Optimal inventory management is one of the most crucial elements of operations for a business. It can be a tightrope walk–you must anticipate your future needs, taking into account all of the variables that cause sales to rise and fall, including warehouse space, transportation costs, changing vendor reports and seasonal market fluctuations.
Intuit's QuickBooks system dominates the small business accounting software market. QuickBooks Online, Pro, Mac, Premier and Enterprise editions come with inventory management features, but enhanced functionality requires integration with third-party inventory management systems.
Here, we analyzed four inventory management software solutions that integrate directly with QuickBooks. We’ll look at how these systems compare in terms of commonly desired features, supported QuickBooks versions and natively-supported operating systems.
The newly-released Fishbowl Inventory 2013 simplifies the shipping process with integrated UPS and FedEx shipping and online inventory access on mobile devices. The software’s Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) integration is geared primarily towards manufacturers and wholesale distributors.
We really like the additional modules Fishbowl offers to assist employees on sales, marketing and customer service teams. Fishbowl’s cloud-based SalesPoint software integrates with Fishbowl Inventory to provide point of sale functionality, while their customer relationship management (CRM) system, Fishbowl Pipeline, can be integrated to offer tools such as customer, lead and conversion tracking. Fishbowl also partners with software developers to offer add-ons such as hosting solutions, merchant services and shopping carts via Fishbowl Marketplace.
Like the other solutions we look at here, Fishbowl can track tens of thousands of stock items across multiple warehouses. Custom reports are also available for an extra fee.
IntelliTrack prides itself on innovative barcode and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for small and medium businesses, especially manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and third-party logistics (3PL) operations. Their core market is warehouses, retail stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals and companies that use vendor-managed inventory.
IntelliTrack offers a suite of Web-based, hosted inventory management software programs: StratusISRP, StratusStockroom, StratusInventory and StratusVMI. These software as a service (SaaS) options give businesses an alternative to expensive hardware and IT support. The company recently announced that it’s adding the Android operating system to its mobile platform to enable data collection via integrated scanners.
IntelliTrack also offers warehouse control systems and supports handheld barcode readers. Inventory can be tracked across multiple sites and data can be collected using both standard and user-defined fields.
CoreIMS manages purchasing, receiving and shipping for small to medium warehouses and comes in Standard, Enterprise and Government editions. Each includes barcode scanning, barcode label printing, vendor and customer contact management, integration with Sage software (in addition to QuickBooks) and easy installation. Core’s ability to track inventory on pallets, containers and cargo ships makes it a good solution for international warehousing.
The CoreIMS Standard edition takes over the tracking and workflow operation after the user enters sales and purchase orders. The Enterprise edition adds item ownership, batch order processing and warehouse charge accumulation and reporting for third parties (such as shipping service providers).
CoreIMS Government Edition offers U.S. federal government verbiage in its operations and reporting features. It also provides user permissions to grant different access levels for employees.
All Orders by NumberCruncher
NumberCruncher released the first true QuickBooks-integrated inventory software more than a decade ago. Their affordable, easy-to-deploy All Orders software comes with tools designed to handle multiple warehouses, bins and lot numbers.
With All Orders, a customer purchase order triggers a process to determine what’s in stock and what needs to be ordered to create the necessary shipping documents. The software lets you perform a detailed analysis of profit margins, quantities on hand, work orders and costs. You can also get around QuickBooks’ item, customer and vendor limits with the All Orders "proxies" feature. When synchronizing with QuickBooks, the feature allows you to add an item, then use another item as a proxy.
All Orders is popular with businesses in the manufacturing, wholesale and distribution sectors, and their quick, helpful customer service is frequently praised by users. It can be used as a standalone system, or integrated with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise editions. All Orders Mobile enables on-the-go inventory management complete with barcode label printing, and All Orders Web allows interactive, online data tracking.
Features and Functionality Comparison
Inventory management varies greatly from industry to industry. All four solutions include manual and automatic data import/export to and from QuickBooks. The chart below looks at additional core features of each solution.
|Monitors third-party vendor activity|
|Creates work orders/manufacturing orders|
|Tracks inventory across multiple locations|
|Tracks equipment, parts and hardware at distribution points|
|Barcode scanning and printing|
|Integrates with third-party logistics (3PL) operations|
|Creates sales orders|
Supported QuickBooks Versions
Finding the right software means integrating with the tools you already use. The chart below provides a breakdown of how each solution integrates with QuickBooks products. Although all four solutions have cloud integration, none of them function as add-ons to QuickBooks Online Edition.
Supported Operating Systems
The chart below looks at the operating systems natively supported by each solution provider. However, it’s important to note there are some workarounds users could pursue. For example, Windows-based solutions can be run on Apple computers using multi-boot utility programs should as Bootcamp or Parallels.
We’ve skimmed the surface of four of the more popular software solutions. If you have experience with another solution, or if you want to add something about one of the solutions we’ve already discussed, please take a few minutes to leave a comment below.