Well, currently I am evaluating the various jewelry software programs for me to use.
Because I want some way to not only track my finished pieces so I can sell them but a good program will also allow you to track the value of my finished pieces, what components, and their value, that went into making it, how much labor/time went into the piece, who bought my work, who do I buy my components, and the like.
I know, some of you just use a spread sheet but not me, if I am going to do this, I am in all the way.
During my life as a manufacturing engineer I had to use an ENTERPRISE level program that did this. This is called an ERP package which is short or Enterprise Resource Planning. This allows you to record a sales order which drives purchasing the parts for the item being bought if the parts for making it are not in stock/inventory; which then causes production to make the piece; and the shipping department to send it out the person who placed the order. WHEW
After I left manufacturing engineer in went out into the world as I consultant, guess what I did for several years... I helped companies install and set up their new ERP packages and change their business processes to work with the new and improved software.
Now, as a Software Engineer, I could actually write such a program but then I would never have time to play in my studio, which is why I am trying them all out.
And now you are going to ask, what programs are you looking at? Let me tell you what I am NOT looking at: Quickbooks, Sage, PeachTree accounting or any of the other general small business packages because I know how to set up and use these packages and some just have more than I need: Payroll and a full chart of accounts for example. I am not saying that I might not end up with one of these general accounting packages but for now they are on the bottom of my list.
I am looking at the software that appeals to the small jewelry maker since many offer the ability to add pictures and print out price lists and such. So here is what I am looking at:
- Bejeweled Software : http://jewelrydesignermanager.com/products/
- Beading Software: http://www.beading-software.com
- Beadia Jewelry Business Manager: http://beadia.net
There may be others but I have not found them. I have found many programs for actual Jewelry stores but I am not to that point, yet.
My other requirement is that it runs on my Macintosh as a native application. I know, you are scratching your head again thinking why do you need that?
This is software that is written for the Mac OS (operating system, see I told you this would get a bit geeky) and not in a PC Virtual Machine (VM) or PC partition. In case you did not know, the Macintosh computer now uses an Intel chip which is one of the chips that the Microsoft OS (you know what that is, I gave you this earlier) works on. Thus on a Mac, it is possible to divide (known as partitioning) the hard drive and install Windows OR we can use a Virtual Machine which is a program that allows you to set up the Microsoft OS and it is all contained within the VM program. The problem with doing either of these is the following:
- It takes up more hard drive space than just the accounting software
- You have to buy a copy of Microsoft windows
- There is an entire second OS that is on your computer that must be maintained. Think of all the updates and virus protection that you have to deal with when using a PC, which is why I have a mac.
- You have to switch back and forth between the PC and the Mac
With this requirement, I am removing the various version of Bejeweled Software from my list because this software only runs on a Windows OS and I would have to set up a partition or VM to use it. That leaves me with the other two on the list above.
I spent part of last weekend working with Beadia which is a newer program. You can download and work with a free evaluation version. I did find some bugs (that's geek talk for things that don't work) and have been in communication (email) with the developer about them; he told me that an update is due sometime in December and he sent me the list of changes. The program looks promising but until I try the next version I am not wiling to purchase it. It will cost around 50 USD.
Over the next week I will be testing the Beading Software. This is a 10 evaluation package and there are many videos on their website that show how to do various things in the software and from what I have seen this program looks pretty robust my only concern is that I have read that when you use the mark-up module, it only does so for the material portion, and if that is true, I will have to try a work around of setting up a part item named "LABOR" and then add it to the parts list for a completed piece. This software cost about 150 USD.
As you can see the price difference is big but it all comes down to does it fit my needs.