The Customer is King: 4 ERP Tools for Better Customer Management

August 4, 2014

Customer Relationship ManagementERP software is designed to streamline all aspects of a company’s operations – this includes inventory, accounting, contact management, order entry and processing, warehouse management and everything in-between.  As a wholesale distribution company this allows you to process and ship more orders with fewer people, ultimately achieving the goal of any company; increasing sales while reducing costs.  However, any successful company will know that it takes more than efficient processes to grow sales; it also involves managing customer relationships and keeping customers happy.  The customer is King, and proper ERP software can provide you with tools to better engage your customers while making their lives easier as well.

CRM

An ERP system with an integrated Customer Relationship Management component allows you to keep track of all of your vendor, prospect and customer information in one central database. A strong CRM system lets you input customer data, log field changes and sales rep information, set follow-up dates, maintain a record of verbal and email communication, specify primary contact information and link to any outstanding invoices or quotes. Using a CRM will help your company stay organized and keep customers satisfied, ensuring that any information about customers and prospects is easily accessible with action items clearly displayed.

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Part 2 of 2: What You “Need-to-Know” about Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

June 10, 2014

virtual-logistics-ediLast week, we wrote about the basics of EDI, and the advantages it can provide your company. As promised, we’re back for Part 2 with an overview of the opportunities EDI can provide, as well as some advice from Robin Smith of Virtual Logistics about picking a solution.

Like we said in Part 1 of this series, EDI represents a set of standards, outlining formats for how information should be electronically communicated between two parties. Oftentimes, large companies require their suppliers to follow these standards. If your company uses EDI, it opens up the door to be able to do business with these larger distributors or retailers. Furthermore, the automation associated with EDI works to reduce errors and operate more efficiently. This will allow your company to focus more energy on other parts of the business. Your team will now be able to think more strategically about growing the business or developing relationships with customers and partners, instead of getting bogged down with administrative tasks.  We also spoke a little bit about the importance of choosing an ERP system that will integrate with EDI. When everything from purchase to billing at your company must meet EDI standards, make sure you are using an ERP system that has the capability to facilitate integration with EDI translation services!

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Part 1 of 2: What You Need-to-Know about Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

June 2, 2014

EDIYou may have heard the term “Electronic Data Interchange” (or “EDI”) being used around your office, warehouse, distribution facility, or even among your suppliers and competitors. But what does it mean exactly? EDI represents a set of standards, outlining formats for information that can be electronically exchanged between 2 parties. EDI is used in companies for many reasons. For example, it allows for easy communication between locations, it helps track and update inventory, and can even be used to transmit financial information and payment in electronic form (Electronic Funds Transfer or EFT).

While it may seem cumbersome to follow this set of guidelines, EDI can provide many benefits to your company, especially if it is properly integrated into a robust ERP system. When searching for an ERP solution to manage your inventory and accounting needs, look for something that can facilitate integration with EDI translation services. This integration will allow the import and export of transactions between your ERP system and approved EDI service providers. The use of EDI and proper ERP-EDI integration has many advantages for your business:

  • Automation: EDI-based transactions communicate the same information as paper-based transactions, but they involve far less human intervention. For example, if a sales order is received through EDI, the vendor will not need to key in the customer’s information and manually update inventory – this will be done automatically.
  • Greater flexibility: EDI allows companies to more easily work with electronic customer data, such as vendor tracking, purchases and returns, shipping, and inventory count.

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