For purposes of designing a show, inventory management means keeping track of quantities of items and adjusting quantities based on what is used in the show. A single number isn’t enough to tell the story for a particular item, however. Finale 3D displays four quantities for every item: Available, Quota, On Hand, and Used. The meanings of these terms, and whether they are supported in your software configuration, are described in Table 1.
Table 1 – The four quantities used in inventory management when designing a show
|Quantity Term||Meaning||Collections That Support It||Where The Data Is Stored|
|Available||The quantity available to use in the show, taking into consideration reservations for other shows and purchase orders not yet received from your suppliers.||Supported in My Effects, FDB effects files, and the paid version of Finale Inventory; Not supported in the read-only collections like Generic Effects and supplier catalogs, and not supported in the shared company effects list feature (also called Master Inventory).||For FDB effects files, in the file; for Per-Show Effects, in the FIN show file; for My Effects and other network inventories, in the cloud.|
|Quota||The quantity you’ve earmarked to use in this show; comes automatically from sales orders in the paid version of Finale Inventory; also can be imported from a packing list CSV. Alternatively, since you can import any quantities you want into the Quota column, you can use the Quota column as a substitute for the Available column if the Available column is not supported by the collection you are using.||Supported in all collections. These quantities are actually stored in the Per-Show Effects collection since they are saved with the show, but the Quota column displays the quantities from the Per-Show Effects collection no matter what collection you are looking at in the effects window, matching by part number.||In the FIN show file (editable in the show’s Per-Show Effects).|
|On Hand||The quantity physically present at the storage location.||Supported only in the paid version of Finale Inventory only.||In the cloud.|
|Used||The quantity used by your show design.||Supported in all collections. The Used quantities aren’t actually stored in any of the collections. The quantities are derived in real time from your show design, and displayed in whatever effects collection you are looking at.||Not stored.|
The effects window in Finale 3D displays a choice of collections of effects: Generic Effects, Per-Show Effects, My Effects, various supplier catalogs, and optionally your own company’s shared effects list (called “Master Inventory” in the old scripting software, Finale Business), or a view into your own company’s live inventory if you are using the paid version of Finale Inventory to manage your stock. Some of these collections are read-only, such as the Generic Effects and the supplier catalogs. Others, like Per-Show Effects and My Effects, are read/write. Loosely speaking, if you are keeping track of quantities of items in a collection, we call the collection an “inventory”; otherwise we just call the collection an “effects list”. The blue collections selector on the effects window has some options that can be inventories, and others that can only be effects lists. Some of the quantities in Table 1 therefore make sense for only some of the collections.
If your inventory management needs are simple, you can keep track of stock levels in the “Available” column in My effects and in effects files saved in the FDB format. If you are using the paid version of Finale Inventory, then the Available column information is coming from your Finale Inventory account. The Available column isn’t supported by the free shared effects list (Master Inventory), so if you are using the shared effects list, you’ll need to make do with the other columns of information, like Quota, to keep track of your inventory.
While scripting your show, you can filter the effects window to display only the effects you have remaining available, or you can filter to show when remaining available goes negative if you want to see overuse (effects window gear menu > “Select layout template > Available positive” for example. After scripting the show, you can do the menu item “Effects > Subtract used quantities from available,” which does just that. Then you can synch to network to save you updated available quantities to My Fireworks, or you can save the updated effects file from the blue selector “Effects files > Save (FDB format)”. When you go to script your next show, your available quantities will take into account the items you used up.
The “Quota” column is also useful for basic inventory management. The Quota column shows the quantities that you have decided to allocated to the show before scripting it. Display companies sometimes decide what product they want to use in the show before scripting it, so the Quota column would be the place to record that information. In other circumstances, display operators need to script a show using the pack list of products that have been shipped to him. The Quota column is exactly the place to import the pack list quantities (“File > Import > Import quotas…”). With the Quota column showing your allocation, you can filter the effects window to show “All effects having quota” or “All effects used or having quota” or three other options that take into account what you’ve used in the show so far are “Quota negative” and “Quota not-zero” and “Quota positive” (effects window gear menu > “Select layout template”).
The quotas are saved with the show. Even though they are shown in whatever collection you are displaying in the effects window — My effects, Generic effects, Finale Inventory, your own effects file, etc. — they are stored in the Per-show effects collection that is saved with the show. Thus your show can have quotas for effects in any collection.
The “On Hand” column (meaning “Quantity on hand”) is an inventory quantity that is used in more comprehensive inventory management applications available through integration with Finale Inventory. If you integrate with Finale Inventory, the Finale Inventory application will keep track of your open sales orders (shows that you’ve sold but haven’t shipped yet) and your purchase orders (for products that you’ve purchased and haven’t received yet). The available count in Finale Inventory takes into account “reservations” from unshipped shows and “on order” quantities from purchase orders, whereas the “quantity on hand” quantities reflect only what is physically present at your warehouse or facility. In some circumstances, it can be useful to know while scripting a show what “available” and also what is “on hand”.
Finale Inventory keeps track of the “Location” (street address) and “Sublocation” (bunker or container) at which your items are stored, and items can obviously be stored in multiple places such as overstock locations and picking locations. The Available and On Hand quantities sent from Finale Inventory to Finale 3D represent all Sublocations at one or more Locations. You can filter to specific Locations with the Finale 3D menu item, “Effects > Finale Inventory > Select locations”. Sublocations are not visible in Finale 3D, but the “Std Bin ID” property of products in Finale Inventory is shown in Finale 3D as the “Storage Location”, which may be useful for picking reports generated on the Finale 3D side (see Table 1 of Effects basic instructions).
These advanced inventory management features for On Hand stock counts are only available with Finale Inventory, though. Basic inventory management in Finale 3D just uses the Available column to record your quantities, and doesn’t have any concept of item storage at multiple locations; you need to take into account reservations or or shipments manually. Thus for basic inventory management, please leave the On Hand column blank.
When you use the Available or Quota column, the quantities displayed in the effects window will change color to green or red, depending on whether you have more remaining to use or whether you’ve used too many!