What Is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is business management software used by bigger corporations to streamline processes in operations, planning, purchasing, finance, human resources, manufacturing, and sales, by combining data from CRM, excel sheets, finance & ordering software.
ERP’s main purpose is to increase efficiencies in business processes and minimize costs through optimization across all departments.
It should be noted that ERP is a complex system that requires a team of professionals to integrate, maintain, and analyze the data. This is a major reason why ERP is a prerogative of big corporations that can afford to allocate significant investment for such a sophisticated piece of software engineering.
ERP vs CRM: How Are They Different?
CRMs: Affordable Software for Small & Medium Business For Sales & Marketing: To Earn More
CRM, or customer relations management software is primarily a contact management system with task and deal management modules, calendar, and reporting functions.
Most of the best CRM solutions will have a SaaS version – which usually translates to a very affordable price tag. Such solutions are stored on a cloud, making them accessible via mobile phones as well as desktops.
CRM is of immense use for marketing, sales, and customer care departments. They help make more money by enabling efficient communication with prospects and clients.
ERPs: Pricey Software for Big Corporations for Purchasing, Operations & HR: To Spend Less
Enterprise Planning Software mostly deals with purchasing, planning, accounting, HR, and streamlining all the cost centers.
ERP systems are usually designed for in-house deployment and are kept on the company's servers. Needless to say, this is one of the reasons why they are so expensive to implement and maintain.
ERPs help to save costs and minimize overhead, focusing on the accounting, planning, manufacturing & purchasing realms of business.
Best ERP Solutions to Streamline Your Expenses
The playing field here in the development of ERP solutions is not as crowded as it is with CRM offerings because of the much more extensive functionality and mostly in-house deployment of this business management software.
Below are some of the best ERPs:
Streamline eCommerce Through ERP Integration
Things may get mundane, boring, and outright irksome with eCommerce.
This is when an integrated ERP solution can help. A lot.
However smart your reporting module in the eCommerce solution you are using may be, the resource planning system will build on those functionalities and provide a different dimension to existing data.
Let's review the aspects on which the integrated ERP system will enhance your eCommerce performance:
Order Placement Automation
Placing an order for a dozen items is no big deal; it could even be fun.
Placing an order for hundreds of thousands of SKUs is close to a life and death situation.
Humans need technology to survive such a stressful workload. This is when the ERP platform comes to the rescue, helping to automate the process.
The system can sum up the delivery rates based on location and weight or set off on the process of label creation.
Real-Time Inventory Updates
Overselling is a bummer. The customer is unhappy, your customer care department is stressed, your accounting staff has to do extra work to refund the money if the item is out of stock.
The best ERP systems will easily ensure the synching of the inventory across channels upon a purchase event. No more over-selling hassle.
Bulk Promotion & Discount Adjustments
Changes in eCommerce may take forever, especially during a promo campaign. With thousands of items to mark down or adjust the price for, the resource planning platform can take care of this tedious task.
Email Automation & Customer Notifications
When the relationship between ERP and eCommerce is all set, one of its functions is to send updates automatically to your clients about their order, its status, any delays, etc.
Advantages of ERP Integration with Retail & eCommerce
Depending upon the scale of your business and the skill set of your analytical team, the benefits of integrated ERP solutions are exponential.
Let's review some of the most basic benefits of the integration of ERP software for eCommerce that no etailer should overlook:
Real-Time Stock Management
Updating your stock manually is not an option when we are talking about managing an eCommerce store with thousands of items.
ERP helps to ensure every event, like purchasing an item through an online or offline store, gets registered and the data gets refreshed for correct inventory numbers.
Track Orders Efficiently
Also ERP often is used to optimize order tracking when integrated with the eCommerce platform.
Customers can get automated updates based on pre-programmed events like a departure from the warehouse, delivery to a threshold, or delay.
Accounting Processes Automation
Accounting is important for business owners, allowing them to adjust the trajectory of business development based on actual figures. Accounting is also vital for governmental relations and tax payments – nobody likes paying fines due to human error miscalculations.
This is why ERP is an amazing tool for streamlining all of the accounting processes under one digital roof. Not only do you combine all of the existing data sources in one, but you also get the option to perform forward-looking analysis based on past data to improve your business model.
Demand Growth Management
If you keep selling a steady number of items per month or if you double, triple, or quadruple it in no time – the Enterprise Resource Planning system will ensure smooth operation.
No need to worry or double the team to service higher volumes of sales. As long as the item is programmed, ERP cares not if it has one or a thousand events to process.
Popular ERP Integration Methods
Depending on how the data flows between the systems during the integration:
- from one source or multiple sources,
- into one source or multiple sources,
- is one-way synch,
- or two-way synch,
- is real-time, near-real-time or event-based,
there exist these popular ERP Integration patterns:
- Migration (from a single source to a single source, one-way synch)
- Broadcast (from a single source to multiple sources, one-way synch, ongoing or real-time)
- Aggregation (from multiple sources to a single source, one-way synch)
- Bi-directional synchronization (multiple sources to multiple sources, bi-directional synch in real-time mode)
- Correlation (like bi-directional synch, but with an extra correlation step based on certain criteria).
How Do You Implement Seamless eCommerce ERP Integration?
When considering a vendor that can implement ERP for eCommerce, look for an understanding of the overarching function of the interconnected systems that is forward-looking and is capable of expansion to fit the future needs.
As a result of the data pushes, the ERP should be updated with information on clients, payments, orders, shipment details, and inventory changes.
The eCommerce store platform needs to be getting updates on pricing, promo campaigns, product descriptions, new SKU added, etc.
A two-way integration is an optimal method for retail ERP systems to implement. In all likelihood, your company may want to add another software layer in-between: a PIM.
But out of the 5 top ERP integration methods, you might want to go for bi-directional synchronization of correlation pattern for best results.
TechStack Framework Integration Considerations
Discuss with your integration team the core question: “What are the pieces of the puzzle that will need to exchange data at the end of the day?”
On top of the basic ERP and eCommerce platform, you might want to add PIM, inventory management, and order management software to the stack.
SaaS Cloud System for Best Connectivity
Real-time updates are crucial for eCommerce. A second delay in the system loading speed costs a significant drop in conversion.
This is why opting for a SaaS solution is a wise decision, as you can take advantage of the API that’s easy to manage during the process and in the maintenance stage, and works in real-time mode.
Select Seasoned Vendors
The process of eCommerce integration with ERP is extensive with much technical nuance. Unless your IT department has a veteran of integration on board, chances are you will look to hire help with expertise in the field. Smart move.
Planning is essential here and will help prevent downtime, cut costs, and ensure a smooth transition. Make sure your chosen partner supplies you with a detailed algorithm of the process with all costs, deadlines, potential hiccups mapped out.
Testing Now, Then and In Between
Testing will save you money. Lots of it, potentially.
You can spot a mistake yourself proactively during an across-the-board post-integration test.
You can let your fast-decreasing sales figures reveal an error that occurred during the process of ERP system integration.
Train Your Maintenance & Analytics Team
Training your team on how to handle the systems is crucial for smooth operation and the best ROI for your company.
Ensure the daily lists are updated with new manuals and your training going forward for newcomers includes updated instructions.
Ask your custom eCommerce development company to provide initial training and support, and discuss the terms of those services.
Zoolatech Expertise in eCommerce And ERP Integration
Now that you know what is an ERP and why companies use it, you have a list of the best ERPs and an in-depth understanding of the Enterprise Resource Planning systems integrations, let us tell you why Zoolatech is a good choice for the mission of connecting your store with the tool.
- We specialize in retail & eCommerce software development
- We have an extensive portfolio of cases in eCommerce that we proudly boast of.
- We are rooted in Silicon Valley, so our business ethics & corporate culture are sourced in Western business infrastructure.
- Our technical team is based in Kyiv, Ukraine – enjoying amazing working conditions, bombarded with educational opportunities – yet competitively priced.
If you are tasked with the mission to conduct integration of your eCommerce platform with ERP – talk to our team first. We will provide insights into your specific case based on your information, budgets, deadlines, tech-stack, and other key particulars.