Inside Inventory Management

Constantly updated catalog – Key to your reseller business

This article discusses how resellers use off-the-shelf productivity software to keep their inventory management database as updated and comprehensive as possible, while cutting back on the time required to update it.

The virtues of a comprehensive and updated inventory management database

The inventory database is one of the reseller's most important tools. When a customer contacts you, you use the database to find which items best fit his needs, from which vendor. You offer him different choices based on throughput, size, etc'. You use the database to compare different vendors offering, prices, availability and much more.

Here are the top two reasons why a comprehensive and well-updated inventory management database is important:

  1. Losing money on price changes – If your database does not reflect manufacturer/supplier price-updates you might quote a wrong (usually lower) price to the customer and end up making far less profit or even losing money on deals.

  2. Losing deals – If your database contains fewer items or does not contain extensive data about an item you might not find the items the customer needs or alternatively you might be required to spend a lot of time on research, while the customer is already looking elsewhere.

Why is it so difficult to maintain a comprehensive well-updated inventory management database?

Well because… it's a real Mess

A single reseller works with many different suppliers and manufacturers. Each one has a product catalog containing thousands of items. So a comprehensive database should contain information about tens of thousands of items. And…

Each manufacturer/supplier can change its catalog and prices once, twice or even three times a year. So if you have a ten thousand item-database you might find yourself spending months on price updates.

And to top it all the information about products and prices comes in many and sometimes difficult to handle ways. A minority of the suppliers will give formatted excel sheets, most will distribute PDF catalogs and some still hang on to the good old printed catalogs.

The PDF converter – A valuable Inventory management tool

A lot of item catalogs are produced in PDF format. And getting the data from those catalogs and into your inventory management software/database in a quick and accurate manner can do a lot of good.

To handle that job you need a PDF converter that can convert data from pdf files to a standard format, such as Microsoft Excel, which then makes it easy to update your inventory management software.

There are two things that you need to be on the lookout for when selecting a PDF converter

  1. Ability to convert multiple pages at once – Most catalogs have a standard page layout. Once you have defined that layout for a single page, you should be able to use that layout to convert multiple pages at once. This ability alone can save you many hours of typing.

  2. Conserve the part number formatting – many vendors have numeric part numbers beginning with 0 ('004567843' for example). When this type of data is copied to excel, excel cuts off the leading zeros. Which means you have to retype those zeros into excel. If the PDF converter has the ability to pre-define the column format to text, those retyping efforts can be avoided.

  3. Easy to use – Use it in full within 15 minutes from installing.


A good PDF to Excel converter can both save you tons of time and increase the value of you get out of your inventory management software.

This article was prepared by Cogniview, a leading provider of PDF conversion software.

Click here to learn more about PDF2XL

This article is based on an interview conducted with Mr. Ken Swanson from U.S. Builder Supply