Distribution ERP Software – Integration vs. Automation

March 31, 2014

distribution automation vs, integrationOne of the greatest advantages of a sophisticated distribution ERP system is that it allows companies to easily integrate with other software or websites. This includes integrating with a CRM system, a payroll add-on, or eCommerce websites. Even though all these systems talk to one another, it does not necessarily mean that your company’s processes are automated. It is true that in order for there to be automation where multiple systems are in play, some form of integration is necessary. However, automation goes one step further and does not require any human interaction. Here is a simple comparison between integration and automation, looking at someone buying products online:

An interested buyer wants to buy t-shirts, so she submits her order to an online shopping site, say Amazon. She will specify exactly what she would like to purchase along with her credit card information. Her credit card is pre-authorized by Amazon’s software, and the order is received by the company that actually distributes the t-shirts. At this point, the t-shirt vendor’s internal distribution ERP system will need to be updated to account for this purchase. Through integration, the vendor’s software will be able to pull information from Amazon into their ERP system. The connection between these 2 systems implies that they are integrated. The next step is where the difference between integration and automation comes into play. There are two basic approaches for Amazon and the internal ERP system to exchange data:

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Sometimes Accounting Inventory Software Bells and Whistles Can Wait

March 13, 2014

ERP Software Additional ComponentsAs with any large corporate investment, implementing new accounting and inventory ERP software is a time and resource consuming process.  Although this can be daunting when first starting the search process, the benefits gained from properly implementing an automated, all-in-one system, to manage all your business processes across departments will almost always outweigh the costs. For businesses moving from mostly manual processes or an introductory system, it can be exciting to learn about all the new advantages to be gained from the functionality and components offered by a more sophisticated system.  However, there are a lot of efficiencies to be gained right from the start when upgrading to a proper system even before adding in all the bells and whistles that come as additional components.  It may seem counterintuitive for a vendor to be down-selling the product, but there are various reasons why wanting to implement too many components from the get-go can be a bad idea.

Consider the Costs

Many ERP systems will provide functionality such as inventory, accounting, contact management, order entry and processing and warehouse management as part of their base offering. In most cases, additional components that are more unique to specific types of businesses can be added – but at an additional cost. These types of components include: barcode scanning, eCommerce integration, lot tracking, and landed cost tracking, and are not necessarily needed by every company.  Even companies who claim they need specific components such as sophisticated barcode scanning, may be able to benefit from a less expensive option.  This is why it is important to speak with vendors who will spend the time needed to learn about your business, in order to offer guidance on what components you could use, as opposed to vendors who try to upsell their product.  Fully evaluating which additional components your business actually needs, vs. wants, may dramatically impact the overall software cost.

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Looking to Replace QuickBooks? Consider the Following…

March 7, 2014

Considering Replacing QuickBooks?Investing in ERP software is a huge decision for a company of any size. Moving from manual processes or an introductory system such as QuickBooks to completely automated, sophisticated practices can be a costly, time-consuming, and often confusing, decision-making process. So where should you start? Consider this list of basic questions to ask yourself…

Cloud or On-Premises?

Today, one of the biggest decisions facing companies regarding ERP implementations is whether to run the system on-premises or as a hosted solution. There are pros and cons to each option – it really does depend on your business model and needs. Here’s a brief look at some of the differences:

Cloud vs. On-Premises

There is no “right answer” when it comes to choosing between on-premises or cloud, so just be sure to do your research! (Of course the software suitability and vendor’s service level are even more important). Consider looking at a provider who will offer both, so your company has more flexibility to make a decision, will be given unbiased recommendations, and has the option of moving from one to the other.

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