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ERP VS IMS- Why Clearinity Works with the Systems We Do

If you have ever purchased a brand new computer, there is no doubt that you came across a comparison chart of the features each of the computers tout. While viewing that feature chart and potentially basing your purchase decision on the winning features, you may have noticed that to get the best quality and the lowest price, and you had to start sacrificing some pretty important details. You may have decided the system you purchased didn’t really need the extra RAM, or perhaps the battery life didn’t have to be 12 hours. Perhaps you later discovered that once you got home and were working on the computer, those things really did matter! In contrast, you might have sprung for the best quality and the highest price because of the computer’s promises and later found out you didn’t need all the extra features. In either scenario, after your purchase, you may have experienced buyer’s remorse. 

So what are we getting at? 

Investing in an inventory management system, or IMS is the same as this analogy. Picking an IMS is one job that you can’t synthesize down into feature comparison charts, and you can’t sacrifice certain things at the end of the day. That is why we do what we do here at Clearinity. When people come to us wanting an Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, instead of an inventory management system, we can’t help but tell them, ERP systems always hype themselves up and then under-deliver when it comes time to function for their customers. Even though they may seem grander than their counterparts in the inventory management system game, this, more often than not, is not the case.

Let us back up.

ERP vs. IMS vs. WMS: What are they 

ERP, an IMS, or a WMS can get complicated to sort through for those trying to figure out the core differences in these systems. They all handle inventory but in many different ways. 

An Enterprise Resource Planning System, or better known as an ERP, is a system that centralizes all business data in one place. ERP’s are known as “wide net solutions.” Development of ERP’s stemmed from the “monolith” software development philosophy where you could only build an “all-in-one” solution. ERP’s were magical decades ago because they were multiple “all-in-one” platforms designed to string together. Unfortunately, they have a little bit of everything to this day and offer no real focus on a single solution. 

ERP’s are also high priced and don’t offer much customization; and if they do, they charge for that additional custom development. This aspect of ERP’s often leaves decision-makers at larger corporations who chose to invest in these systems scratching their heads later down the road. They find themselves weighing the cost-benefit of spending the extra money to custom develop features to fit their needs. These companies often add other systems and tools to lower the cost and move away from the custom development of an ERP. Doing so leaves a considerable overhead cost for a tool that never really fits their needs to begin.

An inventory management system, or IMS, is a system that is focused on and centralizes warehouse management and inventory accounting data. Here at Clearinity, we specialize in IMS software options that are cloud-based. These cloud-based inventory management systems rely heavily on new development paradigms like “best of breed.” They are small, tightly defined software packages with open API that allow you to sync them to other “best of breed” software solutions. Cloud-based inventory management systems avoid the considerable complexity of monolith programming and allow for flexibility. These systems are at a much lower price point than ERP’s and offer similar if not better features. However, there are many IMS systems out there, and no two are the same. So when going to purchase an IMS system, it can be hard to identify what your companies real needs are and at what cost you can sacrifice some needs over others. 

In addition to ERP’s and IMS’, you might wonder how a WMS or warehouse management system plays into this conversation. A WMS is just for managing an internal warehouse. Many of the currently available WMS’s claim they can do what an IMS system does, but they can’t at the end of the day. They often omit any real understanding of accounting and thus are just for tracking product movement and workflows. Although these systems are much cheaper, they can vary wildly in their core functionality and often leave their customers wanting more.

Clearinity can help mitigate buyer’s remorse.

   So now that we have established the key differences between all your inventory management options, it hopefully is clear that an IMS system is indeed what you need. However, sitting through sales call after sales call to figure out what system is the best for you sounds time-consuming, so you will probably be tempted to find a comparison chart of features. 

    That’s where Clearinity comes in. Finding an inventory management system that will be a long-term solution for you won’t happen overnight. It also won’t happen by looking at feature charts because the business you built is unique! Those feature charts won’t know the workflows or the exact data points you need to explore. They also won’t tell you how to integrate them into your team or make sure you understand the robustness of programming. 

     Here at Clearinity, we tell our clients that they think they want ERP systems, that they are probably seeking what an IMS can already do at a lower cost. Still, we also tell our clients about the real experience they will get from an inventory management system.

     We let our clients know the good, the bad, and the ugly before purchasing, so they aren’t blindsided eight months down the road and start having buyer’s remorse. We run the data in real-time through these systems so the client can envision their day to day operations. We also let them know the actual cost. If a system needs additional integrations or customization, we see the cost and help prioritize when it’s time to expand on those features. Once a client decides, we take the dirty work of implementation and clean it up. This process allows our clients to continue to run their business while integrating this big exciting system into their team and workflows. 

    We work alongside our clients to make sure they understand and know how to run their new inventory system and offer post-implementation support. Large ERP systems and even some IMS systems don’t provide quick help when you need it. Instead, they treat you as merely a COG in their machine. 

We aren’t here to talk you out of an ERP system …

We surely don’t want you to get the wrong impression that we are trying to talk you out of an ERP system because, for some clients, it’s what they want and need. However, we know that mistakes can occur when implementing these systems, and we would hate for you to experience that. We offer comprehensive steps to implementation so that ultimately you are conscious of the system you are investing in and save some time and resources when it comes time to implement your new Inventory Management System. 

If you have sat through too many sales calls only to be more confused at the end about what you are purchasing. Suppose you have wondered how to make your business scale sustainably or have been ready for a change but didn’t know where to turn. In that case, Clearinity can guarantee that you’ll never have to experience those headaches again with our expertise.