How to Choose an Effective ERP for Ecommerce

[Guest post by Linda Halabi]

Choosing the right ERP for your business can be a daunting task. With so many out there, how do you know which one will meet your needs?

A good ERP can make a world of a difference in streamlining your business processes, helping you operate more efficiently and effectively. ERP software will give you a bird’s eye view of your business processes from manufacturing and supply chain management, to distribution and inventory management. This type of system will help you avoid mistakes and stay on top of your processes from beginning to end. ERP will also improve your customer service, helping you keep your customers happy and making sure you never drop the ball.

Although working with a financial consulting firm to ensure the implementation of the right ERP for you is highly advised, here are a few things to consider when doing your own research:

Consider Your Unique Needs

Evaluate the ERP in the context of your business requirements. Meet with a team that spans the different departments in your business (accounting, marketing, customer service, shipping, etc.) and discuss what your goals are, where there’s room for improvement, and what you want your ERP to do for you.

Ensure Compatibility

If you sell products online, as most companies do these days, you’ll want to ensure that the ERP you select is compatible with any e-commerce systems you’re currently operating. Data needs to be able to flow from your e-commerce system to your ERP system. This will help avoid inventory and shipping delays and will ensure coherence across systems.

Customer Service Centric

Customer service is critical to good business, and the commerce industry is no exception. An ERP that includes customer relationship management (CRM) will enable you to better serve your customers and ensure they are happy with their orders. If there are ever any issues, ERP will make it easy for you to recognize them and resolve them quickly.

Real Time Data

ERP software provides valuable data that will help you make better business decisions. Look at the data and analytics offered by the ERP and make sure it will meet your needs. Dashboards are often customizable to your specific operations with the help of a consultant.

Flexibility

Flexibility in pricing and the ability to use your ERP anywhere are often important considerations. Many ERPs have mobile functionality, allowing you to check in and take care of orders while on the go or away on business. This can make pulling up information on your iPad at a business meeting a synch. Look for flexibility in pricing as well. Pricing for cloud-based ERP is generally more flexible and is usually based on the number of users.

Scalability

Cloud-based ERP is a great option for flexibility and scalability, allowing you to easily add users and support your business as it grows. Cloud-based ERP also keeps the data offsite, eliminating the need for special hardware and staff to maintain it.

Included Training and Support

Training and support are important in ensuring a smooth ERP implementation process. See if training and technical support are included with your ERP purchase. It’s always helpful to have someone to call should you have any issues down the line.

Searching for the right ERP solution for your business needs can cost you a lot of time and therefore money. It can be worthwhile to work with a consultant that has experience implementing ERP solutions for a variety of businesses. They will be able to recommend the best solution to meet your business needs and can even customize the ERP solution to your specific processes. An ERP provider can also implement the system for you to ensure there are no interruptions in your services as well as provide training, resources, and ongoing support to your team.

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