Is your business suffering from a lack of integration between the ERP vendor portals and ancillary platforms? Enterprise resource planning systems are typically designed to facilitate a business' internal processes. Because of this, other systems must be put in place for operations that face customers or vendors. Obviously, you’ll want to integrate these customer-facing and vendor-facing systems with the rest of your internal systems. Why? Because that customer and vendor data is highly-relevant to your internal teams, from sales to marketing to finance and supply chain and far beyond. With abas ERP as your vendor, you can integrate all of these systems and more, offering your business (and customers and vendors) massive benefits we’ll detail below.
Why doesn’t the left hand know what the right hand is doing over there?
Data silos, also known as a lack of integration between the ERP vendor portals and ancillary platforms, can lead to costly inefficiencies in any business' end-to-end processes. Moreover, these silo’d systems can cause confusion and frustration when your customers and vendors reach out to you through other channels: when your systems aren’t integrated (i.e., are silos), you’ll be hearing customers and vendors repeatedly uttering a question that is profoundly damaging to your reputation and revenues: “Why doesn’t the left hand know what the right hand is doing over there?”
When you lack integrated systems that support the sharing and leveraging of relevant customer and vendor data, the answer to that question above can be profoundly damaging to your business. Disjointed, unintegrated systems mean that you’re not tapping into potential value, in terms of enhanced efficiency, data visibility, and (ultimately) additional profitability. This is foolish from an operational standpoint. Your customers, in a similar way, will assume (perhaps brutally and perhaps not) that your business is either (1) stupid or (2) doesn’t care enough to make necessary changes so that right hand and left hand are working together. More and more, due to the emergence of digital platforms like Amazon and Uber, customers have come to expect a seamless, fully-integrated and fully transparent experience with the businesses they interact with.
In this post, we'll look at how abas ERP, a US ERP vendor, overcomes these challenges around “silo’ed systems” through integration with Magento Web store platforms and built-in ERP vendor portals. We help your left hand and right hand work together, coordinating systems for the benefit of your customers and vendors, and helping you gain enhanced efficiency, data visibility, and profitability. When you help your customers and vendors, you’re also helping yourself.
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Improve relationships throughout your supply chain with customer and vendor portals
Customer portals - B2C and B2B
When it comes to the timely delivery of customer orders, one frustratingly common issue that businesses run into is a lack of integration between customer-facing properties and internal systems that fulfill the customer order. For example, if a manufacturer has its whole catalog for sale on a Web store, the customer would place an order through the site, but an employee would have to manually take the data from that order and enter it into the ERP system to start the process of filling the order. That not only wastes valuable time, delaying the ultimate delivery, but also introduces a much higher risk of human error due to the pure monotony of manual operations. “Spending hours every day manually inputting customer data is my dream job,” said no employee, ever.
When you have humans doing the kind of routinized, repetitive tasks that technology excels at, you’re the epitome of inefficiency. And your customers, your employees, and your revenues will suffer because of that inefficiency. Why not have your employees performing higher-functioning tasks, such as finding you new customers, rather than manual data entry?
Magento is a powerful open-source platform
Joris Basiglio, software architect at abas ERP, explained how he and his colleagues designed the system to integrate with Magento Web stores, making the relationship between e-commerce and ERP vendors more seamless. Magento makes it possible to create well-designed, branded Web stores that appeal to customers in the business-to-consumer sector. It's a very marketing-oriented system, which complements the strengths of internally-focused ERP systems.
"Magento is a powerful open-source platform," Basiglio said. "Everything you need to run a Web store, such as a customer relationship management system, is included within it. You can set up your Magento store and have it running independently while abas ERP syncs with it in the background through an ERP vendor portal." Left hand meet right hand.
This dynamic interplay between Magento and abas ERP allows you to easily push your catalog of products directly to your Web store. When a customer makes a purchase, the order information is automatically sent to your ERP system, including price, quantity and all other relevant data. It removes the need for employees to handle orders, which leads to fewer mistakes and faster fulfillment times.
The result? More accurate orders get delivered to customers faster, and all related data gets collected automatically and fed into your ERP system, allowing you visibility into what’s happening in your business as it’s happening. You can actually leverage this collected data to make better decisions to drive even more efficiency in your processes. Moreover, your “bored” employee assigned repetitive manual tasks which technology can do better might get “re-deployed” to a more strategic, growth-driving business activity. All powerful reasons to implement specific ERP vendor portals, and bring in abas ERP as your vendor.
For business-to-business settings, where you're dealing with fewer customers, abas ERP vendor portal includes its own customer portal. Because it's only accessible by your existing customers, it is a fairly basic module that includes only the most essential features. For example, if you're an automotive parts vendor, the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) you work with can go directly into the portal, fill out an order and transfer it directly to your system. Again, this eliminates the extra and error-prone step of placing orders over the phone or with a fax. The order is automatically and accurately routed for fast fulfillment, keeping your B2B customers coming back for more.
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Efficiency gained from abas ERP vendor portal
abas ERP's vendor portal works very much like the customer portal - you can create a Web-based interface that allows you to communicate with and place orders from your vendors in real time.
"The vendor portal is a useful feature for our customers," Basiglio said. "They can place orders and get quotes from their vendors quickly and easily without ever having to pick up the phone or send an email."
A major objective for a good ERP system is to ensure that everything - from materials and labor to final shipments - is always in the right place at the right time. The vendor portal supports that goal because it allows you to place orders well in advance of when you need them so you always have the right materials and components on hand to do a job. That sort of efficiency also saves you money, ensures operational continuity (you don’t run out of parts and inventory), and shortens delivery times. Everybody wins, from your customers to your procurement, production, and finance people.
Customization is king
According to Basiglio, what makes these ERP vendor portals so powerful is that they can be customized to fit your business' present needs, with the flexibility to make changes as your business grows.
"Most ERP vendors offer out-of-the-box solutions that force the business to change their processes to match the software," Basiglio stated. "abas ERP is designed so that processes and people come first. It can adapt based on your current and future needs." We put you and your processes first, offering you the tools you need to maintain an agile stance in a business landscape of accelerating change. Our goal at abas USA is to meet your needs today and also offer you a flexible platform for growth that can easily accommodate your future needs.