Inventory Management Systems Blog Series #3
Posted by Kevin Reynolds on August 22, 2013
The Deep Integration Inventory Management System
This is the least common form of QuickBooks Inventory Management solutions in the marketplace. There are really only two players in this space: Rapid Inventory and the QuickBooks Enterprise Advanced Inventory Module. However, I will specifically talk about Rapid Inventory in this post.
Rapid Inventory (RI) utilizes a deep integration with QB as the basis for all inventory transactions. Rapid Inventory acts as more of a warehouse management module for QB, rather than an inventory management system that takes over all of the inventory functionality from QB. That is not by accident. When AccuCode was approached by the QuickBooks Enterprise (QBE) Team to develop an inventory management system for QBE, they wanted a solution that felt like a part of QBE, not something that pulled users away from QBE.
This was a direct response to inventory management systems telling QBE users that they could drop all of their QB licenses except one for the accountant, and they could even downgrade from Enterprise to Premier. For obvious reasons the QBE team did not like this message and sought to offer an integrated inventory management solution that would keep the customer on Enterprise, and the QBE users in QBE.
The first part was easy, they directed us to create an artificial restriction in the interface to prevent Pro and Premier users from being able to use the product. (That restriction has now been removed.) The second direction was more difficult. It is actually much easier to develop a system that takes over all the functionality and only sends basic accounting journal entries back to QB. Complete integration of two different products and databases is far harder to successfully accomplish. Even with a well established and mature QB SDK to utilize, many things did not work quite right. We had to work with the QBE product managers and SDK developers to get some fixes made to the QB products to allow Rapid Inventory to become a truly integrated product. This is why Rapid Inventory often claims to be the most integrated product that has ever been created for QuickBooks. Not just the most integrated inventory management system, the most integrated 3rd party product.
While most QB users do not realize it, the workflows that QB and RI follow are closely related to a more expensive ERP system than to an accounting and inventory management system combination. We let the users use the correct tool for their job. Purchase orders are created in QB by the purchasing person. That is where all the items, costing and vendors are maintained. This is the logical and correct place to create PO’s. Sales Orders are created in QB by customer service or a salesperson. That is where all the items, pricing, and customers are maintained. That is the logical and correct place to create SO’s.
Keep in mind that PO’s and SO’s are a request for the warehouse to do something with the inventory, and that is where RI takes over. QB does not have warehouse specific workflows. RI does. We are the tool for the warehouse employee. RI is used when the inventory is being “touched”, as in the Receiving and Picking processes. At the end of these processes we send the results of the warehouse transaction back to QuickBooks as if it was done in QB. We create a QB item receipt or bill for the PO and a QB invoice for the SO. These are accurate with what the warehouse actually did.
For example, if the SO was not picked in full, then the invoice reflects what was actually picked, and the SO is now in a back order status in both QB and in RI. Everything is in sync. The way we do this is the best part. By using the actual QB transactions to report the warehouse activities, everything looks normal and correct in QB. That is a huge advantage. If a RI customer gave their books to an accountant and did not tell the accountant that they were using RI, the accountant would not know. They would see completely normal transactions in QB. Perhaps a bit more accurate and timely transactions than most companies have, but normal transactions nonetheless. Rapid inventory is the only inventory management system that has attempted this depth of integration with QB. Every other system either takes over all inventory management functionality from QB, or is a complete stand-alone solution. We are a unique offering in the marketplace.