Godzilla is the creation of Toho Co., Ltd. of Japan.
Godzilla vs Godzilla
Growing up I loved ‘monster movies’, everything from the classics like Frankenstein and Dracula to the Wolfman and the Mummy. Of course how could I not also love all those incredible rubber costumed miniature town smashing, Godzilla movies. Recent modern remakes of the Japanese creature just haven’t been the same, until recently when some ‘hand-animated YouTube classic' called "Godzilla vs. Godzilla" came out. [For those who don’t know, the original Toho Japanese Godzilla had more sequels (Godzilla vs. 'something') than the Rocky movies….we are talking ‘lots of creatures to battle’ for the dominion of the crushable miniature Tokyo].
By now you are wondering what all of this has to do with QuickBooks and Inventory Alternatives…well when I started researching ‘Fishbowl’ and ‘ACCTivate’ I quickly came to the conclusion that this was like ‘Godzilla vs. Godzilla’ rather than some other fictious battle. In my way of thinking these two products are ‘more alike’ than they are ‘different’. So in this two part article we will critique the battle of ‘Godzilla vs. Godzilla’……, first in summary and then in greater detail.
We already know that QuickBooks has very limited ‘inventory management’ abilities, even QuickBooks Enterprise with Advanced Inventory. Both Fishbowl and ACCTivate ‘take over’ where QuickBooks inventory leaves off to help those businesses that have heavy inventory requirements make the processes of inventory management streamlined and fully functional. These are what I term classical 'in lieu of QuickBooks inventory' products. This doesn't mean you don't need QuickBooks, you just don't need QuickBooks inventory for these products to 'do their thing'.
With both products you can turn-on, or purchase modules or configurations to achieve a wide reaching set of functions that are nearly identical between the two products by the time you get everything just so-so. For example, both software packages offer everything from simple to complex bills of material including variable build capabilities (the how maybe slightly different), but that would be like saying Godzilla 1 always leads with his right and Godzilla 2 always leads with his left. So what about things like batch processing, stock categorization, multiple units of measure, multiple vendors per product, processing variables/modifications and product substitution; yep, both Godzillas have these things going for them. Matrix inventory, lot and serial numbering, landed costs…..neither of these ‘mega monsters of inventory’ are lacking in these features either.
Is that the ‘made in Japan barcode’ I see on the tail of Godzilla 1? Sure enough it is on top of his tail, but the same ‘made in Japan barcode’ appears on the bottom of the tail of Godzilla 2….both our inventory beasts have barcodes….schmarcodes….no difference there in my way of thinking; and of course these barcode capabilities ‘far surpass’ QBES-Advanced Inventory. Sales order to work orders, sales orders to production orders, works orders to purchase orders, production orders to purchase orders (heck purchase orders to purchase orders) there is no end to the connectivity of these mega-monsters. Outsource tracking and parts scheduling…..stomp….stomp….stomp the two giants simply smash a little more Miniature-Tokyo real estate with equal functionality. Pricing rule variability, no problem; same goes for cost valuation (average, LIFO, FIFO, etc…..) it is as if these beasts were twins born of the same Queen rather than hatchlings from a distant radiated island.
Yes they can both do supply-chain and quality control tracking. Components can be tracked for arrival and departure dates, and expiration dates if applicable. Of course these are critical measures in a lot of specific industries such as food-related, medical and health care, aviation manufacturing and in many military and governmental manufacturing or supply requirements.
What about the ‘softer side’….like CRM, yep they both have it, they both allow you to customize it, and they both tie it back to QuickBooks for the bi-lateral exchange of data. You say ‘there must be something different as far as reporting’….well the layout of some reports is obviously different (big deal) and reports maybe called by different nomenclature but for the most part all of the standard reports are just that ‘standard’ as though built into the DNA of these two Godzilla’s of Inventory. Of course they both offer a variety of custom reporting functionalities that allow for you to ‘design your own’ pretty much with any of the reporting tools out there in the market like Crystal Reports.
Now a lot of inventory rich businesses don’t simply do their business here, so what about multi-currency support….yep they both can handle the ‘box office’ proceeds in US Dollars or Japanese Yen (along with other currencies of course), these creatures ‘know the value of a buck’ in any valuation or language. Supply chain and EDI functionality…..you guessed it…..they both offer it. For both products you can pretty much say the same for E-commerce and multi-channel sales management, point-of-sale integrations and just about everything else, like Godzilla standing between two mirrors (ouch, that would be three of them….).
Both of these products take over the inventory functions of QuickBooks, in other words either Godzilla is in charge of everything inventory even though they both offer ‘tight’ almost squeak less tight integration passing information back and forth between themselves and QuickBooks. Add a customer in-product, or add a customer in-QuickBooks, both are updated just the same. Vendors, no different…we will not find a Godzilla ‘roaring squawk’ from either mega-monster. The approach these products take in terms of how they work with QuickBooks is not my favorite format when I compare and contrast them to Rapid Inventory or QStock, but in terms of the ‘battle of the beasts’ neither is yielding the winning blow. And the full functional capabilities, by simple turn-on/off, modules or functional offerings of Godzilla 1 and 2 are ‘way beyond’ the other two products I just mentioned.
So what about web, and mobile support……can you say ‘yes’ they both can. Web integration and mobile applications with a variety of handheld devices supported; of course this also means that both have a ‘cloud solution’ to offer. Counting down, I did find one significant difference….at last. Fishbowl runs on the Firebird database engine, and ACCTivate uses Microsoft SQL, this is like one Godzilla having ‘Red Blood’ vs. one having ‘Green Blood’, and I am not going to presume which is better. But there is one reality, the Firebird database affords greater flexibility in Operating Systems, or course since QuickBooks is Microsoft based I am not sure this makes too much difference.
In our next article – ‘Godzilla vs. Godzilla - Round Two’, we will look deeper at some feature functions for each of these two Inventory Monsters…..I am sure you will want to stay tuned.