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.
In the most basic sense, ERP software is a tool that manages a company’s database of information, automates routine tasks and simplifies business processes. The main purpose of ERP software is to optimize operations and eliminate manual processes for staff so they can focus on more important tasks. These goals typically lead to an increase in revenue margins as well as efficiencies while improving visibility and communication across the company.
ERP software is unique in that it touches many, if not all, aspects of a business. It is an end-to-end solution with features such as:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Inventory Management
- Human Resources
- Analytics and Reporting
What is ERP Integration?
ERP integration is the bringing together of a company’s online ordering solution with their accounting and inventory management systems.
In our case at OrderEase, it is the harmonization of our OrderEase online order platform and our clients’ back-end systems providing a company’s customer base with real-time data on their products and current inventory, while automatically receiving orders directly into their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system.
5 Benefits of ERP Integration
Although I could go into a deep dive on every aspect of how this benefits your business, I’ve condensed it down to these 5 key benefits of ERP integration.
Although there are a number of benefits to ERP integration, the most substantial benefit is time. Your business productivity will see a dramatic decrease in manual data entry, order process time and order fulfillment. Once the data is flowing, your touch points are minimal.
Because of the wide range of processes that can be automated, your employees will now have more time to focus on essential tasks that require human input.
It is critical to your sales reps to have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips, while on the road. With your ERP in sync with your online ordering solution, your sales reps have instant access to all customer orders and inventory, alongside your products and pricing. This provides your sales rep with an efficient and fluid process that keeps them selling and not have to worry about whether or not they have the latest catalog or pricing.
Improved Order and Inventory Management
Without a fully integrated system, your business is wide open for mistakes, inefficiency and lost productivity all due to human error. By integrating your ERP system with your online ordering solution, you take the guess work out of data entry. Both systems fluidly communicate with each other, and once set-up, is relatively seamless. All of your data management is done in one system and propagates out to your online solution and back, reducing your time spent in data entry and order management. It also gives full visibility across the board between you, your reps and your customers.
Reduction of Errors and Duplication
Data entry can be a tedious prospect, not to mention the possibility of errors and duplicate information is very high. As a by-product of reduced manual entry, you will also see a reduction in errors when entering in orders, products, customer information and other data. Your ERP system uses information differently than your online ordering solution, so integration provides the same rules for each system to make sure they are communicating in sync.
Not only does this provide you with a better insight into your customer base, it can help you build lasting relationships and determine where there is potential for future growth. Consistent data gives you better analytics and reporting, so you can track changes in your customers preferences, profitability, and loyalty.
Reduction in Employee Training
With integration both your IT and sales staff continue using the existing system that they are already used to. Adoption of a new system or process is always a challenge with businesses, especially when your staff is comfortable with the current solution. With a single, unified solution your IT staff will not have the production and maintenance time typical of maintaining multiple systems. Your sales staff will appreciate that they only have to work with one system and not have to adopt new processes for the way they currently work.
Well that’s it in a nutshell. As you can see, integrating your ERP system has a huge impact on your business operations.
Learn more about inventory integration