For Arnaud Gabaudan, solving customers’ real needs is a top priority. His app, Inventory by erplain, is specifically designed to help small businesses efficiently manage their inventory and order management processes. He took time out of his busy schedule to discuss the importance of small business success.
“At erplain, we believe that small businesses are not only the backbone of a country’s economy, but also a strong source of future economic growth,” he wrote in a recent Firm of the Future post.
Inventory by erplain’s Background Story
Arnaud and his brother, Edouard, co-founded erplain, welcomed their first customer in 2015. Since then, they’ve grown tremendously, working with small businesses in 27 different countries.
Before erplain, Edouard worked for a small distributor in France. He faced the challenge of automating the company’s inventory and management processes, so he decided to create his own Excel spreadsheets. While this worked for a while, Edouard recognized the need for a more modern and efficient system. He and Edouard joined forces and developed Inventory by erplain using open source technologies used by most developers.
“Such a strong foundation is key to building a reliable and secure platform. That being said, we are very much in love with VueJS, and we try to integrate more and more of this framework in our existing code,” Arnaud says.
By ‘we’, he means he and his team of developers, who “have a genuine passion for new technologies.”
“’Building’ is in their DNA and they love the feeling of being able to help entrepreneurs grow their business,” he says.
And they have. Small distributors and wholesalers around the world use erplain’s inventory and order management platform, automating the creation of sales orders, invoices, and purchase orders.
The app allows users to:
- Reserve inventory until it is shipped or delivered in the Sales Order
- Update inventory in real time
- Create Purchase Orders from Sales Orders to optimize inventory
- Receive Drop Shipping support
- Link components and finished products as well as allocate inventory with Kitting/Assembly capabilities
- Store and sell products from multiple locations
- Transfer inventory between locations
- Set up multiple price levels (e.g. Retail and Wholesale price levels and Advanced price rules based on dates, customers, and location)
The app also allows users to synchronize their products, inventory, contacts, price, and reorder points with QuickBooks Online.
Deep Integration with QuickBooks Online
According to Arnaud, integrating with QuickBooks Online happened for several reasons. “First, it was one of the most requested features from customers and prospects. Second, we did some research on market share and growth, and we quickly realized that QuickBooks Online’s momentum was significant. Lastly, the quality of the local Intuit developer team was instrumental to convince us of the opportunity.”
The erplain team works closely with Intuit Developer, both in Canada and San Jose, and have found that Intuit fully supports and values its app ecosystem.
“We are partnering to increase the visibility of erplain among QuickBooks customers, therefore, helping Small Businesses find a solution that fits their needs,” he says. “The team at Intuit has been providing recommendations and stats to improve our app card in the QuickBooks App store. They also connected us with the extended Intuit team in other regions of the world.”
The technical resources, recommendations, and introductions by the Intuit Developer team have come in handy as erplain readies to release their two-way inventory integration with QuickBooks + Shopify, something Arnaud says is a highly anticipated feature. He also says their app will “soon support Lot numbers, Serial numbers, and Expiry dates.”
All of erplain’s new features stem from the team’s desire to meet their customers’ needs. Arnaud advises other developers to “listen to your customers, proactively collect feedback, and prioritize the development of new features based on this valuable information.”
The app’s QuickBooks App Store page reviews reinforce his advice. The app has received an overall rating of five stars with one review stating, “Arnaud and his team have been extremely responsive over the past year as we have for the first time created an inventory system for our business. It was a long process of research and trial and error for us to find an affordable, cloud-based platform we could use, understand, and that actually functioned.”
Inventory for erplain’s Tips and Tricks for Other Developers in the Intuit Developer Community
The Inventory for erplain app, which is available in English and French (Sales and purchase PDF documents are currently generated in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Swedish with more languages coming soon), has done very well. And with their success, the erplain team has garnered some savvy insights for other developers on the same journey.
“Be very careful when planning to build new integrations to other platforms. In this new world of connected apps, it is tempting to add new integrations to reach new customers. Adding a new integration is a significant investment for a developer team as it needs to be supported and maintained. Make the right choices and do it well,” Arnaud states.
As for emerging developer trends, he notes that erplain plans on remaining agile. “Our vision at erplain is to build a decoupled app with a single backend for multiple frontend depending on the device. The same technology can then be used on multiple platforms in order to simplify our code and update erplain faster.”
I can’t wait to see where erplain goes from here, and I appreciate Arnaud’s willingness to share his expertise with the Intuit Developer community. He, along with all of our Intuit Developer Spotlight series contributors, exemplify all that Intuit stands for. If you would like to join the Intuit Developer community, please contact our team today.
I’ll close with one more thought by Arnaud on the importance of community and customers: “Wherever you are on your app journey, invest some time to understand the needs and motivations of the community you are joining. For erplain, working closely with bookkeepers and accountants has been really valuable to build a product that solves real needs among their customers.”
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