Where’s Fishbowl? Firearms Manufacturers and Resellers

Frankly, I’ve got to say I had a bit of a learning curve while writing this article. The sum total of my experience with firearms has been in shooting a .22 in Boy Scouts(that’s a .22 caliber rifle for those even less informed than me), and the time I borrowed a .12 gauge to go “Zucchini Blastin’” on a date with my soon-to-be wife. (What else can you do with overgrown zucchinis?) Times have changed. Could there be a bigger hot button issue than firearms at the moment? OK, maybe the federal budget, but firearms are a close second. So, why would a Fishbowl employee be writing about firearms? Well, along with all the other niche markets Fishbowl works well for, “Firearms Manufacturing and Sales” seems to be one of those markets for which we seem to be a GREAT fit, and here’s why. According to Business Insider magazine, there are 129,817 gun stores in the U.S., (which, incidentally, is 14,869 more gun stores than grocery stores!). That’s a lot of businesses and a lot of guns. Most of these businesses are small to mid-sized and are therefore using QuickBooks for their accounting (QuickBooks covers over 87 percent of the small-to-mid sized business accounting software market in the U.S.). That’s where Fishbowl Inventory comes in. Over the years Fishbowl has developed the top selling inventory control/manufacturing software designed specifically for the QuickBooks market. Some of the key features of interest to firearm-related businesses include serial/lot number tracking, assembly and sub-assembly tracking, vendor tracking and custom fields. Specifically, take a look at the following report, which is required for EVERY firearms manufacturer and dealer in the country: ATF Log Book Fishbowl Report (ATF: Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) Fields to track: Manufacturer and/or Importer, Model #, Serial #, Type, Caliber, Date in, Vendor, FFL #, Date Out, and Purchaser's Name. Every time a firearm is sold, the seller needs to enter all of the above information into the log book (traditionally done by hand). Additionally, the ATF requires all firearms manufacturers to have the ABILITY to track all serialized component parts back to the original manufacturer in case that component was used in the commission of a crime. That’s a lot to track and it is rather tedious. But that’s exactly the information Fishbowl tracks automatically. The ATF Log Book report in Fishbowl simply compiles the required fields into the report format the ATF wants. Isn’t that EXACTLY what a firearms dealer and the ATF want? Simplicity and easy access to detailed records. As an example, CMMG, a firearms manufacturer and happy Fishbowl customer, has agreed to provide a little information as to how Fishbowl has worked for them. CMMG is a small-arms manufacturer based in Fayette, MO that was founded as a hobby “offering high quality AR parts and accessories through websites and online auctions,” but quickly developed into a full-time business. CMMG now offers a wide array of rifles and component parts that are sold directly on their website.  Side Note: For those new to firearms, “AR” does NOT stand for “Assault Rifle” but stands for "ArmaLite Rifle" named by the first company to develop the AR-15 platform that later sold the design to Colt.  The term AR-15 really describes the firearm platform, similar to a car manufacturer to use the same frame and suspension for truck and van products, where the rifles’ receivers are a standard (fit and compatibility) across multiple manufactures in the industry.  Special thanks to CMMG for pointing that out for us! Like many small manufacturers, CMMG began tracking their inventory manually through paper, pencil, and spreadsheets, but as they grew, that process became too difficult, time-consuming and prone to errors. They were also using QuickBooks to track their sales and accounting, and their website was run using the shopping cart Volusion to process their online orders. As each order was received on the website, Volusion would print the sales order as a hard copy, which would then be used to hand-enter a sales order into QuickBooks and to pick, pack, and ship the order. The problem was that it was easy to lose a piece of paper (and therefore the record of that sale), and the lack of a direct integration with QuickBooks meant there was a lot of double data entry. As a manufacturing and inventory control software solution, designed specifically for QuickBooks users, Fishbowl was chosen by CMMG to manage all their inventory control and manufacturing needs, as well as to process all the orders from their website. Now, when a sale is made on their website, the sales order is automatically read into Fishbowl via a customized link provided by FishBooks Pro (a Fishbowl Partner). When a sales order arrives within Fishbowl, all the inventory levels are automatically adjusted based on what was sold. Pick, Pack and Ship information is then instantly available to pickers in the warehouse via wireless barcoding devices that tell them all the items that need to be picked for each order. If the item is currently out of stock and needs to be manufactured, or reordered from a supplier, Fishbowl automatically provides the appropriate manufacturing and/or purchase orders to supply the needed products. Additionally, in the firearms business, sometimes there are multiple parts on a firearm that need to be serialized. For example, the barrel is traditionally not serialized but the firearm receiver is. (see image on the left)  But occasionally, (military firearms and hand guns being the majority), the receivers, bolt, and barrel are all marked with the same serial number.  Fishbowl keeps a permanent record of all these serialized parts, as well as the finished item, who manufactured it, and who it was sold to.  This is the information the government requires. All the data required by the ATF Log Book (serial and lot #s, buyers, etc.) are automatically stored within Fishbowl on each sale.  Now, whenever the ATF needs the required report, it’s no more effort than the click of a button within Fishbowl to run the report.  And according to Adam at CMMG,  "The ATF really checks for compliance of the tax on manufacturing a firearm and transfer of firearms to licensed dealers, distributers, or other manufacturers.  It is a good practice that a secondary log book be kept and redundant checks on both books are done."  For more information on using Fishbowl in your own firearms manufacturing or sales business, please call us at 1-800-774-7085 x2 or sign up for a 14-day free trial of Fishbowl Inventory.  Special thanks to Adam at CMMG for taking the time to talk with me on this subject and helping to correct a few misconceptions. Next time on Where's Fishbowl? Medical Product Manufacturers. All images are the copyright of their respective owners.