In today's fast-paced business environment, it is more important than ever for companies to present customers with the best possible product and service delivery possible. Companies are facing increased competition and need to be able to respond quickly with solutions that will allow them to keep up with the market. For many companies, this means leveraging technologies like ERP or CRM or other systems that connect directly with their WMS (Warehouse Management System). However, as more companies move into 3PL models where they outsource some of their warehousing needs - connecting these systems can become much more difficult due to disparate WMS platforms operated by different third-party logistics providers.
The Benefits of Connecting CRM & Supply Chain At the Point of Commerce
Connecting your CRM and Supply Chain at the Storefront can benefit a number of areas in your organisation. Here are some ways:
- Inventory management. Connecting the different parts of your business allows you to more effectively track inventory and make decisions on it. This is especially useful when ordering new inventory or deciding what to do with obsolete inventory.
- Customer service. Talk about a win-win situation! By connecting your customer service teams together, everyone will have access to each other's work files, making things easier for all involved parties (and customers). The result is better communication and coordination between departments, resulting in better customer service overall because no one has any excuse for not knowing who does what or how things need to be done now that everything's been streamlined into one system.
- Product visibility across all departments. With an omni-channel inventory management system, you'll have the ability to see all of your product information in one place. This means that no matter who needs what information or where it's needed, everyone will have access to everything they need. With this new level of transparency and accessibility, there's no excuse for anyone not knowing where something is or not being able to find the product and delivery expectation the customer needs.
- Planning & forecasting. By connecting your sales, marketing, and operations teams together in one system, you'll be able to see a complete picture of your business as well as the market trends that affect it. This will allow you to make better decisions about price points, production capacity & inventory levels. The result is increased revenue due to being able to meet customer demand more effectively while lowering costs by eliminating any unnecessary waste.
- Pricing & margin management. The ability to set up sales & marketing teams with their own profit-and-loss statements will allow you to make better decisions about how much to charge for each product. This is because you'll be able to see exactly how much each department costs and whether they are making or losing money.
Amazon has set new customer expectations
As customer expectations continue to increase, especially with the advent of Amazon and other retailers who train their customers to expect near-instantaneous delivery, many companies with multi-tenant platforms are leveraging various technologies in order to satisfy their customers.
One example is a company that has implemented omni-channel strategies that allow them to provide personalised recommendations on every page of their website. In addition, they have also automated several processes through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). This has increased the efficiency and accuracy of their business operations while simultaneously reducing errors which can impact customer satisfaction.
An e-commerce platform that can integrate with optimal logistics methods and partners is crucial if your industry is going to remain competitive with Amazon.
Is Uber, your new logistics partner?
As Amazon has shown the possibility of a 1-day shipping model for the masses, and even 30-minute deliveries to some locations, most other retailers are struggling to figure out how they can keep up.
Amazon is not the only pioneer in this space. Integration with Uber Eats now has transformed the possibilities in the food and beverage industry. So what does it mean for your industry? How can you use CRM and supply chain to stay competitive with Amazon? At oOrjit, we will work with your organisation to ensure your company is a leader in this space.
Often times this requires a shift in thinking from on-premise or dedicated supply chain models to a more flexible outsourced logistics model, based on 3PLs or third-party logistics providers. Other times, it simply connects the data you already have at the point of commerce - where end-to-end digitalisation and extensive integrations empower your company to offer customers whatever they desire.
Outsourcing logistics works and sometimes adds greater complexity.
Outsourcing logistics is not a new concept; many companies have been outsourcing their supply chain services for decades, including third-party logistics (3PL) providers. However, in recent years this practice has become increasingly popular as more and more companies look to outsource their entire supply chain operations.
What are the benefits of outsourcing logistics?
Companies often find that outsourcing their logistics can offer them several advantages over on-premise or dedicated models. For example:
Outsourcing allows you to focus on core competencies rather than being burdened with ancillary activities like warehousing or transportation management. The ability for companies to focus on their primary business functions is key when it comes to increasing efficiency and productivity and improving overall performance as a whole entity. Plus, since you're able to outsource these processes it frees up your internal resources which means that they're available for other projects!
Companies also benefit because they don't need large capital investments in infrastructure such as warehouses or trucks (which would otherwise be necessary if they were going through an internal transition). In addition, outsourcing allows you access to expertise from outside sources without having any overhead costs associated with hiring employees yourself - so there's no need to worry about paying salaries either!
The key to making this successful is again, connecting whatever your logistics method is close to the point of commerce in one market platform. That's where oOrjit comes in.
Other steps for consideration
Another step in maintaining pace is to ensure that you're connecting your systems to the rest of your supply chain, including third-party logistics providers, suppliers, customers and marketplaces. While this is an important step in maintaining pace with competitors, it often presents its own challenges. These include:
- Connecting multiple systems within a single organisation
- Integrating systems between different organisations
- Managing data across cloud platforms
Unlike traditional supply chain models where all inventory is owned by the same company, often times 3PL models involve warehoused stock spanning across multiple locations and owners. This means that when you turn to your supplier for an updated delivery schedule, they don't have access to your CRM system. This can prove problematic if you're trying to manage inventory levels in tandem with sales goals or other business metrics that require real-time data.
The best way to connect your CRM and supply chain systems is through oOrjit Commerce. When connected through this feature, each transaction recorded in oOrjit will automatically update the corresponding record on the other system—whether it's a purchase order from an external supplier or an order placed by one of your own customers—and vice versa. This not only allows you greater visibility into how well both teams are performing their jobs but also gives them direct access to the information they need without having to wait for someone else's response first!
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) - The Other Consideration
Also unlike traditional supply chain models where the customer's inventory management system (usually an ERP) is connected directly with the retailer's own warehouse management system (WMS), these systems don't always connect well with lots of disparate WMS platforms operated by different 3PLs or even suppliers.
Connecting ERP (enterprise resource planning) and WMS (warehouse management system) are difficult. The two systems don’t always connect well, and manual intervention is required to transfer data between them. This process also takes a long time and requires a lot of effort from people in both departments.
For most companies today, their business moves quickly and goods are sold as soon as they come in the back door. This makes connecting your ERP or another system with individual 3PL WMS systems difficult because it requires a lot of manual intervention.
This would mean that you need to feed data into the 3PL's WMS system from your ERP and you will have to do this manually which can be difficult for companies that are trying to keep up with Amazon and other omni-channel retailers who are using automated solutions.
For these reasons, connecting CRM and supply chain systems closer to the customer-facing commerce experience is the most important consideration for any company. One platform that helps you make sure that your inventory management system (usually an ERP) is connected directly with the retailer's own warehouse management system (WMS) that in turn presents a personalised and optimal product and delivery offer to your customers via a CRM platform is the goal. This allows you to better track the flow of goods from manufacturers through distribution centres or 3PLs all the way to your customer's doorsteps.
Get in touch with oOrjit today to discuss how we achieve this with your organisation using oOrjit Commerce.