How an eCommerce Platform can Help your Back Office

By Enabliser Able

Many companies spend a lot of time ensuring that their internal systems run as smoothly as possible. Sales orders get processed, purchase orders are placed, inventory is managed, customer accounts are followed up and the list goes on and on. Typically in the past to ensure that a business ran like a well-oiled machine, companies employed more people and gave each person a dedicated function, almost like a factory line. In today’s world this approach simply does not cut it. Where we are always under pressure to reduce costs and increase efficiency companies are turning to their internal ERP systems to deliver more automation and functionality.

Now you may ask, how do turn to my internal ERP system to deliver more automation and functionality?

Well there are many different approaches to this, but the one that I would like to discuss is the deployment of an integrated ecommerce platform. 

Now, I know at first this sounds like a really costly complicated process. I am here to tell you that there is good news. Almost every ERP system these days provides you with not one but several integrated ecommerce platforms from which to choose.

So let’s say that you have made the decision to move your business onto the web, what are some of the benefits that you could expect to see?

Let’s look at the functionality that an ecommerce platform will provide to your existing customers. Your customers will be able to:
• Lookup their previous transactions, including quotes, orders and invoices
• Lookup the quantity available for a particular product
• Browse your entire catalogue of products, not only the ones that they order regularly
• Place orders online
• Make payments online
• Create new delivery addresses

Through enabling your customers with this level of access and functionality, the benefits and efficiencies to you are enormous.

• Customers are placing their own orders, there are no longer faxed and emailed orders sitting in a queue waiting to be entered into your ERP system. As soon as the customer places their order, you are in a position to print pick tickets and dispatch the stock. Think of the time you could save your customer service team. They could actually do Customer Service.
• Customers making payments online again saves your Accounts team from capturing these payments. They now have to simply monitor the system and work on the exceptions
• Through enabling your customers to lookup invoices, previous orders and quotes they no longer need to call your customer service / accounts teams for non value adding information.
• In utilising an online catalogue, your customers are exposed to your entire list of products. Often customers get into the routine that Company X only sells a certain product. A web platform can aid you in brand awareness as you have a new medium in which to communicate with your customer.

I could continue to list benefits of an integrated ecommerce platform, but I hope that by now you are starting to the gist.

My advice to all business and operations managers is take the plunge and if nothing else simply investigate for yourselves what your options are. You may just be surprised at what you find, and it may just be the tool that you need to help you to do more with less.

In future articles I will discuss utilising an integrated ecommerce platform in expanding into the B2C arena.

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