Picture This: You started an eCommerce site two years ago, and ever since have had a team of employees dedicated to managing all aspects of the sales, order and shipping process. New products are manually added to the website, and employees are responsible for updating inventory quantities and prices upon receipt of new inventory into the warehouse and when pricing changes. When a customer places an order online, employees pull this information down from the eCommerce site and then manually re-key the information into your order entry/accounting software. Once an employee enters this order into the system and reviews the information to check the customer’s credit status, it gets sent to the warehouse for picking. When an order is received into the warehouse, employees pick, pack and ship the items, and then send the appropriate shipping information back to sales staff so that they can update the customer.
To your delight, over the past couple of months, online sales have taken off and business is booming. Yet, employees are having a hard time keeping up with the increase in demand and the tasks outlined above, and as a result, orders are getting lost, data entry is messy and staff morale is in decline. It’s time for you to hire some new employees to manage the increase in order volume and reduce the strain on existing staff members…or is it?
While hiring new staff will likely ease the burden placed on your current employees, adding new salaries onto your payroll may not be the best way to go about managing company growth. Will these new salaries negate the increased profits you have from your increased web sales? What if online sales continue to grow? Will you need to hire even more staff?
Hiring additional employees when order volume increases is a natural reaction, however, finding a back-end inventory and accounting ERP solution to integrate with your eCommerce site is a better alternative. In fact, an inventory and accounting system combined with appropriate business processes will not only alleviate the need for hiring new staff but also reduce the amount of administrative work existing employees deal with, giving them more time to focus on sales and customers.
Benefits to eCommerce Integration
For starters, when receiving new items into the warehouse, product only needs to be entered into your inventory and accounting ERP software, which will then push product information including descriptions, pricing, and quantities, online. This eliminates the need to re-enter the same product into your back-end ERP system and then online to your eCommerce site. As product gets sold online, order information flows directly from the website into your inventory and accounting system, updating quantities available and allocating inventory for picking. This eliminates the need to manually enter a new sales order every time a customer places an online order.
Once an order has made its way into your system, traditionally if the order has not been paid in full, or if the customer has credit with the company, someone needs to check that the customer is within their credit limit, prior to the warehouse picking the order. However, this functionality can be automatically defined in your inventory and accounting system. Users simply set up criteria for evaluating orders, such as product availability, customer credit limit, and total order amount, and if all criteria are met the order gets sent through to the warehouse for picking – without a human having to manually perform any tasks.
Although at this point in the process most companies will require human involvement to actually pick, pack and ship the order (we can’t all have Amazon picking robots after all), once those processes are completed and recorded in the software, the eCommerce store will now have access to the same updated inventory information, without someone manually updating the website.
As you can see, inventory and accounting software integrated with your eCommerce site alleviates the need for hiring new staff to manage the processes of an eCommerce business and frees up current staff from managing too many administrative tasks. In addition, ERP systems also include functionality to cover many other areas and processes within a business as well as provide opportunities for automation.