May

ERP and vendor communication: a three option approach

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ERP and Vendor communication

ERP (enterprise resource planning) – As we have stated previously, the cost savings and productivity improvements gained from implementing an ERP solution are vast. However, even with something as powerful as an ERP system there will always be room for improvement.

An area of stress for many businesses is how their ERP communicates with outside vendors. The system may be excellent at integrating with departments inside an organization, yet there are those who complain that their system does not communicate well with outside sources such as vendors and manufacturers. Security issues and vendor access are a top concern.

With over 15 years experience in dealing with ERP and CRM implementations as well as business and IT consulting, ECI is here with the tools you need to get past these ERP roadblocks. Here are just some of our solutions:

Vendor Portals

Microsoft recently unveiled an enterprise portal for their ERP offering, Dynamics AX 2012. What this essentially does is provide pre-configured access to the ERP database for vendors. This opens many avenues for the vendor to communicate and interact with your Dynamics AX ERP system, from collecting important documentation to interactive transactions. These portals can allow your vendor to view inventory levels, provide performance updates, respond to RFQ’s and much more. With this option there is no need to look outside your ERP for a solution to vendor communication.

VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory)

A VMI or vendor managed inventory is a slightly more in-depth solution to the problem of vendor communication with ERP. Traditionally a company would handle their warehouse and inventory “in house” or with their own system, contacting and ordering parts/products from the manufacturer when necessary. With a VMI the manufacturer or vendor assumes responsibility for monitoring and replenishing orders, as well as having detailed information regarding what/when/where products are sold. Though VMI requires a restructuring of how an organization handles their inventory, the benefits of this direct coordination between vendor and distributor are impressive; streamlined communication, instant access to inventory information, and real time point-of-sale data.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

A popular solution for the problem of vendor communication with ERP involves incorporating a CRM system. (such as Dynamics CRM). Where a vendor portal or VMI makes vendor communication easier, a CRM will make that communication “better”. In a CRM solution you can track and share all interactions with your manufacturer, improving the quality of the information and providing context for future interactions. By incorporating your CRM into your ERP, you can get detailed data on inventory/warehouse information and be able to spread that knowledge to those who need to make decisions.

These are just some of the options you can utilize to improve ERP communications with outside vendors. Contact an ECI representative today for more information on how we can help with ANY of your ERP or IT needs!

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