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The Significance of ERP Integration

4 years ago
Rita K

You have an ERP. It has a warehouse / inventory module. It isn’t very good. What are your options? How best to seize that opportunity? Should you consider a Warehouse Management Software (WMS) system and how do you insure that its integration with your ERP will be seamless and productive?

WMS functionality is something you may never have examined in significant detail. What is WMS functionality? There is a cornucopia of functions that a sophisticated WMS can offer. These include:

  • Automated receiving.
  • Purchase order automation and forecasting.
  • Automated inventory putaway.
  • Automated quality control item selection.
  • Extremely rapid training of new warehouse personnel.
  • RF (radio frequency) handheld devices that eliminate paper.
  • Enormous reduction of putaway and picking errors.
  • Immediate availability of incoming inventory to production / picking / shipping.
  • Perfect integration between order receipt and fulfillment.
  • Automated advice to marketplaces and customers of order, inventory, picking, and shipment status.
  • Warehouse mapping for optimal use of space.
  • Never send your pickers to a location without the correct equipment for the location and the order.
  • No paper – no mistakes.
  • Warehouse personnel productivity evaluation is automated and perfectly accurate.
  • Instant and complete integration with your CRM so everybody knows everything at all times.
  • Total inventory visibility (anticipated receipts, in receiving, in QC, in putaway, on the shelf).
  • Reduced personnel requirements and sales surge management improvement.
  • Reduced inventory facility requirements – greater efficiency equals reduced space requirements.
  • Order, wave, and batch picking for optimal efficiency.
  • Business rule creation to align picking with optimal order fulfillment strategies.
  • Perfect integration with packing and shipping for lowest cost / fastest delivery.
  • Eliminate picking and shipping errors to supercharge customer satisfaction levels.
  • Custom screen manipulation so your personnel have all (and only) the information they need.

And so much more!

Your ERP offer some basic WMS functionality, but doesn’t come close to what a specifically purpose-made WMS will offer.

And, even better, at the cost of a WMS today, this functionality is available even to smaller companies.

OK. So, a WMS will give you tools you really need. And, you can afford it. Simple, right?

Not at all!

The real key to getting the WMS functionality you need is in the implementation partner you select.

The WMS software must be sophisticated, robust, scalable, and created using cutting edge software development tools (Avectous is all of that, and more). However, most WMS providers don’t have a sophisticated, dedicated, experienced integration team.

WMS customers have often lamented that they are being held hostage by the “Frankentech Effect!” What does that mean? Typically, the company has a number of systems that have been poorly integrated (ERP, perhaps a separate accounting package, CRM, inventory, order processing, marketplace management, personnel software, and / or other platforms that are critical to their day-to-day operations). These systems have been cobbled together inexpertly into a Frankentech monster. Predictably, every so often, the monster wakes up and tries to eat you. Not a fun experience.

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Companies suffer from multiple, inaccurate data bases, a plethora of Excel spreadsheets floating around that are outdated as soon as they are created, poor information transfer to the people that need the information (hello, customer service, do you know what’s happening with my order?), delay in information availability (I know we received that shipment from our supplier – why does our inventory system show we’re out of stock?), etc., etc., etc.

To make it work, you need a WMS supplier that has sophisticated experience implementing and integrating complex WMS software, with a variety of complicated software platforms, in a variety of business enterprises.

We could stop here and simply say, you need Avectous. But, we’ll continue …

The total cost of your WMS isn’t easy to understand. The success of your integration and implementation must be taken into consideration. You must be able to anticipate the reduction in your warehouse personnel, the reduction in inventory levels, the reduction in facility (space) requirements, the rapidity with which new warehouse employees can be trained and put to productive work, the speed of order-to-shipment time, the increase in customer satisfaction, the improvement of rankings on marketplaces, such as Amazon, the improvement in customer service performance, the reduction in customer service calls (because everything is shipped accurately and on time), etc. These efficiencies and cost savings can only be fully achieved if the implementation and integration of your new WMS is done by an experienced and sophisticated supplier.

Integration is a term that is often misunderstood. It means that various platforms work off a single database. Interface means that various systems work off independent databases. You want integration, but your WMS supplier may be trying to sell you an interface, disguised as integration. Don’t be fooled!

Only an integration can offer you complete and accurate information in real time. Only an integration can insure that you have single data input functionality. Only integration eliminates the need for “middleware” that connects disparate systems.

Your ERP provider may offer a WMS module. It ought to be integrated with the other systems in the ERP. Should you buy that module?


Why not?

Because your ERP provider probably started life as an accounting software supplier, or a CRM supplier, or some discipline that has nothing whatsoever to do with warehouse and fulfillment execution. Warehouses are special places. They are completely different from other business functions and it is imperative that your WMS provider be a WMS specialist. And, critically, you must choose a WMS provider that specializes in integration and implementation.

Who fits that bill?

Avectous, of course.


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