As predicted, last year was a year of acquisition and the inventory management software industry was equally impacted. A shocking buy out by Xero in 2021 left LOCATE users searching for another platform to migrate to before October of 2022. While many of the users are being guided towards higher-end ERP systems, many are finding themselves overwhelmed with the inventory management software options out there.
There are well over 50 SaaS platforms claiming to do inventory management. Yet, none do it quite like LOCATE, and they all have differences between each other as well. Users and ecommerce consultants will be left with the question “What other alternatives, if at all, exist on the market that are most akin to LOCATE?”
Luckily, Clearinity has gotten under the hood of more than 30 of the specialized inventory management softwares over the years. In addition, we have had the honor of implementing inventory management software with over 400 diverse ecommerce businesses ranging from complex manufacturers to standard dropshippers. Through our years of experience and watching the inventory softwares evolutions, we are confident we understand what softwares on the market that are most comparable to LOCATE.
LOCATE vs ERP
LOCATE provided mid size enterprises the ability to appropriately manage and maintain their inventory. Built as a best-of-breed model, it was the first in the market that:
- Was led by developers that had been industry experts
- Provided an in-house development team
- Understood the complexity of inventory management alongside inventory accounting
- Fit a true mid-market problem set
These factors alone provided LOCATE’s software evolution to reach farther and faster than other platforms. Versioning was reflective of industry trends and was centered around user feedback. Many of LOCATE’s updates were in response to user requests and done in a timely fashion – some as fast as a week turnaround! Not to mention, LOCATE had an intuitive understanding of inventory management workflows.
The inventory management system prided itself on its summarized accounting, no data caps and dynamic picking. While it had its benefits, some of LOCATE’s functionalities were under-developed and cumbersome to some of its users. The ability to integrate best-of-breed applications in areas such as production management, accounting and more into the platform was one of the core differators of LOCATE compared to a fully streamlined ERP.
ERPs like Netsuite will ultimately best serve some of larger LOCATE clients that are seeking dynamic manufacturing, and complex supply chain management. For the others that are price-sensitive or are not looking at ERPs, they will be seeking strict best-of-breed inventory management systems as a software.
Many found LOCATE to be flexible in scaling because of the best-of-breed model. It allowed businesses to not risk innovation waiting on new features or versions of the software.
While we dont believe in feature charts (you can read more about that here) we know that you have probably already explored some feature charts since the news hit. For that reason we do want to note the most important and significant differences:
- Best-of-breed (you’d use Xero or QBO as your general ledger)
- Significantly more cost effective
- Fast development and evolution
- Aligned most to ecommerce business workflows
- Holistic integrated software
- Higher onboarding costs
- Significantly improved flexibility for complexity in manufacturing
- Slower software development and evolution
What are the other Inventory Management Alternatives?
Many of the enterprise resource planning softwares will be far too robust, not to mention costly, for migrators off of LOCATE. So what are the other inventory management alternatives out there? Many have heard of systems like Fishbowl or even Brightpearl, but these platforms aren’t all cloud based and in fact don’t serve ecommerce companies best.
Through our trials and tribulations we have found that Cin7 and DEAR offer closest to what LOCATE did.
Clearinity’s expertise in inventory management and operations has made us more confident and prepared for the challenges of the changing inventory management system software environment.
As of right now, it’s fair to say that no best-of-breed IMS is going to replace LOCATE. For the more complex clientele, we’re already seeing some trends pop up. Interestingly, we’re finding a whole new world of mid-market solutions that are truly ERPs (and all relatively new in their approach!). We have labeled them:
- Mid-Market ERPs
- Traditional ERPs
You can read more about Mid-Market ERP’s next week and if you would like to explore more about what exactly the benefits of keeping a best of breed IMS around is, we encourage you to download our white paper here.