Solving Distribution and E-commerce Challenges with ERP Integration
Over the past few months, we have observed how this global crisis has reshaped many of our behaviors and accelerated the adoption of more innovative business practices. As people have embraced physical distancing, there has consequently been a decline in retail and brick-and-mortar shopping, creating massive growth in the e-commerce world.
While selling products across multiple online platforms and marketplaces can be very lucrative, it can also introduce new challenges for small and mid-sized businesses.
E-commerce Options and Challenges
Like other modern business technology, e-commerce trends are evolving to be more than basic websites and online order forms. In addition to a website that represents your business or brand, you may also deploy:
- A specific e-commerce webstore, highlighting your products and services, such as Magento
- Customer portals for returning customers or B2B clients
- Electronic data interchange (EDI)
- Distribution through an online marketplace like SAP Ariba, Wayfair, or Amazon
E-commerce gives customers an easier way to place orders, during and outside of normal business hours. However, while this branch of business is likely to result in additional sales and revenue, it can just as easily overburden accounting systems and employees. You may experience challenges with:
- Lost productivity from manually transcribing sales orders and other information into your accounting software from an e-commerce site
- Duplicated operations and delays with sharing the data between the e-commerce platform and accounting system
- Inadequate inventory control, struggling with synchronizing prices and stock levels between systems
- Complex tax requirements from sales in multiple regions or countries, making it difficult to manage tax liabilities manually or between separate systems
- Inaccurate shipping cost calculation and lack of delivery options
When managing multiple, disparate systems, it’s easy to make mistakes. You may lose sight of inventory and oversell products; or customer addresses could be mistyped and their products become lost during distribution.
The Value of ERP Software with E-commerce Integration
Get your e-commerce operation up and running efficiently at the very start by integrating e-commerce with your business management systems. Too many organizations overlook or avoid this integration due to concerns with additional costs or anticipating a low volume of transactions after launching a new e-commerce platform. The truth is, standardized business processes, streamlined inbound and outbound supply chain, and automated data collection bring significant value to your operations. ERP-integrated e-commerce provides greater control and insight over inventory, product data, sales, and customer relationships (SAP Business One integrates your CRM as well!). ERP integration helps in the following key areas:
- Orders Management and Fulfilment: Orders placed on your online store initiate the required processes: order confirmation, shipping rate calculation, label printing, invoicing, etc.
- Real-Time Inventory Visibility: Accurate stock levels are provided in real-time across your online distribution channels, mobile sales force, customer service team, and even to your distributors.
- Simple Catalog and Product Management: Product information (SKU, description, dimensions…) and custom pricelists synchronize to seamlessly feed your digital platforms with the most up to date information, directly from your ERP software database.
- Eliminate Manual Data-Entry: Automated, low valued-added tasks such as invoicing, product updates, or order entry, can greatly reduce operational cost, accelerate the entire order fulfilment process, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.
The N’ware and SAP Business One Advantage
Many great solutions are available for both ERP software and e-commerce platforms. That is why the key to your success is to find a partner you can trust to help you find a solution to fit your needs.
Start by finding your partner of choice to help you identify your needs, pick the proper software solution, and provide guidance and support throughout your growth.
SAP Business One is the perfect example of a robust, fully integrated, yet affordable business management system suitable for small and medium companies. Used by more than 70,000 small and mid-sized companies around the world, SAP Business One is the most advanced ERP solution available in terms of industry specific functionalities, and integration.
Please contact our team to discuss your business goals and plan your digital journey to success!
By N’ware Technologies, SAP Gold Partner for the United States, Canada and Ireland