ERP graphic for blog

What to Know When Performing an ERP Integration

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) refers to software used by organizations to manage daily business operations in a much simpler fashion. ERP is commonly set up to aid accounting, project management, and supply chain operations. When manufacturing companies go through a redesign of their website, many find that connecting it to their ERP is essential.

In order to connect your ERP software to other business applications, you need an ERP integration. This integration allows you to sync information between these various data streams correctly to ensure accuracy and limit data duplication.

Let’s dive into some important questions regarding your ERP.

Does your ERP have an API?

I promise you we’re not making up these three-letter acronyms. An Application Programming Interface (API) is a software intermediary that allows separate applications to communicate and work in conjunction with one another.

As a smartphone user, you interact with APIs every day — you just don’t know it. When using an application like a social media platform, the platform connects to the Internet and sends data to a server.

That server retrieves the data, correctly interprets it, and sends it directly to your phone. The social platform then interprets the data also and delivers the information in a readable way.

That entire process is possible due to the API. Its purpose is to deliver your request to the server and send the information back to your device.

Without an API, your ERP application data is not accessible to other programs. The API is the middleman that shuttles that data effectively between your ERP and the other programs. So, you’ll want to be sure that your ERP has an API to work in conjunction with other programs.

APIs have a wide range of capabilities including item pricing, image services, server authorization, form printing, and more. They are essential to e-commerce sites that rely on their ERP for proper performance and efficiency.

How frequently does data need to sync?

Depending on the use of your ERP and the various data streams, data will be synced at different intervals. For instance, a customer purchase will update instantly in the ERP systems, but inventory data may only need to sync once every half hour or hour.

By default, many users want to sync data instantly. But that isn't always the best option. Instead, we recommend analyzing and syncing data streams when appropriate. This keeps you from syncing for the sake of syncing.

A good way to organize your data and decide on syncing intervals is to map out all of your data points. Divide those into categories based on the importance of their data being up-to-date at all times.

Some companies simply can’t afford to let any data sit for an hour before syncing. That is possible. It will just require a greater investment in your data management. Something Foremost is very skilled and experienced in.

Does your ERP handle products/customers/orders? And do you need all three synced?

Perhaps the most common uses of ERPs among our websites are the handling of products, customers, and orders. That data is necessary to save time, improve productivity, and ensure that orders are coming in and shipping out properly.

If your ERP is not handling those key factors, you leave yourself vulnerable to missing orders, selling products that are not in stock, and losing customer data. That’s why having them synced is so important.

Every customer that purchases a product through an order has just impacted all three of those data streams in a variety of ways. The product stock level has gone down; the order has initiated the packaging and shipment process; and the customer data has changed since they have now purchased a product.

Without this information synced correctly, your ERP could lose out on valuable customer information and end up advertising products that are out of stock.

Is there documentation, and if not, a point of contact?

Managing an ERP is far from a simple task. While some ERP integrations provide you with steps on how to manage it properly, it can be tricky to understand when more complex issues arise.

At the very least, you should have proper documentation to manage the day-to-day operations of the system. However, without a point of contact, you can be in the dark about key elements of your ERP or how to make updates to access more functionality and limit inefficiencies.

When Foremost Media sets up an ERP integration, you’ll have a dedicated team that understands all of the details of the integration. We can weed out those inefficiencies or help update your ERP when it becomes outdated and is no longer supported.

That’s why so many businesses trust us to implement and manage their ERP integrations with their websites.

ERP Integration Examples

xTuple ERP Integration Benefits

To meet the needs of our plentiful manufacturing clients, we utilize xTuple, which is billed as an ERP specifically for manufacturing. As a scalable ERP, xTuple can handle a variety of business sizes and can adjust as your company grows. We have both completed and in-progress projects to implement xTuple for our industrial clients.

While integrating and transitioning to an ERP will include costs upfront, the ROI based on a variety of advantages will only grow the longer you utilize xTuple. Eliminating duplication, managing inventory, and collaborating on supply chain issues will have tremendous impacts on the time and money spent on those tasks alone.

SyteLine ERP Integration Information

In order to better handle customer relationships, inventory, supply chain, and more, one of our clients chose us to implement Infor SyteLine. They have since been able to drive better, more informed decision-making throughout business and customer management.

While some ERPs appear to be a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution, SyteLine allows you to fine-tune the system and create tools that solve day-to-day challenges that plague your business. That way, whether you’re a small manufacturer or an enterprise-size OEM, your business can run more efficiently by solving inventory, production, and scheduling issues.

Get enhanced reliability and guaranteed performance which enables you to be confident in the processes that often hinder business productivity. The cloud package allows for companies to branch out without the need for an on-premises solution or any additional hardware purchases.

Lightspeed POS E-Commerce System

Our clients utilize the cloud-based ERP Lightspeed as a one-stop Point of Sale (POS) system. Foremost implements Lightspeed within client websites to function as an E-commerce back office. Lightspeed is recognized as a quality ERP within the retail POS industry.

On top of simplifying the often complex operations of a retail operation, Lightspeed enables you to scale your business organizational structure as your business opens new locations or expands to new input or output channels.

When starting a business, you envisioned sharing your products or services with the world. You most likely weren’t thrilled about having to keep the company financials in line and dealing with inventory issues.

Many companies have trusted Lightspeed to simplify their retail business both online and off. Foremost, then, has the capabilities to integrate Lightspeed into your site, so that you can reap the benefits without the headache of installation and complicated maintenance.

Still looking for a bit more information? Feel free to contact us about ERP integrations, and how we can help make your business more profitable and productive.