New Zealand-based inventory specialist Unleashed is expanding its UK operation.
Claiming to be the most popular dedicated inventory application for Xero, Unleashed started life in 2009 as the brainchild of Auckland-based stock and distribution manager Greg Murphy.
“Having seen back-office systems first-hand from startups to multinationals, he was aware of the disparity between the millions spent at the top end and the humble spreadsheets typically used in small businesses,” Unleashed territory manager Stephen Jones told AccountingWEB.
Unleashed was the result of his efforts to close that gap. The application is designed to be an online supply chain management tool catering for operational teams, sales staff and finance, with modules to manage stock, to control purchasing and handling of materials that go into finished items, and the distribution of those goods to customers.
There are four price points and user tiers based on the business size, number of users and volume of transactions. These range from £66/mo to £519/mo and a typical UK business would pay around £150-£250 a month for a multi-user system, said Jones. Typically Unleashed is accessed by operational users such as warehouse and purchasing managers as well as those in sales and finance who might need to dip in and out to monitor stock levels or costs.
“There’s a lot of powerful reporting so people can analyse changing costs, sales and profitability to see if they are winning or losing,” said Jones.
As well as Xero, Unleashed can work in tandem with QuickBooks Online.
UK manufacturing hotspots
Unleashed has had a local presence since 2016 to support a “smattering” of UK users, but started expanding its base in Bristol towards the end of the year with a view to establishing it as the company’s headquarters for the northern hemisphere.
Those early UK customers flagged up growth opportunities that encouraged the companies to focus on this country for the near term. “The early adopters who came to us gave us an idea where we could gain traction, for example among UK food and beverage manufacturers, health supplement and pharmaceutical companies and high-tech spin-offs from universities such as medical equipment manufacturers,” Jones said.
In most cases Unleashed works directly with business customers, but has noticed that UK accountancy practitioners play a more prominent role in software selection than in other countries.
Cope with complexity
Accountants are generally less focused on stock control than their clients, and cloud adoption has in this country has mainly been led by service-based businesses. “They have a lot less complexity in their back offices than manufacturers. An accounting firm looking to convert clients to more modern systems, for example, to deal with MTD, will look at the low hanging fruit,” Jones said.
In the coming months, Unleashed will be looking to educate both practitioners and business customers about the benefits of using online stock control systems.
“Some businesses won’t make the move from Sage 50 to Xero unless they know there’s a robust inventory system available. It’s up to us to provide that alternative,” Jones said.
“You’ll see plenty of work on training sessions, events, webinars and guides that explain what inventory best practice should look like in 2020, so people are more aware of what can be achieved with today’s business systems.”
About John Stokdyk
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.