Whether you run a wholesale nursery or a lawn and garden distribution business, every business should have a well-managed inventory control system that fits their specific business needs. Simplifying your inventory and order management process is an important area to consider in improving accuracy and service. After all, a well managed inventory is the first step in simplifying internal operations to serve your customers better.
The next step is ensuring that your inventory and online ordering solution work together to streamline the ordering process, including maintaining updated availability information. Retailers, landscapers, florists, and contractors all have one thing in common; they want to see your current inventory while they place orders. Building an order only to find out most of the products are unavailable is frustrating and wastes your customers time. Customers are far more likely to order from a supplier who they know they can rely on, so if you have updated inventory information, why not share with your customers online.
Why You Should Commit to Inventory Integration
Most businesses purchase and deploy an inventory control system long before they consider an online ordering solution. When the purchase decision is made to have online ordering, it typically operates separately and therein lies the problem. If your inventory system and online ordering solution have disconnected databases, you will consistently have to worry about keeping the data and product information synchronized. Whether it’s an online user placing an order or your staff who updates product availability, any changes implemented in one system will have to be transferred to the other when systems don’t communicate with each other.
Considering this is a manual process, having to wait for a database to update before you can, for example, process orders, replenish inventory levels and update availability for customers will result in slower operations and an increased risk of database errors.
When is the Best Time to Integrate
The short answer is, now. Integrating your inventory and accounting systems into your online ordering solution has never been easier or more cost-effective, and the demand for self-service wholesale ordering is increasing every year.
“86% prefer using self-service tools for reordering rather than talking to a sales representative.”
Source Statista, 2017
Self-service customer ordering offers wholesale suppliers and distributors opportunities to re-allocate resources to manage their inventory more efficiently and accurately. Online ordering has already taken the B2C world by storm, and the B2B world isn’t that far behind. Investing and adopting better processes early will keep you ahead of the curve and competition.
Inventory Integration that Fits with Your Business
Integration is all about information transferring from system to another. OrderEase can accommodate different integrations that work with your current inventory or accounting system. We aren’t reinventing the wheel here. We are just upgrading the tires.
Inventory integration can be broken down into two main functions, one-way integration or two-way integration.
One-way integration is exactly what it sounds like. Your data tables are “pushed” to your online ordering solution through an established API framework, either manually or at scheduled intervals automatically. The information only goes one way. For example, email integration involves a wholesale nursery sending an automated daily email with currently inventory, which pushes that product and pricing information into their online ordering platform.
Two-way Integration or fully-automated integration synchronizes the data between systems and keeps everything up-to-date in real time. Data is passed back and forth between your inventory system and your online ordering solution. For example, when an order is placed on OrderEase, the order information is transferred into your inventory system and updates inventory levels.
At OrderEase we make integrating your existing inventory or accounting system with your online ordering simple. So with nothing to lose and more time to gain, integration offers your business and customers a simplified ordering process.
The learn more about inventory integration read our ERP Integration Blog Series