Tracey Baker 27 September 2019 4 min read What's in this article? The advantages of integrating ERP appsInventory optimisation ERP apps The advantages of integrating ERP apps Technology is constantly evolving and organisations that want to stay ahead of the game need to keep updating their business systems to continually improve efficiency and productivity. This is especially true for companies with enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs), as these are often pivotal to operational efficiency. To ensure your ERP supports your ever-changing business needs, it’s sometimes necessary to replace your existing system or embark on a complete ERP upgrade. But perhaps your ERP works well and supports your processes in many areas, but it’s simply lacking in specific, specialist capabilities? In such instances, a system overhaul maybe too drastic. The alternative is to enhance your current ERP with market-leading ERP apps. Many ERPs offer a suite of ERP apps, for example SAP Business One’s connector allows the integration of non-SAP products using open and non-proprietary technology. Whilst Netsuite and Microsoft NAV & Business Central have a host of apps that offer additional functionality. With the technical ability to connect via the cloud, it’s easier than ever to add new capabilities to most ERPs. In addition, the emergence of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) procurement model makes integrating add-on software a low risk option. Inventory optimisation ERP apps For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), ERP apps can provide vital functionality. One area in particular where they can support is inventory optimisation. For example, many ERP systems have excellent inventory control capabilities, but lack the algorithms to actually optimise a business’ inventory to ensure stock availability, without excessive capital investment. Here’s seven benefits of integrating an inventory optimisation app with your ERP. 1. Inventory optimisation ERP apps are very affordable for SMEs Adding inventory optimisation software, in the form of an ERP plug-in will be less expensive than looking for a brand new ERP system that has the sophisticated functionality you require (if you can find one!!). Cloud-based technology is now mainstream, making specialist software readily available without the need for expensive user licenses, IT infrastructure updates or upfront implementation costs. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model allows organisations to remove the obstacle of finding capital investment for new technology. Instead they can spread the cost of their software, by paying an affordable monthly or annual fee, making market-leading inventory optimisation software much more accessible to SMBs. 2. Rapid implementation Let’s face it –implementing a new ERP or even an upgrade is a daunting task. New ERPs will take months to scope out, implement and bed into your business, and can lead to a lot of business change and disruption. This is because there are often complex system integrations that affect processes and departments across the entire business. In comparison, a cloud-based ERP add-on can be set up in a fraction of the time, thus allowing you to access efficiency benefits much sooner. A system, such as EazyStock, simply requires a data feed, often from your ERP, WMS or business system via an API or automated Excel file uploads. It then makes its calculations and passes the optimised data back. In addition, an inventory optimisation ERP app will often only be used by your inventory management or supply chain management team, so process change will be minimal (and by automating tasks, your team will thank you for freeing up their time!). 3. ROI The business case for many ERP apps is very simple: no user licenses, no IT infrastructure requirements, just a predictable annual or monthly fee. Add to this the benefits of lower inventory levels, less money tied up in stock, improved product availability and service levels and enhanced efficiency, and the ROI is easy to demonstrate. Often, a reduction in inventory levels of just a few percent is enough to payback your investment in the ERP app. But typically businesses see a reduction in stock of around 10-30%, whilst service levels (fulfilment levels) increase. And because implementation is fast, ROI can often be demonstrated very quickly. 4. Scalability and flexibility As organisations refine their supply chains, add new warehouses and grow their product offerings they need systems that can easily adapt and scale to such changes. Because most ERP apps are cloud-based, you can easily scale them up or down to meet the ever-changing demands of your business and ensure you get the most value from the application. 5. Easy user adoption ERP inventory optimisation apps will most likely be utilised by your stock control, inventory planning or purchasing teams. This means there’s no epic training programme needed for your entire workforce. EazyStock in particular has a wealth of features, so our Customer Success Managers begin with the basics that add ROI from day one, and then build up the functionality as users gain in confidence and ability. Despite utilising advanced analysis and sophisticated algorithms, EazyStock is very user-friendly, with easy to navigate, customisable screens, so users only need to delve into the detail they wish to see. 6. Low risk As we’ve already discussed, inventory optimisation ERP apps require very little system integration or capital investment. The only requirement for success, is a team that is eager to improve its stock management processes. Because EazyStock is SaaS software offered via the cloud, the long term commercial and operational risk is very low. 7. Safe, secure data When cloud technology first appeared in the software marketplace there were initially concerns that data ‘in the cloud’ would not be secure. But as cloud ERPs and cloud-based apps continue to proliferate at an impressive rate, the security policies, controls, procedures and technologies that work together to protect the systems, data and infrastructure are impressive. Cloud-based technology and business applications are now used by enterprise businesses across the globe. But be sure to look into the security compliance of any ERP app supplier to wish to work with. You can view EazyStock’s here. Today’s IT marketplace has a vast array of supply chain management business systems – and choosing the right one can be mind-blowing. But whether you opt for an ERP, WMS, ecommerce platform or procurement programme, one thing they will all lack, is advanced inventory optimisation functionality. If your business finds it hard to meet its fulfilment targets, lower investment in inventory or prevent out-of-stock scenarios, it’s worthwhile investigating how EazyStock can help. This post explains the warning signs that show when you need inventory planning and replenishment automation. As an easy-to-implement ERP add-on, EazyStock will offer a wealth of additional functionality that will deliver ROI within months of implementation. Find out how by downloading our eBook below: Share Tracey Baker 27 September 2019 4 min read Sign up for the EazyStock Newsletter Stay on Top of the Latest News, Trends, Tips, and Best Practices for Supply Chain Management, Inventory Optimisation, Replenishment & Purchasing, and Demand Forecasting with Our EazyStock Newsletter.