Integrating ERP, eCommerce is a key business consideration. We often team with organizations looking to improve ordering and fulfillment processes by extending and integrating existing ERP and eCommerce. This need arises when the company operates within a complex sales environment that might include direct and indirect selling through corporate, partners, resellers, affiliates and other sales channels.
Many companies we speak with either have underachieved or not achieved the introduction of an eCommerce channel into their ERP strategy. They are burdened by inefficient ordering processes with an over-reliance on manual handling when it comes to tracking customer- or country-specific catalogs and prices, complex address management, automated pricing authorizations, approvals and other process flows. The sales order process takes too much time, is error-prone and resource intensive.
By integrating current and future eCommerce capabilities, a company can avoid the bottlenecks associated with a complex sales cycle. ERP and eCommerce integration automates the flow of data about items, inventory, orders, customers and other pertinent sales records between independent systems for an overall improved process.
ERP and eCommerce Integration Projects
Typically, integrating ERP and eCommerce is a multi-phased project. It requires a systematic approach to design, develop and launch a high performing, easy to use eCommerce portal so it’s easy for customers to place orders quickly, track shipments, view sales history, ordering history, pricing, order fulfillment and other key information.
In most cases, a project starts with current and future state business process mapping, Ordering processes for each sales channel are documented, analyzed and rated. Problems and opportunities for improvement within the ordering function are identified. Of special consideration are the operational Impacts of ERP and eCommerce integration including forecasting, fulfillment models (pick pack ship vs. drop ship), material flow / warehouse design, customer service, and returns processing.
Once the future “desired” state of the eCommerce business process is developed, and ERP and eCommerce integration strategy is set, we find that eCommerce portal development typically follows phases including design, layout; content management; site flow; security; payment/PCI compliance; scalability and leading engines compare/contrast.
ERP and eCommerce Integration Points
ERP and eCommerce integration design is a multi-phased approach, which requires access to information contained in the backend ERP systems. Integration points include:
- Master Data Synchronization
- Content Management synchronization
- Inventory / Available to Promise synchronization
- Order Processing
- Payment Processing
- Order Status Synchronization
- Data State Management
Key considerations include security, compliance requirements, and building the eCommerce platform for scalability and ease of use. The eCommerce platform should be flexible and scalable enough to meet changing regulations, deliver excellent customer service, enable meaningful business analytics, and support complex business models.
Next Steps: ERP and eCommerce Integration
When mid-market manufacturers have a need to integrate ERP and eCommerce to meet the demands of the online marketplace, they are wise to team with experienced independent ERP consultants who can help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire process.
Smart manufactures turn to Ultra for the best practices and key methodologies to streamline the data flows between the systems, and fully automate online sales for improved inventory visibility, order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.
Contact the Ultra Consultants team to discuss a robust and well-planned strategy for your organization.