One characteristic that best-in-class wholesalers and distributors have in common is that they use integrated enterprise software to run their entire business. In fact, 81% of these high-achieving companies have integrated business systems. They are almost four times more likely than other companies to have cross-functional collaboration within their organization. Best-in-class organizations have moved their warehousing operations from behind the scenes, and have turned it into a strategic process that integrates sales, marketing, product development, and service.
Business systems integration is critical to enable your company to move toward optimal performance. Cross-functional collaboration is best facilitated by integrated enterprise software because standalone systems impose informational and operational silos. Departments cannot be integrated unless your business software talks to each other. Installing the most comprehensive system in each area that doesn’t communicate isn’t much better than no system at all. For operations, this means that your inventory systems must be united with your ERP. Operations, sales, service, and accounting software should all be integrated, sharing the same database in real time. When all functions input data and have access to the ERP database, everyone can work together within the enterprise software system. An integrated system gives the customer a better experience in addition to improving efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
Business Systems Integration Improves Operational Effectiveness
Let’s see how enterprise software integration works in each functional area:
Sales: Customer relationship management tools like Sage CRM can deliver a more personalized customer experience. Using Sage CRM, you can give your sales professionals access to critical customer and inventory data. Using a mobile sales application like Sage Mobile Service, the sales team can complete orders in the field, enter important customer information into your Sage enterprise software, and capture payments seamlessly. The data are transferred instantly to the ERP, providing the other departments with the customer and sales information they need.
Marketing: Using ERP system sales and operational data, marketing can analyze trends and performance of products allowing them to adapt quickly to changes in customer requirements.
Finance: Accurate and timely information is key to giving finance and accounting the tools they need to evaluate costs, follow cash flow, and manage assets. Sage accounting software seamlessly integrates with other departments so that data is only entered once.
Warehousing: Inventory business systems are important pieces of operational excellence. Process automation enables operations to be accurate and efficient. When systems are still paper, inventory counts in the ERP are not updated until the data is keyed into the system, meaning that individuals accessing the system have an inaccurate reflection of quantities. Inaccurate data result in shipping errors, broken promises to customers, lost sales, and poor inventory levels. Clearly, these problems have a negative effect on the company bottom line.
Manufacturing: No matter what product your manufacturing business produces, enterprise software helps you keep your competitive edge by establishing a lean manufacturing process that responds to client demands, streamlines processes to reduce waste, and provides timely data and analysis that help make smarter decisions that impact revenue.
Field Service: Field service personnel need access to real-time information on the ERP. IWI’s mobile field service application, Sage Mobile Service, gives field service reps the ability to schedule work, view completed orders, invoice, and analyze from a web portal. Mobile field services capabilities integrated with your business systems should be a vital part of your field service strategy. These solutions can improve your service technician’s productivity, increase efficiency, and boost customer satisfaction.
Integrated Enterprise Software Enable Cross-Functional Collaboration
IWI has recognized the importance of cross-functional collaboration by offering full-featured enterprise software including Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) and Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage 300) to improve the efficiency of your operations. If you would like to evaluate ways to improve your cross-functional collaboration, contact us today.
For more information on the importance of business system integration in a warehousing or distribution environment, download our whitepaper, “ERP in Wholesale and Distribution: A Logical Solution to Logistical Challenges”.
Our small and dedicated team specializes in helping small-to-medium size Canadian businesses and non-profits select and adapt Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resource Management (HRMS), and IT services. With IWI’s 15 years in business and 100 plus years of combined experience, IWI has helped hundreds of food manufacturing, distribution, and financial service companies gain efficiency, grow, and lower their operating costs.
With the unique combination of industry knowledge and diverse technology expertise, IWI provides cost-effective solutions to help clients gain a competitive edge. As a Sage business partner servicing the Greater Toronto Area, we support evaluation and implementation of operations and finance systems to optimize technology, ensuring high return on investment with a quick and painless transition to new software.