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The 5 key benefits of ERP integration for any business

From higher efficiency to greater effectiveness in order management the benefits of connecting your ERP system with a commerce platform are clear as day. Learn more here...

Before jumping into the advantages of ERP integration, I’d like to first provide a brief overview of what ERP software is and can do.

At its core, ERP software manages a company’s database of information, automates routine tasks and simplifies business processes. Its main purpose is to optimize operations and eliminate manual processes for staff so they can focus on tasks that help to build and maintain a business. Essentially, ERPs streamline a lot of the busywork running a company takes.

What makes ERP software so unique is that it touches every aspect of a business, it’s an end-to-end solution with features related to:

  1. Accounting
  2. Customer relationship management (CRM)
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Inventory management
  5. Human resources
  6. Analytics and reporting

What is ERP integration, and why is it helpful?

ERP integration occurs when you add third party solutions to your existing ERP system to build out its functionality through digital connectivity. ERPs are fantastic tools, but they can’t do everything on their own. Every company has specific requirements they need to fulfill which can only be served by additions to their existing solutions.

This is especially true if your company’s needs are growing and changing. For example, if your company is expanding, your legacy system may not be robust enough for your growing business processes and needs. However, changing ERP systems is costly, resource and time consuming, and carries a high risk of setbacks. To bridge the gap, investing in integrations that can provide more functionality for your existing systems can help your ERP go the extra mile and bring it up to speed.

Middleware style order management solutions such as OrderEase are capable of just that by extending additional functionality outside the capabilities of your current ERP system as well as consolidating sales data from all of the sales channels you do business with. This is exactly what we have done with the OrderEase integration with QuickBooks Online and many others such as NetSuite, Sage, BlueLink and Spire.

The 5 key benefits of ERP integration

We could go into a deep dive on every aspect of how integration benefits your business, but we’re going to condense it down to the 5 key ways introducing an integration into your ERP system will help your company.

As our area of expertise focuses on order management, we’re going to be focusing on what an online ordering integration can do for your business.

1. An increase in productivity

While there are many benefits to ERP integrations, the most important one is time. The productivity in your organization will see a dramatic decrease in manual data entry, as well as order processing and order fulfillment time.

Third party integrations for online ordering can nearly eliminate all the manual work required to get orders prepared for your customers. This gives your employees more time to focus on vital tasks. With higher levels of automation for the small stuff, your salespeople will be able to spend more time prospecting, and less maintaining their existing relationships. 

Your employees will appreciate this and notice the difference, according to the Harvard Business Review and Salesforce:

  • 90% of workers feel that automation increases productivity
  • 85% think they can collaborate better due to automated tools
  • 90% feel more satisfied with their jobs after introducing automation
  • 80% said they had more time to focus on core aspects of their job
  • 90% also trust automated solutions to get more done without making errors.

2. Better mobility and connection to sales channels

By syncing your ERP with an online order management system, sales reps will have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips while they’re on the road. You can give them access to every single one of their current customer orders and your inventory, alongside current pricing. This provides your salespeople with an efficient and fluid process, keeping them selling and not worrying about whether they have the latest catalog or pricing on hand.

In addition to providing a robust system for sales reps and customers, if your order management system has capabilities to integrate with your sales channels you have a solution to aggregate all of your orders to digitally transmit into your ERP. This means reduced errors and faster processing, and the ability to increase capacity to bring on new channels for your company. 

3. Improved order and inventory management

If you integrate your ERP system with your online ordering solution, you can take the legwork out of aligning your online ordering platform with your internal data, such as inventory or updated pricing.

When both systems fluidly communicate with each other, then all of your data management can be done in your ERP system and seamlessly propagated into your online ordering solution, and vice versa. This reduces the time spent in data entry and order management across your organization, and provides full visibility across the board to you, your reps, and your customers.

4. Reduction of errors and data duplication

If your ordering system isn’t fully integrated from start to finish, it’s wide open for mistakes, inefficiency, and lost productivity all due to human error. People will routinely make mistakes during data entry, a study has shown the average error rate for manual data entry averages around 1%.

That can add up to a significant amount of errors in your business, from confusion which requires investigation to major orders shipping the wrong items. By shifting to an integrated solution with your ERP, you’ll quickly see a reduction in errors when entering orders, products, customer information and other data. 

Having consistent reliable data is the best way to gain better insight into your customer base, build better relationships and determine where there is potential for growth. With confidence in the information you have, you can also start to have clear and accurate analytics to work with. Clean data always makes for better business practices and faster decision making. 

5. Easy training

We alluded to it earlier in this article, changing your current ERP is a huge challenge for both your IT team and your sales staff (really, for everyone who is affected by it). Change management on such a large scale is brutal, and it might not even be the most effective thing for your company. Gartner estimates 75% of all ERP change projects fail. This is mostly due to a combination of poor change management practices and unclear goals for the technology.

However, if your ERP isn’t currently working for all your needs, integrations can help bring it in line with your company’s goals without breaking the bank or forcing you to risk productivity in a major change management program.

People like working with what they already know, and adding new things to a familiar system can help them get up to speed quickly without feeling overwhelmed.

OrderEase can function both as a middleware between your sales channels and your ERP making you EDI compliant or fully API integrated, as well as be a user interface for both your team and customers for placing and managing orders.

If you want to learn more about how OrderEase can extend functionality of your ERP, we recommend having a conversation with one of our team members so we can learn more about your business and how we can help you. Book a discovery call here. 

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