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Demo: Bulk Inventory Updates via Spreadsheet

  • Name
    Brennan Zelener

In our latest Feature Friday demo series I discuss how you can bulk update your inventory via spreadsheet. WholeCell makes it easy to update an attribute like grade or conditions without having to hunt for a new SKU. Watch the recording to learn more.


Hey, everyone. Nice to see you. I'm going to give it until the hour to start things off, but thanks for joining the webinar.

Wes, how's it going? Good deal. All right, and we're at the hour.

Hey, everyone. Thanks for joining the demo today. This is one of our kind of weekly show-and-tell feature series that I've been starting off. And I love sharing about WholeCell. So my name is Brennan, I'm one of the co-founders of WholeCell and I'm excited to share this feature with you today, talking about bulk editing inventory, and we'll start it off.

So I like to start these off with just for anyone that's on the demo and doesn't know much about WholeCell, what WholeCell is. And WholeCell is a serialized inventory management system that was built specifically for folks who sell devices and use devices at that. So my partner, Harry, and I built this piece of software and we've had experience in the industry, both of us for about a decade now. Seeing what pieces of software are great in terms of inventory and seeing where they don't do as well also, and we built WholeCell to kind of fill in the gaps for what other inventory software couldn't do.

And one of those areas is e-commerce multi-channel sync, so one of the things WholeCell does is keep your inventory organized across your ecommerce channels in a serialized manner. So I think other inventory apps do a great job of that when you're selling SKU-based inventory that's all, maybe it's all brand new, something like that. WholeCell is great at doing this with used inventory, and there's more depth there, but I think I'll leave it at that.

The coolest part of this is IMEI scanning and fulfillment. And so when in most apps you have maybe the ability to keep track of the serialized serial number or IMEI, but it's not truly serialized in that you don't have the history behind every single device that is in your inventory, what you've done to it if you've made any changes along the way. And so in WholeCell you can really scan the serial number or the IMEI of your inventory. And when you're fulfilling orders, whether they're WholeCell orders or e-commerce orders, you have the ability to scan the IMEI of every device that you're sending out on an order so that you have that transparency through your whole system, and we think that's pretty powerful and really helpful when you're dealing with returns. So WholeCell does that for you as well.

And I think at its core WholeCell is if you're on spreadsheets or you're using some other pretty basic tool to track your inventory, what WholeCell does a great job of is keeping your entire team if you've got employees all on the same page. It's a web-based piece of software, and so all you do is sign into WholeCell's website and manage your inventory from there. And so all of your team can collaborate on your inventory almost like Google Docs simultaneously and know where things are at without having to step on each other's toes. So that's what WholeCell is good at.

Today I'm talking about bulk editing inventory and I think the prefix to that is why is editing inventory unique at its core. And in WholeCell, I'm excited to tell you why this is special, so in most other inventory apps editing inventory is basically a SKU change. You have all of your SKUs that represent your products, and whenever you're changing something about one of those products you're actually making a SKU change, so you're changing the SKU of that inventory item. But when you're dealing with used items you end up needing thousands and thousands of SKUs to represent those items appropriately because you have a product which could be like you see on my screen here, this iPhone 11 Pro, 64 gig, AT&T, and that if it's brand new just has one SKU potentially or it has a SKU for the color. But basically you have one or a couple SKUs that map to that specific product.

But when you get into used device territory, that product could be in various conditions, it could have various grades. And every time you edit one of those things you're talking about a different SKU. So when you use a traditional SKU system to represent used inventory, it gets out of hand very quickly and you have thousands of SKUs. WholeCell solves this problem by basically using these three different attributes to describe products, we call them product variations. And what a product variation is, is it's a combination of a product, a variation of conditions and a grade. And so you could have your iPhone 11 Pro, 64 gig, AT&T, space gray. It could have cracked glass and broken LCD and it could be B grade. That is a product variation. And you map those product variations to SKUs in WholeCell so that you can maintain a connection between the various marketplaces that you sell on.

But what this means in terms of saving you time in your inventory workflows is that you can go into WholeCell and change just the grade or just add or remove a condition on a particular item, and you're not doing a SKU change. WholeCell does the SKU change in the background for you and does it automatically. So you can have your technicians making updates that are more specific to what they're trying to update about the device, they're just trying to say the device is actually C grade, not B grade, but they don't need to go search through thousands of SKUs to make that change. They just come in and edit the grade and WholeCell manages the SKU change for you. So that's why editing inventory is unique in WholeCell.

And how do we edit inventory in WholeCell? Well, we have this concept of process batches, and a process batch is basically a record of a bulk edit that you're doing across a bunch of different inventory. So it records and kind of keeps a history log of who edited the inventory, when was it, what date was it, which inventory were they editing and what edits were they making. You can use our process batches feature in either the table view that you kind of see in my screenshot here or you can upload a spreadsheet to make the updates and changes you're trying to make.

And today I'm specifically talking about the spreadsheet upload component of process batches. And I'm talking about that because what you can do here is upload spreadsheets that you get from other applications, and one of the most common things that we see is our customers use some diagnostic application like phone check or black belt or asset science or Neva systems to test their phones. So they're testing their phones by plugging them in and doing diagnostic testing on those devices.

And they can now export a spreadsheet when if maybe you've ... say you've got a batch of phones from your supplier, you created the batch in WholeCell and you uploaded the inventory via spreadsheet. So you've got the inventory in WholeCell already but it's ungraded and it's untested. Now when you receive the devices, you actually go through and test them, and then this is a way using a process batch and a spreadsheet upload to actually get the tested results into WholeCell to update all that inventory. And then in WholeCell you can kind of see what were you expecting from the supplier and what did you actually receive.

So process batches in short are a way to update inventory in bulk, and you can do it either in the user interface online or you can do it via spreadsheet upload.

And if anybody's got any questions, feel free to use the chat as I'm going through. As long as they're quick and simple I'll answer them now, otherwise, I'll answer them at the end.

So the bulk edit via spreadsheet on a process batches is a really simple and straightforward idea. I wanted to just show you guys kind of a screenshot of how simple one of these spreadsheets can be when you're processing an update like this. So you download the template from our process batch spreadsheet upload page or you can simply use a phone check or other app export. Some of those spreadsheets are really, really wide and they've got all the data that you could ever want, but you can just map that to what you care about in WholeCell and upload those.

The other thing that you can kind of do is if your technicians, maybe they're not sitting in front of an internet connected computer or they just want to go quickly, they don't want to open a web browser, they just want to be in a spreadsheet. And what you can do is basically have them scanning the IMEI barcode labels of devices and then filling in what they want to update about those devices. So if they're triaging inventory, if you've got a huge wholesale operation, they're going through one big box of inventory and triaging stuff into A, B and C grade, smaller boxes, you can do that into a spreadsheet and then use the spreadsheet to upload into WholeCell to change the grades or to represent whatever kind of changes you want to do. So those are the few ways that you can create these spreadsheets.

Then when it comes to uploading them to a process batch, it's really simple - we've got this page that I just want to make sure more and more people that are using WholeCell know that this exists as an option, you have this option to upload the spreadsheet that you've either created, downloaded from phone check, created manually, scanned into and triaging. And you get this functionality of being able to choose do you want to identify the device by the ESN, do you want to identify it by the ID, maybe you don't have the ESNs of the devices in WholeCell yet and so you just have a unique WholeCell ID for each one of them, you get to choose that. And then you get to choose specifically what columns you're updating, so are you updating the grade, the status, the conditions, are you changing the model or the network, are you unlocking phones. So you can just choose to do one or many of these different columns if you wish. That's kind of the power of it.

So I'm going to do a very quick demo of how this works. And I've got a spreadsheet to show you guys. But actually maybe I should ask are there any questions from anybody before I jump into a very brief demo. Nothing yet. All right, guys, so I'll give it a ring.

So as you can see here I'm at my kind of process batches dashboard in WholeCell. And I'm just going to create a new one. I'm going to show you how simple it is to generate a new process batch. So we'll make the description we're going to do a grading demo, and we'll set the status, you can use statuses in process batches to kind of track. Whatever your pipeline is you can create new statuses for these and map them to whatever your pipeline that your team uses for processing inventory or going through and making process batch updates. So we're going to set this one just to processing for now. And save it. And we've got ourselves a blank process batch.

We could go in through the UI and add inventory as I mentioned using this plus button, but instead we're going to go straight to the upload spreadsheet. And you guys saw kind of this page in our slide deck, but I've got a CSV here as a demo, and it's the one that was in the slide deck as well. And I just want to kind of show how simple this sheet is. We're only worrying right now about one particular attribute, and that's grade. So we're updating the grade of these devices and we're updating, our technicians say, "Went through and scanned the WholeCell ID," maybe these devices had WholeCell ID tags on them. So they scanned these in and they said, "Yep, this one's B grade, B grade, B grade. There are actually a couple C grades in here, a couple A grades and another C grade."

So we want to, whatever these grades are of these devices right now in WholeCell, this is the current version and we want to update them to this. Maybe when we added them to WholeCell to our purchase order we set them to unknown or we maybe just set them to ungraded or something like that if we have a pending grade status. So our goal is to ultimately have WholeCell reflect this newest version of these devices. So all we're going to do is drag our CSV over here. And since you can recognize we don't have the ESN here, these devices maybe we haven't added ESNs to them yet. But they do have WholeCell IDs and they get that automatically whenever inventory is added to WholeCell. So we're going to choose to identify them by the ID column.

And the only thing we care about updating here is the grade. And I guess I should speak a little bit to how much power there is in the various things that you can update here. Say you're making an update where you've repaired a bunch of devices and you want to handle the financials behind those repairs at the same time as you're updating, maybe you're removing cracked glass from a bunch of devices, that damage condition, so you could have removed crack glass from the damages and checked this. And you could also add a line item to each of these devices of the cost of the screen and maybe the cost of the labor for that repair. So you can do all of that in one fell swoop by uploading this sheet.

But let's go through and upload the sheet. It's going to take us through a progress bar. And we may have some validating to do, but I bet you that it's going to recognize the grades that I have here. Those are probably already in WholeCell. And it did. So all those updates are complete. Let's go back to the process batch and see what we have.

So cool, so we've gotten back to our original process batch. This has kind of done a couple things in one - it's added all these devices to the process batch and it's updated the grade. And we have here this note in the history that I updated these devices via spreadsheet upload. And we have that kind of a stored version history, so if anybody is confused about it in the future they can come back and see what it looks like here.

So guys, that's the core of updating via a spreadsheet upload on a process batch. If you've got any questions, please toss them into the chat. I'm happy to answer them. But I think hopefully this is just kind of outlining how simple it is to make these updates when your team is going and running off of spreadsheets or if you're using some other app that we don't already have some kind of integration with, you can use this tool to bring in the changes and the updates from that app and bring it in to update the inventory in WholeCell.

So Benji asked, "How often do people use a spreadsheet versus the WholeCell user interface versus a third-party app?" That's a great question, Benji. I don't think that we're doing too much like tracking on which one people are using the most, but in process batches I know for sure that when folks are uploading inventory into WholeCell at its inception when they're creating a purchase order and adding inventory what we see is a lot more people use spreadsheets to upload inventory originally than they do creating them one by one or using a third-party app.

So we still want to support all the third-party apps and build the integrations that make it super easy for people to add either inventory or changes to inventory, and also but we see a lot of people using spreadsheets and I think it's just because of how flexible they are. And I think device sellers are very familiar with using spreadsheets. Any broker or wholesaler in the world I think is very familiar with that, the user interface of a spreadsheet, so that's why we do it is because it makes it familiar to everyone. Great question.

Thanks, Benji. If nobody has any other questions, we've got the trial link up here, so WholeCell has free 15-day trials and we are pretty liberal with that day count. We basically ... we like to get as many ... make as many new friends as possible and get as many customers as we can, so if you start a trial and you end up needing more time just send a message to us. We don't bite and we'd be happy to get you some extra time to really see if it works for your business and how you want to use it.

And beyond that, we're always happy to answer support questions. I'm doing them every week on these demos. And thanks, Mike, for sharing the trial link there. You can start a trial at that URL. Or email us if you have any specific questions about your use case and we can go from there.

Thanks, everybody. Thanks for the time on the demo and we'll talk to you in the next one.

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