In our ever connected society, everything is integrated. You can send a text message from your computer, make a call via your car, and answer emails on your smart TV! So it goes without saying that integrating your online uniform store is not only the organic shift forward, but a benefit for both employees and shoppers.
So how do you connect your website to other systems you use? Enter enterprise resource planning (ERP). ERP is not specific software, but rather a collection of any suite of integrated applications that a company can use to connect its business activities across multiple departments and platforms so that everyone on the team is working with the same data and processes.
Businesses can use ERP to streamline and improve the efficiency of their operations, which ultimately saves time and money. In the course of implementing ERP, companies can also standardize and automate many daily processes, which eliminates manual time and effort. Having this integration comes with multiple benefits. We’ve outlined our top five below:
Perhaps you’ve heard of the dreaded “silo effect”. If you’ve ever worked for a large corporation, you’ve probably experienced some version of the following: A project you’ve been tirelessly working on for months is suddenly canceled because some other part of your organization was also working on a similar project, and apparently no one knew or thought it necessary to communicate across departments. This is a common occurrence, and while there are lots of ways to describe it — the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, turf battles, etc — a new buzzword floating around upper management offices is “silos.”
Most websites on the internet are silos. They are separate from all other parts of a company’s operations and in this case can make streamlining online uniform orders very difficult. If your company takes orders on a website, you may be one of the millions of companies that watches for copies of the orders to come in via email, then you log into your website, and you copy/paste the order info into your point of sale (POS) system, or your accounting program. While this may work temporarily for small companies, it’s quicker and more efficient to get everything connected. Having your website integrated with ERP removes these problems.
Using ERP allows your information to be incredibly accurate. If part of the order process is your team re-entering information into other systems or software, there is a big margin for human error. Orders that go right from the website into your POS or accounting, flow exactly as the shopper requested completely eliminating errors and possible returns.
Manually performing data entry may not be too bad if your company gets a couple of orders a week, or a month. However, once you reach a certain level of activity, you will start to feel the pain, and look for ways to automate your order flow from your website.
Your company may use a POS such as QuickBooks that allows the website to be connected. Orders will then be placed on the website and magically appear inside your POS for processing! Additionally, QuickBooks can be used for accounting. Having this will then allow all orders can be sent right into QuickBooks from your website. Magic!
Your company may use larger, more sophisticated ERP systems that manage your inventory, sales, finances and more. These programs include SAP, Microsoft Dynamics and SAGE, for example. Connecting your website, and perhaps all your dedicated online stores for your key accounts, means that all departments will be able to see transitions as they flow into your operations. If you are holding inventory for your large uniform accounts and need the website to reflect what is available, ERP integration will greatly assist here as well.
Integrating is not just about internal benefits. While sending the orders into your company’s back office software is great, using ERP to integrate your online uniform store will also benefit shoppers.
As soon as you ship an item, your POS, accounting or ERP system can update the order on the website, and send a notice right away to the uniform buyer. If an item is backordered, or will require more attention or time, this information might be sent back to update the order as well.
As these five benefits outline, having an integrated online uniform store is not only a time saver, it is the shift you’ll need to make to play with the big dogs in this market. Integrate your website now, you’ll thank us later. For more information about how UniformMarket can help, click here.