Jewelry Management Software
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Joined: February 14, 2013
Posts: 67
Submissions: 36
Location: Madison, WI, US, Earth, Sol System, Milky Way

Jewelry Management Software
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Posted on Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:06 pm
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Well, my jewelry business has reached a point where my rudimentary system of "office management" has become more a hindrance than any kind of help. It's time to bite the bullet, and graduate from my system of little pieces of notepad paper with all my inventory-materials and finished pieces, pricing, consignment items, orders, customer info, etc, etc... to some kind of computerized system.

It seems that most times, being a mailler for some reason goes hand in hand with having lots of computer skills, however, I am lacking. Technology seems to thwart me at every turn, and I hate dealing with it, so much so that I am now at a point, seriously, where I have compiled HUNDREDS of pages of poorly organized information hand written on notepad paper, rather than deal with building spreadsheets, databases, etc. I have absolutely no inclination to create my own system from scratch-I could force myself to learn to do it, but it would take me forever and a day to do so, and there would be absolutely no joy in it. I want to create, and everything that takes away from my time doing so is a drain.

So, I am looking to find all the opinions I can concerning any jewelry management software anyone may be using, ala Jewelry Designer Manager (Pro or Deluxe), or Bead Manager Pro, or any other similar programs that may be out there.

Looking for something to be the complete (or nearly) package for me, and these sound great, but I'd love to hear from some folks who may have used them. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any free (or reasonably priced) trials, that I'm aware of, before laying down the big coin.

Thanks in advance all your help!



Joined: January 17, 2013
Posts: 373
Submissions: 5
Location: Probably in the garage...

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Posted on Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:49 pm
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Not a perfect solution but it works better than expected, Microsoft Outlook.

Contacts got that covered, Notes for keeping notes, Calendar for scheduling/historic work, Tasks for projects/tasks and your email all stored in one PST file for easy backups (people, do a backup!). I've been in IT for 20+ years now, any sort of specialized software is going to be pricey due to the limited market base. I use Outlook with Exchange/O356 to keep track of everything, I can always get to it either from Outlook on one of my computers, on my phone or via web browser and it's all the same everywhere (thanks to Exchange). My OneDrive gives me all of my pictures, documents, SS, etc...

Essentially any email client has enough features to act as a simple CMS/Scheduling software. They won't cover all your needs but they will come close and you probably already have one.

Other than the accounting and inventory just about everything I need to run my albeit small IT business is handled by Outlook connected to Exchange. A very simple spreadsheet nips the inventory issue. For the accounting, I can't speak to what your local regulations would dictate and I'm not an accountant so... I don't know.

I pay for O356 but most of the free cloud connected email services out there like Gmail or Hotmail come pretty close. Just remember, you get what you pay for, there is no one to call, nothing is free just most of the time you don't realize how your paying for it and read the freaking EULA before clicking "I have read and agree to the above". Ignorance is bliss... people that complain about free services are only wasting their breath and hurting my ears, sorry it's been a long week.

Hope this helps.


Mostly Harmless

Joined: February 8, 2013
Posts: 737
Submissions: 61
Location: Australia

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Posted on Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:33 am
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Levi wrote:
I've been in IT for 20+ years now, any sort of specialized software is going to be pricey due to the limited market base.

Totally agreed. I, too, have been in IT for more than 20 years (closing on 25 years, I just realized). For some things specialized software is best, but it will always cost a lot. For other things, a general solution may be perfectly fine. The other thing to consider is that off-the-shelf "specialized" solutions aren't actually that likely to solve your specific needs. They will have things in them you don't need, and that may end up making the software more complex and harder to learn than a more generalized solution might be. (Ever taken a look at Accounting software? That stuff makes my head ache.)

I know, that sounds terribly discouraging, but I wouldn't want you to waste your money on something that doesn't serve you.
I also sympathize with the dauntingness of trying to put something together yourself. Why should you expect yourself to have to do something related to a completely different profession?

But let me tell you a secret: most software systems are based on pre-existing physical systems, if you look back far enough. And guess what: you have a pre-existing physical system. One that did, at one time, work for you. You have a core, there; a core that will give you a clue as to what you, yourself, need. So take out a notepad, and make a list. Write up what your system IS, what its parts are, what they do for you to help you with your business. From what you're saying, the reason you feel you need a computer system is so that you don't lose track of things, so that you can keep everything in one spot, so that things are easier to find. Thing is, once you know what your needs are, it may be that a solution that works for you doesn't need to be complex at all.

I was talking to my brother the other day, about his need to maintain a contact list - not an address list, but something a bit broader, where he could group people by things other than just names, and where he could keep track of what he'd been talking to those people about. What we figured out between us was that there was a piece of software that he already had, that he already knew how to use, which he could adapt for this purpose, rather than having to get something new. The fact that it happened to be specialist software that he was using for his profession -- a dictionary-building program used for linguists -- was less important than the fact that he already knew how to use it, and that it was generalist enough that he could use it for storing contacts rather than dictionary-items.
Likewise, it may be the case that there is software which you already know how to use, which could be turned to another purpose. Or there may not. If there is not, there's going to be a learning curve, no matter what the software is, no matter how "out of the box" it purports to be.

Whenever I've assessed software tools (yep, programmers actually use software tools, who woulda believed it?) I've always had a list of requirements - sometimes divided into "must-haves" and "would-be-nice-to-have" - and rated each piece of software as to how well it fit the requirements. Inevitably, I have never found anything that was "perfect". But I've often found more than one which was "good enough".

What I strongly suggest is that you go off and make that list of what you're using all those bits of paper for, and come back to us, and we may be able to be more specific about what might suit you.


Craft isn't cheaper than therapy, but it's more fun.
http://www.essence-of-eclectic.com

Joined: February 14, 2013
Posts: 67
Submissions: 36
Location: Madison, WI, US, Earth, Sol System, Milky Way

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Posted on Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:42 am
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Well, for starters...there is the info compiled about each ring I have in stock, for 6 gauges and 10 or so IDs in stainless, brass, bronze, copper, and to a lesser degree in aluminum (bright and anodized), rubber, black stainless, Sterling and fine silver, gold-fill in 3 tones, not to mention square wire in several different metals, gauges, and IDs. Honestly have no idea how many different rings I have, but there are hundreds, I suppose. Each ring I keep in a ziploc with a slip of paper with all the info about that ring on it--material, wire gauge and wire diameter in inches, fractional ID, actual ID in inches, AR, rings/oz, $/ring, the supplier, order # and date, and the suppliers SKU#. I have come to find, with my current system of scraps of paper, that keeping all that info in one place works best. Not to mention my inventory of findings, gemstones, gem settings, wire, beads, blah blah blah.

So I won't go into that much detail about all the other things I keep slips about, but it should give some sort of idea, I'm sure, as to the level of OCD we're dealing with. Smile

I use these slips to create more slips of paper about each piece of jewelry, etc, that I make. So there are several hundred more slips of paper for pricing, and data that might be relevant like length, weight, carat weight, etc.

Then, when those pieces sell, I have added customer info, when I have it, on another slip. I have sheets of paper with this info listed, also sheets of paper with inventories that I have out at different shops on consignment.

Also photos of virtually every piece made, both for sale purposes, and sometimes just as a record to be able to recreate. All digital, and unfortunately not as well organized as they might be, though I'd really like to be able to attach the corresponding pics to the pricing/data sheets, like having a recipe card for everything I've made.

I have wish lists for ordering, lists for what I'm out of, a sort of inspiration log, and I'm sure there are more.

I know that spreadsheets can take care of much of this, but I don't want to build them... I wear many, many different hats and am pretty well the epitome of the jack of all trades, and I'm self taught in pretty much all of these various skills(to the extent that any one is actually "self taught"). I am not averse at all to learning new things--but I have learned that I don't need to do everything-sometimes the cost of a thing is WELL worth the time saved learning it, and computers are my Achilles' heel, my Kryptonite, whatever. The frustration I get from dealing with computers is overwhelming.

I want something to inventory my materials, my creations, and my customers. I want it to compile prices based on my formulas, I want it to create future reorder lists as I go. I want to store customer, vendor, and sales venue info.

Here is what Jewelry Designer Manager says it can do:

"Accurately cost and price your jewelry line, organize components, inventory pieces, keep an accurate database of vendors, print detail reports and track and manage your customer list with Jewelry Designer MANAGER™ DELUXE™. Easy to install, no programming is required.
Offers features for:
• categorizing components.
• determining costs at different mark-ups and pricing structures.
• downloading digital photos to aid in inventory and catalog printing.
• automatically tracking and removing parts from your inventory records.
• creating invoices for jewelry sales, including tax, S&H and PO numbers.
• creating and printing bills of material (BOM) to show parts needed, stock on hand and vendor information.
• creating/printing customized reports.
• tracking consignment customers and pieces out on consignment.
• automatically creating invoices.
• creating jewelry and shipping labels on a thermal printer (not included).
• creating several reports, including summaries, memos and consignment details, all with your company logo and pictures of jewelry items.
• linking to QuickBooks® Pro 2004 and up--send invoices, customer
information and sales data directly to QuickBooks.
Note: If you are currently running the PRO version, upgrade to DELUXE 4.11 with the upgrade CD.
System requirements:
• Microsoft® Windows® XP, Vista®, Windows 7? and Windows 8
• Mac OSX: run Windows using Boot Camp, Parallels or VMware Fusion

To me, sounds like a dream come true. And I guess I don't mind spending the money if it does all it advertises it will. But I'd love to hear from as many people who have used it before buying in, and finding out it falls short.



Joined: January 17, 2013
Posts: 373
Submissions: 5
Location: Probably in the garage...

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Posted on Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:23 pm
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Given what you want to do, JDM seems like a good fit and at $295 dollars it's pretty reasonable. JDM looks like a simple rewrite of the Northwind database with a few more text fields but they took the time to customize it enough for your purposes so it's probably worth it.

I would probably just write one myself using SQL and a web interface vs Access and it's run-times but that's me, I hate the look of VB code (the visual aspects) and Access alone is pretty limiting compared to what most other databases offer.

JDM is using a single .MDB file to store all of your data. Make sure you back it up (when the program is closed), .mdb files are pretty stable but they can corrupt, restoring from backup is much simpler than recovering a database from corruption or dealing with a failed media situation.

.MBD files have some limitations like 2GB file size limit and an object limit on the amount of individual objects (items) that can exist is the database. For a single user it probably won't be an issue for a few years but chances are it will become an issue at some point, maybe by then (with greater migration to 64bit apps) those limitations will be increased. I would suggest making your images as small as possible to save space in the DB, the text/numbers are not an issue but large images can quickly add up.


Mostly Harmless

Joined: February 8, 2013
Posts: 737
Submissions: 61
Location: Australia

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Posted on Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:10 am
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Levi wrote:
Given what you want to do, JDM seems like a good fit and at $295 dollars it's pretty reasonable. JDM looks like a simple rewrite of the Northwind database with a few more text fields but they took the time to customize it enough for your purposes so it's probably worth it.

Yes, it does sound like it does a lot of what is needed. But madd_vyking is wise in wanting opinions of those who have actually used it. Other users are the ones most likely to be able to tell one about the inevitable little annoyances that a particular piece of software has. Finding those users is the difficulty. I wonder if there's a forum out there on the internets dedicated to JDM?

Levi wrote:
I would probably just write one myself using SQL and a web interface vs Access and it's run-times but that's me, I hate the look of VB code (the visual aspects) and Access alone is pretty limiting compared to what most other databases offer.

Well OF COURSE you would, being an IT professional and all. As would I. Indeed, I wrote myself an SQL database and a plugin for my wiki, so that I can plan projects by making notes on a wiki page, and write reports querying the database (on the same wiki page). The database contains info about the rings I have (WD & ID in millimetres, AR, Metal/Material, colours, supplier, etc.) and about weaves (a subset of the MAIL database, with additional tags), so that I can approach a project either from what rings I have that will do what weaves, or what weaves will suit particular rings. I don't go so far as inventorying the number of rings I have, though.

Levi wrote:
JDM is using a single .MDB file to store all of your data. Make sure you back it up (when the program is closed), .mdb files are pretty stable but they can corrupt, restoring from backup is much simpler than recovering a database from corruption or dealing with a failed media situation.

Yes yes yes!

Even better if there's some way to automate it.


Craft isn't cheaper than therapy, but it's more fun.
http://www.essence-of-eclectic.com

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