It’s a hotly contested discussion in our house – which is better – DEAR Inventory or Cin7.
If you don’t know, WhichAddOn is the dream in action of my husband, Marlon and myself. Both Marlon and I are accountants by trade collectively with 25+ years of experience in inventory, manufacturing and warehouse management. Marlon loves the implementation work and the intricacies of taking the information from a client’s current system and making it one million times better in the cloud, without the headache of doing it yourself. I enjoy the challenge of finding the right solution to implement and the process of training our client’s team through a comfortable transition once the system is all set up by Marlon and his implementation team.
DEAR Inventory has had a huge amount of upgrades and releases over the past year. There really is not that much different between Cin7 and DEAR Inventory these days when you are looking at the systems at face value. The core advantages of DEAR Inventory I love are:
- Fully customisable document templates with a large document library
- Convert into almost any language in both web version and on printed documents
- All-in-one solution – POS, B2B, e-commerce and shipping integrations
- Price override functionality
- The price is right
- Smart workflow and easy to use for inexperienced users
- Deep two-way Xero integration
- Multiple suppliers per product
Fully customisable document templates with a large document library
DEAR Inventory has a huge range of documents that you can create for both internal and external use. There is your usual invoice, purchase order, picking slip, packing slip, delivery note etc. But then there are also receiving notes, production order, combined packing slips and so much more.
I also love that with DEAR Inventory the document templates are completely customisable in Microsoft Word like the customised Xero invoice feature Xero has. Anything that I can do in Word, I can do in DEAR – including adding images, colours, HTML links and more. If you have a business that is really strict – or maybe passionate is a better word – on branding and brand consistency – because your branding is awesome – then DEAR Inventory is certainly a winner with fully customisable document templates and their large document library.
Convert into almost any language in both web version and on printed documents
I didn’t know this until last week – but you can convert DEAR Inventory into almost any language. Printing in Thai is apparently an issue at this point, but DEAR has clients in Canada using DEAR Inventory in French and printing documents in French. You can easily convert DEAR into Mandarin with the click of a button on the main screen and more. DEAR Inventory is built on the UNICODE format and can be easily translated, so if this is something you need, this is a very powerful feature.
All-in-one solution – POS, B2B, E-commerce and shipping integrations
DEAR Inventory now has a built-in POS and B2B portal as well as all the wholesale functionality it has always had. This means that you can run your wholesale business but then also have all your retail operations connected to the same data, as well as take orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the B2B online ordering portal. These are features that Cin7 has had for some time, which DEAR Inventory have added over the last year with great success.
Price override functionality
DEAR Inventory has a very powerful price override functionality within Product Discounts that enables customer special pricing, volume discounts and more. It’s really nice to set up within the system once you have started using DEAR Inventory, however, importing huge amounts of customer special price lists, in the beginning, can be quite a task.
The price is right
DEAR Inventory in Australia is currently US$150 per month for all features and up to 3 users. You only need to pay more per user when you need more users. I think this is a great price point as you are getting amazing value for money with a smart solution. If you are managing inventory in your business with spreadsheets or struggling through managing your inventory with Xero inventory or QBO inventory, please take a moment to analyse how much time and money you waste doing this because I can guarantee it is worth more than US$150 per month in time wasted, mistakes made and more.
In comparison to Cin7, Cin7’s prices have just gone up and I think this will make DEAR Inventory a much more attractive option for those clients that don’t need EDI or affected by any of the disadvantages I have shared below.
Smart workflow and easy to use for inexperienced users
DEAR Inventory’s workflow-based functionality is almost beautiful. If Xero is the beautiful accounting software, DEAR Inventory is the beautiful inventory software. Training clients on DEAR is so easy once they understand how their business “looks” and “runs” in DEAR Inventory because it makes sense. You are almost forced through their logical workflow and you can easily see where a transaction is up to without running reports and extensive looking around.
Deep two-way Xero integration
DEAR Inventory made a very smart move about two years ago now, to build a deep two-way integration with Xero. When you connect DEAR Inventory with Xero, in it’s simplest form, DEAR pushes invoices from DEAR to Xero when invoices are authorised and supplier bills from DEAR to Xero when purchase orders are receipted and supplier invoices authorised. DEAR Inventory also receives the payments from Xero, can manage deposits, prepayments and more.
I have to say I was struggling to find many disadvantages to DEAR Inventory, however, there is one major functionality that is lacking and sticks out most. That is the available connections via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) with big retailers like Coles, Woolworths, Metcash IGA, Bunnings etc.
Here are the main disadvantages, I want you to know and I have explained each below.
- Limited EDI functionality
- Implementation is not as fast and flexible
- Customer special prices aren’t as easy to setup
- Product limit – 20,000 vs 50,000
- Price tiers limit of 10 vs 15
- Batch numbers on production runs are sequential
Limited EDI functionality
One of the major elements that DEAR Inventory has a disadvantage compared to Cin7 inventory is it’s EDI functionality. DEAR Inventory connects to EDI providers through Crossfire EDI, a New Zealand company. This connection works great and Crossfire will connect with new EDI suppliers and EDI vendors if they don’t already, however, it is my belief that when it comes to integrations, less is more.
Cin7 has native integrations with EDI suppliers and vendors within their EDI development team. If something goes wrong, you just go to Cin7. There isn’t another third party involved. Furthermore, Cin7 aims to be the world’s most connected inventory platform and therefore already has many integrations available.
Implementation is not as fast and flexible
Marlon loves Cin7’s ease of setup. You can copy and paste data from spreadsheets, straight into Cin7’s import screens. DEAR Inventory works in much the same way as many cloud solutions – even Xero – with the standard CSV templates that can’t be altered and must be formatted in particular ways. When you aren’t privy to fluid importing ways of Cin7, it doesn’t seem a big issue as that is how most work, but that’s certainly a disadvantage of DEAR Inventory over Cin7.
Customer special prices aren’t as easy to setup
Both DEAR Inventory and Cin7 can manage customer special pricing when you can upload a list of prices specific to that customer, which is even more powerful than price tiers. In Cin7, you map the price list to the customer from within the customer card – which can be imported in bulk and in DEAR Inventory, you set up the different customer prices within the product card. Again, DEAR Inventory can import the product lists also so each customer has their price and in many ways, the pricing functionality in DEAR Inventory is more powerful than Cin7, however, it’s not as easy to set up.
Product Limit – 20,000 vs 50,000
DEAR Inventory specifies that they allow up to 20,000 products before they will then need to dedicate and custom pricing for a client that has in excess of this product database. Cin7 does this after 50,000 products.
Price tiers limit of 10 vs 15
Excluding the customer special pricing, DEAR Inventory only allows 10 standard price tiers, whilst Cin7 can have 15 standard price tiers. Both systems can handle multi-currency and foreign currency price tiers for both customers and suppliers.
Batch numbers on production runs are sequential
DEAR Inventory has a quirky way of assigning batch and serial numbers in a production run which isn’t suitable for some clients. For example, if you are making 5 items and the batch number is ABC, the batch and/or serial numbers of those 5 items, will be ABC-1, ABC-2, ABC-3 etc.
As you can tell, I am a fan of DEAR Inventory. In the past, before the POS and B2B, we were putting many more clients onto Cin7, however, DEAR Inventory certainly stepped up. At this stage, the major determinant for new clients needing inventory is whether or not they will require EDI connections for major retailers. From then on, it’s a matter of understanding the intricate details about our client’s processes, needs and their “wish list” items so we can ensure that they will have the right system moving forward into the future for success in the cloud.
As I always say, “life is better in the cloud.” DEAR Inventory is worth a look for sure, however, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to book in a free 45-minute scope call with me (Jeri – the Solutions Architect) to ensure that you find the right inventory system in the cloud for your business.
Alternatively, if you are already using DEAR Inventory with Xero or using DEAR Inventory with QuickBooks Online and you want to ensure it’s set up correctly and optimised to it’s fullest potential for your business, please get in touch with us to find out more about our Look Under the Hood service.