Over the past few years of making pens I've seen the question of inventory pop up again and again in the Facebook groups. I never really cared too much about keeping inventory until the 2nd annual Mid-Ohio Valley Pen Turner's Gathering where I was confronted with all sorts of great deals. I knew I wanted to buy some more pen kits and I knew I had some at home but I didn't know what finishes and how many. And that led to the birth of Pen Kit Inventory.
If you're coming to Pen Kit Inventory for the first time then you'll see the screen on the left asking you to create a login. If you already have an account then you'll see the screen on the right.
Once you're signed in you'll see the four blocks with a number of how many items in that category and the total dollar amount (if you've added that). You can also see in the left sidebar that the Dashboard icon is blue which indicates that is the current view.
Each of the 4 blocks is a button that will display a table view of that category.
Each of the table views has a downward pointing arrow at the top right which is there in case you ever wish to pull your data out of Pen Kit Inventory. Clicking that icon will download all your database records in the form of a CSV file.
Add Pen Kits
To add pen kits, click the + Pen Kits in the left sidebar. The light gray helper text will go away as soon as you begin to add your content, it's only there to help in case you aren't sure what to input. None of the fields are required so don't feel you have to fill in each field.
In the Supplier field, I often just put the URL to the store where I bought the item. I do this so I know where to return in case I want to buy more.
The View Pen Kits button on the right above the table will take you to the table view of pen kits already in the system.
As you can see, each menu item brings up a form where you will input details about your inventory.
Each of the table views has a button on the right above that table that will take you to the table view where you can see all the items in that category.
Under the Supplies menu item you'll see forms for
- Drill Bits
The Completed Pens form is where you put the pens that are made. When inputting this information you'll be required to choose from pick menus for Pen Kit Used and Blank Used. Those two fields will subtract from the quantity of your Pen Kits and Blanks that were added.
I find the Description field to be a useful place to keep the description I use for selling online. I just copy from here and paste into the online sales system.
In the image below I have 3 pen kits that were added so when adding a Completed Pen I'll need to choose which one was used in order to subtract from the inventory.
In the image below I have 2 blanks that were added so when adding a Completed Pen I'll need to choose which one was used in order to subtract from the inventory.
What is Pen Status?
I added this menu because not all the pens I make go online for sale and I found I was interested to know where a pen ended up. I made it a pick menu for consistency because the columns in the table view are sortable.
Where can I get this Pen Kit Inventory?
I thought you'd never ask : )
Pen Kit Inventory is free. It should remain free for the foreseeable future.
I'm paying the bill for the server space, SSL certificate, and domain name. Who knows, maybe one day it'll grow into something way more complex with connections to your Shopify or WooCommerce stores — oooh!!
There aren't a lot of features and the application seems simple to me but I designed it for how it made sense for me to use so after you give it a try feel free to comment below and provide some feedback.
Thanks for reading!
12 thoughts on “Introducing Pen Kit Inventory”
Thanks for doing this. So where and how can I take my current Excel DB and import it into Pen Inventory? I saw where you can export data from PI to a .csv, but don’t see where you can import a .xls or .csv.
I didn’t make it with the ability to import. Hmm… I maybe could add that though. Lemme look into it.
This is exactly what I was looking for. My inventory is a mess and when I go to MOVPTG and SEPG I always forget what I am out of, this will let me check it right from my phone.
Can there be another status field for “sold” that can remove it from inventory, but not deleting it from the db completely? There’s already a “sold for” field, so think this would be a natural next step.
Thanks! Loving it so far!
Oh, you’re right. That’s a good point. How’d I miss that ????????♂️ ?
I’m glad folks are using it because the feedback will help me improve it. Thank you!
Making it mobile for iOS/iPadOS/Android would be great
Yeah but making native apps requires way more knowledge of those platforms and then time to manage them. I chose the web route because the browsers generally render things the same.
Also, adding the ability to add photos of the kits, blanks, completed, etc… would be great.
I almost added this but didn’t think I’d use it. Would you actually add photos to each entry? I’m wondering how many folks would do that.
I feel like images would slow it down considerably.
When I get ready to do some more in this I’ll have to poll the FB group.
Thanks for your feedback, I really do appreciate it ????????
I would definitely add photos for the blanks and completed pens.
Yeah, I can definitely see this. I was going through my blanks yesterday and there’s a lot of variances even if it’s the same wood of from the same acrylic.
Just to let y’all know, I’m going to be doing some maintenance to Pen Kit Inventory on Sunday, October 6th so it’s going to be down. Don’t worry, your inventory will be fine. It’s getting moved to a better server. It should be back up and ready for you Monday, October 7th.