker 17 Pro.  It works great, keeps track of my inventory, has barcode capability, POS programmable and works real time with up to 5 clients at once, via cell or Wifi.  I have complete access on my cell phone, so when a pack gets sawn and stickered, I enter it into the database and I can now track it, and know what I have, or more importantly, what I'm about to run low on.  It requires a little database programming, but it works very well.

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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2018, 04:48:31 AM »
Hammer, good to hear you have FM up and running. Did you program it all, or start with a template?

I have actually been using PACK TALLY, which is an iOS app with monthly fee. For what I am doing, it works very well and is inexpensive. Its NOT a POS solution, but great and inventory management, reporting, etc.

The down side is that it has not been updated in 4 years and will probably age-out. I have contacted them with no response, so may not even be operational at this time.

Obviously, FM is completely customizable and isn't going anywhere any time soon.
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe
WoodMizer KD250 Kiln

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2018, 07:59:13 AM »
I'm programming it from a blank slate.  It seems the only way I can get what I want in a full up inventory, purchasing, and POS system.  I'm working and improving on the modules as I need them improved or smoothed out.  

Its a work in progress, however we've got most of the new packs as we create then, entered, and are working through our established inventory try to get them entered.  We're up to just under a hundred lumber packs now in the system, still adding them, and its useful for making sure we don't run under critical timelines to replace stock.  For example, what precipitated me to get on the ball was a little while ago we were down to only one week supply of common red oak, with no restock.  Arguably one of the most common and easiest species to keep in stock.  No excuse for running out, other than we had been selling a lot of it and a few packs I thought were common were actually higher grade, and I just wasn't paying enough attention.  So I had to call a buddy of mine and get emergency restock packs at twice what I could have made it from scratch.

I'm also working on the POS end, trying to come up with a quicker process than what we have while selling individual boards, maybe dozens to hundreds of handpicked boards at a time, while giving the customer an itemized check out sheet and us a digital copy instead of paper and carbons.

Just one more thing to spend time on....
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Lumber Inventory Software
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2018, 06:45:54 AM »
Sounds like a perfect solution to grow into...well, maybe a burden to get the software caught up to your need since starting at zero. Of course, the positive is that it can be exactly what you want it to be, assuming you have the time to invest.

As a LONG time user of FileMaker, I have never found a database task that I could not get done with it, but for me the reporting is key. As it is with most everyone, with any app or need of this nature. The little app I am using has wonderful reporting tools, but definitely a ZERO in POS capabilities.

With FileMaker, will be great to have sales decrease the stock records and flag a particular item getting low or critical. IF/THEN routines are the building blocks of all good reporting! When tied to POS and database, real-time tracking is also cool. Now you just need to tie it to your retail pricing schedule. You could have wifi price-tags at the shelves and as the stock becomes low (or during high-traffic moments) increase the price in a supply:demand ratio. :D  ;D

I have seen retailers in big cities doing this...open on a holiday=Press the button and BAM! 20% increase on all items. It would be fun to dynamically increase all items as closing-time approaches: 3PM = +10%, 4:00=+20%, 4:30=+50%.

You would alleviate those 4:55 buyers needing 500BF surfaced! 4:30 ghost town and you and Martha can count the beans over a beer!   :D :D ;D 8)



I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe
WoodMizer KD250 Kiln


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