Internet sales and e-commerce are dramatically changing the face of business. Are you ready for the challenges e-commerce has brought or may bring to your business? E-commerce requires both front-office and back-office system additions or changes.
E-commerce requires front-office integrated solutions
One of the first things that you will consider when implementing e-commerce is the front-end interface. This could be a daunting task, but luckily there are many complete e-commerce solutions available. In order to maintain business efficiency, this interface needs to be seamlessly integrated to your ERP.
- Customer Self-Service Portal for consumer or business catalog orders, invoices, shipping and payments. The customer is able to view and edit ERP contact information.
- Content Management to view and edit Sage 100 data. Because Sage 100 is the main source of data there is no need to manage data in the e-commerce website.
- Public or Private E-commerce Stores with product catalogs, shopping carts, store locators and more. Pricing support exactly replicates Sage 100 pricing logic.
- Machine to Machine (APIs) for product feeds, price and stock reports, shipments and order collection
E-commerce presents back-office challenges
In the warehouse, e-commerce can fundamentally change everything in the supply chain from picking, packing and shipping. Here are a few things you will need to consider.
- Fulfillment will move from large volume to small volume or single item orders. The traditional method of fulfilment from receiving, putaway, packing and shipping doesn’t work very well for on-line ordering. Rather than having weekly or bi-weekly order fulfillment, you may need to turn orders around in 24 to 48 hours. Every step must be handled efficiently, consistently and cost-effectively to meet customer expectations.
- Much higher returns (in some cases up to 22%) means that an efficient returns process is crucial. This may require a dedicated space in the warehouse for handling returns.
- Integrated ordering and tracking is necessary. The ability to monitor individual SKU’s as they are stored and moved through the facility may be needed and seamless integration with your ERP is critical. Automation will enable more accurate orders, lower labor costs, fewer returns and saved space. Automated picking options provide the most cost savings as they streamline throughput.
- Because demand can change quickly, you will need to implement technology that can adapt to your needs. You’ll require scalable automation that can be adapted as your needs increase or decrease and the flexibility to use the technology in any location.
- Accurate inventory data are essential to ensure the customer gets the right item in the expected time. Integration with your ERP for real-time, accurate inventory and order visibility is critical.
Emerald TC can help you address all of the challenges of moving into e-commerce from the front-office to the back-office. If you would like a demo of Website Pipeline or evaluate your warehouse management software needs, contact us.