ERP Inventory Management: Benefits of Automating the Fulfillment Process
December 4, 2019
Finding the right inventory management solution is one of the most important things you can do for your ecommerce business, especially as you expand into different channels and markets.
Keeping track of accurate stock levels and controlling stock across different channels can impact not only how quickly orders are fulfilled and shipped, but also other aspects of your business, such as operations and finances.
That’s why many ecommerce businesses choose to implement an ERP inventory system to reduce the margin of error and improve efficiencies.
What is ERP inventory management?
ERP is short for Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP inventory management is an integrated operational approach used to manage and track inventory across multiple channels, including both wholesale and retail distribution.
What are common ERPs for ecommerce stores?
There are several ERPs on the market. Depending on features and functionality, you can choose an ERP system that’s right for your business. Some of the more robust ERPs, such as NetSuite, SAP, and Oracle, provide a full suite of applications that go beyond just inventory management.
If you’re not ready to make that type of investment, you may want to consider alternatives like Skubana and BrightPearl that offer enterprise-level features at a more affordable cost.
Who uses an ERP system?
“E” is for Enterprise. An ERP system is an enterprise tool that’s built for large ecommerce businesses operating on an omnichannel level. If you’re shipping at least 50,000 orders per month and sell across multiple channels, then an ERP system may be worth the investment.
However, if you’re shipping around 500 orders per month, there are alternatives to an ERP software that can help you better manage inventory on a smaller scale.
What is an ERP inventory system used for?
Here are some of the key features that an ERP inventory system provides:
The more inventory you have, the more you need to keep track of. An ERP inventory system comes with inventory tracking software, so you know exactly how much inventory you have on hand in every location where it’s stored.
You can also track inventory that’s currently on route from your supplier, returns coming in from customers, and damaged goods that are unsellable. That way, you know exactly how much sellable inventory you have, where it’s stored, and where it’s coming from.
Record and manage stock levels
An ERP solution makes it easy to view, record, and manage stock levels at any given time. You can optimize inventory levels by SKU and gain better insight into inventory performance across all stores. You can easily keep inventory carrying costs down without spending too much time on inventory control.
Collect and analyze data
An ERP inventory solution centralizes all order and inventory data in real time, so you can automatically run accurate reports on order trends, inventory forecasting, and more to find patterns in order behavior (like which SKU is driving the most demand).
Automated warehouse processes
An ERP inventory system can significantly improve warehouse or fulfillment center operations by automating labor-intensive tasks, such as manual inventory counts. Automating warehouse processes comes with several benefits, such as increasing productivity, minimizing human error, and maximizing warehouse space.
5 benefits of ShipBob’s tech-enabled fulfillment solution
While ShipBob is not a traditional ERP system, we offer many of the essential capabilities highlighted above to easily manage orders and track inventory — especially for small to mid-sized ecommerce businesses. (Note: ShipBob also partners with ERP systems and has an open API to connect similar solutions.)
Here are some of the benefits of partnering with ShipBob:
1. An end-to-end order fulfillment solution
With ShipBob, orders are picked and packed quickly, and delivered in the most efficient way possible. Our proprietary software easily connects with leading ecommerce platforms and marketplaces to automatically fulfill orders as they are placed online. With a network of fulfillment centers across the US, you’re able to split inventory across locations to reduce shipping costs and time in transit.
2. Access to a built-in inventory software
Once your store is connected to our dashboard, you’re given access to built-in inventory management software. You can view the status of inventory on hand, proactively replenish inventory, see order status, and send tracking info back to customers.
3. Optimize inventory management
By tracking your inventory from a single dashboard, you’re able to access inventory data you can report on. Get insight into shipping costs, transit times, inventory velocity, and much more:
“ShipBob’s analytics dashboard has a lot of valuable reports that show our top-selling states, order revenue and costs, units sold, sales by SKU, days of inventory, SKU velocity, sales vs. inventory distributions showing where our customers are and where we’re shipping from, and more.”
Andrew Hardy, COO of Nature’s Ultra
As you gain insight, such as inventory forecasting data, you can optimize inventory by setting up reorder points that alert you when it’s time to restock, play around with different scenarios of changes in order volume, and more.
4. Automate order and inventory tasks
By syncing your store with ShipBob’s dashboard and storing your inventory in one or several of ShipBob’s fulfillment centers, orders are automatically fulfilled from the location that’s closest to the shipping destination.
Once the order has been fulfilled and shipped, tracking information is automatically sent to your customer. As an end-to-end retail fulfillment provider, returns are also automated by allowing customers to generate a return label, and returns can be tracked directly from the dashboard.
5. Grow your business and scale successfully
By outsourcing fulfillment, you’re given the resources you need to be successful and scale faster. Many of our customers who have switched to ShipBob have seen extraordinary growth:
“Before ShipBob, we used a fulfillment center that frankly couldn’t scale with us. Since moving to ShipBob we’ve grown 30% year over year, which is a testament to their scalability, service, and technology. I feel really fortunate to have found ShipBob when we did.”
Carl Protsch, Co-Founder of FLEO
Is your business ready for ERP inventory management?
ERP inventory management is ideal for ecommerce businesses that are expanding into multiple online stores and channels. But if you’re not quite ready for an enterprise-level solution, you can start by partnering with a tech-enabled 3PL, like ShipBob.
If you’re looking for something more robust and customizable to your needs that only an ERP can satisfy, ShipBob’s open API allows you to connect your ERP system (e.g., Netsuite, Acumatica, Oracle, and more) with ShipBob’s dashboard.
“ShipBob works hand in hand with us while developing new APIs and updating technology.”
Pablo Gabatto, Business Operations Manager at Ample Foods
To learn more about our open API solutions, click on the button below to request information from ShipBob.