ERP extends e-commerce and 3PL comparison capabilities


The business disruption created by the pandemic affects all parts of manufacturing, spanning the way people work, how products are made and priced, and how items are delivered. In response to new market demands, manufacturers are turning to automation to add more flexibility in production lines. But enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, which typically handles planning, purchasing, reporting, and finance, is also in demand, with new requirements. Specifically, ERP must address e-commerce and the supply chain.

According to Scott Deakins, COO of Deacom, an ERP software provider specifically for global manufacturers, four new trends have emerged over the past year that are driving demand for additional ERP functionality.

· The move towards real-time supply chain data.

· A great push for electronic commerce.

· Increases in transport costs which force manufacturers to make more purchases of 3PL tariffs.

· The need for flexibility in product pricing, which changes due to raw material and labor costs.

“Customers ask different questions during the [ERP] sales process on how quickly we can react to changes in the supply chain, ”Deakins said. “They all lived this nightmare [the past year] and it is at the forefront of their concerns and fuels the discussions.

One of those customers is Baumer Foods, a family-owned business that was overwhelmed by consumer demand in 2020 and trapped in a heavily personalized ERP system that required employees to perform workarounds manually. “When demand soared, getting our product to customers was a nightmare. We had a number of systems to manage and they often didn’t work well together, ”said Michelle McDaniel, vice president of sales for Baumer Foods. “Deacom has helped us achieve super-tight process control, and we’re finally able to meet consumer interest and accept more SKUs and private label customers. “

Deacom differentiates its ERP suite by consolidating more features into a single system. “We have all the data in one place to help customers react and change quickly,” Deakins said. “Customers are looking for the ability to quickly change their prices to accommodate changing costs, and we have everything from formulation and production planning to workforce management for visibility. on cost changes faster and use price changes across all sales channels faster. “

In addition, Deacom has supply chain planning capabilities, from dock planning to material requirements planning to production capacity planning, as well as warehousing capabilities. Last year, the company introduced 286 new product enhancements to its ERP portfolio. “But I would say the system that saw the most changes was e-commerce due to changing customer needs,” Deakins said.

Part of this has to do with shipping, which has become an issue for businesses that are committed to a single carrier, like FedEx or UPS, and have experienced significant shipping delays, price increases, and shipping limits. ‘shipping during the pandemic. As a result, they needed a way to work with multiple carriers and compare prices.

Deacom has its own e-commerce platform and recently integrated a shipping functionality that manages rate purchases and delivery updates in real time. In 2019, Deacom partnered with shipping software provider EasyPost, using an API to add EasyPost to Deacom ERP so the system could find the cheapest shipping rates and create labels.

“Also on the e-commerce site, we are able to provide customers with real-time delivery dates based on the selected shipping method. We can send emails to customers to let them know about the product being shipped and the expected delivery, because with EasyPost built in we have that feedback, ”Deakins said.

Additionally, when it comes to solving the need for real-time feedback in the supply chain, Deacom has a system-native Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) versus bolt-on middleware package, which provides information on shortages and changes. to sales forecasts to adapt quickly.

Although Deacom recognized the need to expand ERP beyond the enterprise early on, it will be a trend in the industry in the future, Deakins said. “Yes, there is an ERP barrier in terms of what functionality ERP can support. Areas like purchasing fares for carriers are outside the ERP space, but we are seeing more and more ERP companies building relationships or acquiring these solutions to ensure that they are managed in a way. transparent via the [system]. “

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The potential of ERP in the midst of a pandemic

The pandemic is shaping the future supply chain

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