How to use Google Forms and spreadsheets for your inventory


Written by Sarah Priem

Aug 10, 2018

Manage inventory by combining Google Forms and Google Sheets

Looking for a new system for inventory management? You are likely considering several options to start or improve tracking and managing inventory. There are quite a few options on the market from using simple spreadsheets, to complicated or expensive SaaS options, or even creating your own proprietary software and database systems. Many people don’t realize that various Google Apps can interact with one another. You can combine them to make super tools! Employing Google Forms, and Sheets, along with some Google Add-ons is a smart way to automate some of your processes, improve efficiency, and customize your inventory management.

Today we are introducing a powerful, low-cost way to combine two Google Apps to create a valuable inventory management system for your business.

What are Google Sheets?

Google Sheets is a dynamic spreadsheet tool that lives on the cloud. It is free for users with a Google account and can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. It is very similar to the Microsoft program Excel, but it is free and totally web-based. Many companies are already using Google Sheets to manage their inventory. Using spreadsheets you can easily keep track of inventory that is coming in, inventory that is going out, and stock on hand. With more advanced use, you can measure other metrics like return on investment, inventory turnover, and gross margin. Many Google Sheets users combine their spreadsheets with add-ons to make inventory management more efficient. Add-ons are tools designed by 3rd-party developers that you can access from right inside a sheet.

What are Google Forms?

Google Forms is another tool that is part of Google’s set of free web apps. Anybody with a Google account can make online forms that are either public or private. Users do not need an account to use a form that has been. Forms is a tool that allows people to create free surveys that they can distribute for a variety of reasons. Teachers use them to give quizzes, companies use them to obtain customer feedback, you can even use them to organize a family reunion or for just about any other information gathering you can think of. So, what does this have to do with inventory management? You can use forms to input information about your inventory into your spreadsheets. It is easy to set up, and easy for employees to use.

How are companies combining Sheets and Forms to manage inventory?

Companies can set up Google Forms to gather data for spreadsheets. There are a few different ways to do this depending on the needs of the company. Some examples include using forms to record transactions and sales, to record incoming products, or to track outgoing shipments from a warehouse. They enter individual products on the form with specific value options. Then, you can answer questions on the form manually at a computer or on a mobile device, or scan the items barcode or QR code to automatically populate the information. The form then sends this data to your spreadsheet, and you have a line of inventory data!

Some organizations use these methods on a small scale, like checking out supplies or books at a small school. Or on a large-scale, like shipping operations in a warehouse. How complicated it is to set up your Forms and Sheets combo depends on how complicated your system is.

To start using forms with your spreadsheets, first, you will need to have an inventory spreadsheet. You can create your own, or use our template to get you started. To use this template, simply create a copy and it will download to your Google Drive.

Then click Tools → Create a Form. Here is where you will create the form fields that will input data into your sheet. You can create individual SKUs or product numbers to create individual entries. You can create actions like received, shipped, or returned to specify if inventory is going in or going out. Use this data to manage important inventory metrics such as gross margin, customer satisfaction, and sell rates.

Need a more advanced, automated system? Monitor your inventory in a dashboard with data inputs from separate, connected Google Sheets. Get all the functionalities of inventory software without the cost. We’ve already written the formulas for you.

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