What's new: May 2020

Several big features have just landed:

  • Prepare orders in PartsBox
  • Use Vendor Rules to automatically select where parts will be purchased
  • Place orders with distributors
  • Receive entire orders in one go
  • Receive stock against orders
  • See what has been ordered and is on the way
  • Global stock history
  • Automation using Zapier (beta)

Here is a short video screencast showing some of the changes (you can also view it on YouTube):

A better way to order parts online

Ordering parts has always been a hassle.

From planning what to order, to dealing with substitutes, to choosing optimal quantities, to actually placing the order (distributor websites are notoriously slow and have poor usability), to keeping track of what has been ordered and when it's supposed to arrive — it has always been a pain. And this process gets much worse if you have to order a lot of parts.

This is why many companies mostly buy from a single distributor: to make things easier and spend less time on purchasing. But buying from a single distributor isn't always optimal. Others might have better pricing or faster shipping.

Vendor rules

PartsBox now offers a way to specify your vendor preferences in the form of vendor rules. Let's look at an example: say you would ideally buy all your parts from either LCSC or TME (because of their pricing), but if the parts are not available, you'd like to buy from Mouser. If Mouser doesn't have stock, you'd like to fall back to Digi-Key. You can now add this as a vendor rule group, which means that pricing and splitting of purchase lists into orders will be done according to these rules.

What's even better, you can define multiple rule groups. It's useful if you want to quickly check several buying scenarios and choose one that works best for you.

You can set a single global default rule group that will be used everywhere, and you can fix a different rule group in every project or purchase list.

Placing orders

Purchase lists, after grouping by distributor, can now be easily converted into orders. Use "Add to order" to quickly create a new order, or add to an existing one.

Orders now have a life cycle: they can be "Open" (can be modified), "Ordered" (they have been placed and parts are on the way), and "Received" (you received all parts). This means you can now see all your ordered stock in a single place!

Receiving parts

Receiving parts has never been easier. If you want to receive all parts from an order into a single location, you can do it with just a couple of clicks. You can also receive parts one-by-one, using the Add Stock dialog or by scanning the barcode. PartsBox will helpfully show recent orders that you can receive against. Your parts will have the quantity and price pre-filled automatically.

Receiving by scanning barcodes

What's even better, with some distributors, if you copy the order from PartsBox into their website, they will print your barcodes with extra PartsBox information. When you then scan the barcode on the bag, PartsBox will immediately know which order (and which part) you are receiving!

Global stock history

There is now a way to see the global history of all stock movements. You can narrow it down to a specific time period, and filter to only add-stock or only remove-stock operations. This is useful for a number of things, including auditing, reports, accounting, and many other uses.

Automation using Zapier (beta)

We are beta-testing an integration with Zapier. The integration lets you trigger Zapier actions when stock is added or removed in PartsBox (either for a specific part or for any part), and when a project build is performed. This enables interoperability between PartsBox and any of the hundreds of services that Zapier supports. If you are interested, please contact us to be part of the beta. Also, if you'd rather have IFTTT support, please tell us.

Later blog posts: October 2020 update (2020-10-12)

PartsBox is an online app that lets you take control of your electronic parts inventory, BOM pricing, and small-scale production. It keeps track of where components are stored, what the current stock levels are, and which components are used in which projects/BOMs.

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