The word “hive” is pretty evocative. It conjures up mental images of insects, architecture, and sweet, sweet honey. As a metaphor for business, it invokes both light and dark ends of a spectrum. On one hand, there’s productivity, cooperation, and organization– all very hive-like. Less appealing however, are concepts like groupthink, myopia, and identity loss.
It’s safe to assume that OpenXcell Technolabs had the positive traits of a bee colony in mind when they developed their application Orderhive. Created to handle inventory and other back-end tasks, this SaaS (Software As a Service) application is designed to help small to medium-sized companies stay organized. Using a variety of Integrations, you can sync sales, accounting, and shipping through one portal.
Although based in Ahmedabad, India, OpenXcell designs its products for the English speaking world. How does Orderhive stack up against its competitors? Let’s take a look.
The plans break down like so:
- 2 Integrations
- 2 Users
- 4 Integrations
- 4 Users
- 6 Integrations
- 6 Users
All include the following:
- Multi-channel integrations
- Inventory management
- Order management
- Purchase management
- Customer services
- Shipping management
- Mobile Apps for Orderhive
- Wholesale management
- Shipment tracking
Table of Contents
Web-Hosted or Locally Installed:
This is a web application. The software lives in the cloud.
Hardware and Software Requirements:
The only hardware requirements are a computer and a capable web browser.
Ease of Use:
My biggest takeaway from Orderhive is that the user experience (UX) is really strong. The software is great at teaching each task. The first time I generated a Sales Order, the interface walked me step-by-step through the fulfillment process. I was able to create a packing slip and confirm that the product shipped without having to reference help docs, or hunt around the interface.
Navigation for the app is handled by a left-hand sidebar that uses icons to symbolize the seven main functions available. Hover-over text reveals the function name, but you’ll find that it won’t take long for you to associate each symbol with the appropriate task. It’s a popular design choice these days, one I tend to gravitate towards. It saves valuable real estate in the interface.
The workflow itself is intuitive, and the software makes sure you’re never lost. For example, if you don’t have any sales people in the system, Orderhive will automatically take you to a page where you can you add agents. There was never a moment in my trial where I felt confused about where to go, what page I was on, or what task should come next.
Adding Integrations is also quick and easy. The test case of my Shopify store imported all my products to Orderhive immediately, and all orders placed through the former were pushed automatically to the latter. It was all very seamless.
The application contains these main tools:
- Dashboard: Contains an overview of your account, including sales stats and analytics
- Manage Channels: A portal that allows you to add/delete Integrations, or view/edit your current ones
- Sales Orders: Displays orders, along with their fulfillment status
- Contacts: Stores all of your customers and suppliers
- Inventory: Allows you to manage your stock levels, add new products, and adjust pricing
- Purchase Orders: Displays your purchase orders, and allows you to create new ones
- Tracking: Providers tracking information for all shipments
- Reports: Displays statistics for your account that can be exported into a spreadsheet format
The basic workflow of Orderhive is pretty simple. You can start by setting up your Integrations, importing products from your sales channels (or manually inputting them if that’s more your speed), making any necessary edits or adjustments to your stock, and then using the software to quickly and easily keep track of your inventory, with a decent array reporting tools. It doesn’t take long to get off the ground.
Built into the top navigation bar are a handy shipping calculator, a link to some mobile Apps, a Help dropdown, and a tab for your user settings. The top left-hand corner of the page also contains an “Add” button that allows you to quickly populate your account with a new sales channel, sales order, customer, supplier, or purchase order.
Of all the Features available, the Orderhive team is most proud of their custom builds. Each user works with a customer service agent to setup a tailor-made solution for their business. The marketing representative I spoke was also eager to point out that Orderhive supports many different currencies, which is great for organizations that do a lot of international business.
There are also two Mobile Apps currently on offer. The Order Management App lets you print shipping labels, create shipments, and track sales from a smart phone. The Mobile POS app provides a way to process orders from outside the office or storefront. The Order Management App has versions for both Apple and Android phones. The Mobile POS app is currently Android-only, with plans to add Apple in the future.
Note: As of the publish date of this review, the Apple Store versions of these Apps are not available in the United States. I don’t have an Android device, so I can’t vouch for how well the Apps work. Any readers who have had a chance to test these things out should feel free to post in the comments.
Customer Service and Support:
At this point I feel the need to point out my biggest issue with Orderhive (from the standpoint of an American company): the language barrier. The team at OpenXCell are skilled engineers, but their English is not up to the standard I’d expect from an organization that’s targeting North American and European businesses.
I could not find a page on the Orderhive website that didn’t have a grammatical error on it. The support tab asks you to “Leave a Feedback.” On the Features section of the homepage, you’ll find this blurb: “Any status change of orders is real-time updated to integrated channels.” After awhile, parsing these kind of sentences can become a little annoying. Thankfully, the interface avoids using text whenever possible.
I’m not making the previous point to be snarky or condescending. I think that when dealing with a company, it’s important to consider how well you’ll communicate with the support team. Now, my own interactions with the Orderhive team never left me feeling like there was a crippling language barrier. I should reiterate, though, that Orderhive’s biggest selling point is that they do custom builds for each customer, and that kind of work require excellent communication between the developer and the client.
I will say that the quality of writing in the help docs is higher than what I’ve seen on Orderhive’s website. That was encouraging.
Customer support itself was passable but not excellent. The agent I spoke with was friendly, and they were able to communicate with me pretty well. Again though, their grammar and punctuation were not at the level I’d expect from an English language support representative.
Also, I had an agent abandon one of my chats. That’s never a good sign. For what it’s worth, their initial response time was quick.
Here are the Business Intelligence Tools that are currently available:
- Top Customers
- Inventory Status
- Low Stock Product
- Sales Order History by Customer
- Sales Order History by Channel
- Shipment Summary
- Purchase History
- Product Performance
- Custom Report
- Contact Customer Service for a Quote
There are no analytics tools available to speak of. Basically, what you get with Orderhive are statistics that can be exported into a spreadsheet format.
- Point Of Sale
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
I took some time to scour the web for bad reviews of Orderhive, but didn’t come up with anything. While that is a promising sign, I also wouldn’t read too much into it.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
The reviews I’ve found for Orderhive are basically all positive, saying that the tech is great, the software is easy to use, and the customer service team is friendly and helpful. There is particular love for how quickly information from Sales Channels updates in the App. I can back that up from my own experience.
“So far so good! We are currently using it for stock management between bigcommerce and Amazon UK & it’s working a treat. Super fast stock adjustments being pushed to the selling platforms within seconds. Where other platforms out there can take up to 30mins to push stock updates which has caused over selling at times. They also added Parcelforce onto the shipping options for us which was great.”– Lawrence Lindsey-Dean, infusions4chefs.co.uk
“Orderhive has been a great boon to my online business with their seamless management systems of catalog management as well as order fulfillment! Any issues faced are swiftly tackled by their great team, who have often gone out of their way to help us even on public holidays!”-Anand Sankar, Smytten
Orderhive uses HTTPS to encrypt web traffic to and from its application.
Orderhive is a well designed, solid piece of tech. As I mentioned earlier, I’m impressed by the UX, and with how nimble the App runs. Granted, that was for my small test case. I’d be interested to see how it handles a larger volume of stock for a company that takes orders in the tens of thousands. To date though, the online community seems happy. We’ll see if that changes.
For an American business, my biggest concern is that language gap. I don’t mean for the big picture stuff, but for the more nuanced interactions between your company and the developers, where really specific ideas need to be communicated. I also think that Orderhive lags behind its competition in the Reports department, with a lack of any visual tools, data mining, or advanced analytics.
As with any business tool, it’s best to evaluate what your company needs from a solution and try to determine if the pluses outweigh the minuses. If you’re already using an Inventory SaaS, and are frustrated with your current solution, I would definitely give Orderhive a try. You might find it’s the right fit for your own small to mid-sized insect colony. Buzz, buzz.
Check out the free trial here.