Operations and Supply Chain Management for eCommerce B2B Companies


B2B Supply Chain Operations

Supply chain management (SCM) is the handling of all operations that relate to building a product and getting it to the right people. An effective supply chain strategy means that goods are produced and distributed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Supply chain operations include inventory management, designing, planning, manufacturing, storing, fulfillment, and distributing. Some B2B companies are able to own every stage of their supply chain process, but most supply chains are made up of a collection of companies, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, etc., that are each responsible for completing certain steps within the supply chain process.


Challenges & Advantages of B2B Supply Chain Management in eCommerce

eCommerce supply chains can be complex, particularly for B2B companies who may not own the entire supply chain. When multiple companies are involved in the supply chain operations, everyone needs to be on the same page and have the same information, which can be quite the challenge in itself. Miscommunication or errors at any point in the supply chain process can slow down the entire operation and cause huge disruptions.

B2B and B2C have some of the same issues with supply chain management, but some challenges are unique to B2B supply chain operations. B2B companies usually have to work under tighter deadlines. While the consumer in B2C may want their product as soon as possible, the business in B2B needs the product by a specific time and day. This is because even one delay in supply chain operations delays other processes, and with every part of the supply chain relying on everything running smoothly, this can result in difficulties, loss of revenue, and ruined business relationships.

In many ways, however, the internet has made supply chain strategy much easier for B2B eCommerce companies. B2B companies have access to a wider range of suppliers, enabling partnerships that may not have been available previously. The internet also allows B2B companies to compare prices for different members of their supply chain, allowing them to reduce operating costs. B2B companies can negotiate on different prices with businesses, and see what competition exists for each part of the supply chain. If there’s enough competition, more negotiation can take place if another vendor offers a better price. An especially effective discount to have is for supply chain inventory management. It can depend on the current economy, but typically, it is helpful to reduce inventory cash flow, so borrowing funds isn’t necessary to have inventory on hand.

Another way to reduce costs is to simplify the design and reduce the requirements of supply chain operations. B2B companies can see what they don’t need and cut the costs of those supply chain processes. And with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and ERP integration, eCommerce B2B companies can have quick access to information on all supply chain operations.


The Value of ERP Integration and Online SCM Systems for eCommerce Supply Chains

ERP systems are an enterprise-level solution where the processes of companies, subsidiaries, manufacturers, warehouses, and more can all be accessed in one place. By integrating an ERP system with eCommerce software, B2B companies can combat the challenges of supply chain management and take advantage of the benefits of online SCM systems.

Integrating ERP and SCM systems enables up-to-date data, allowing you to make the right decisions. For example, some companies need to deal with weather-related situations. Weather can interfere with transportation and the ability of venues to stay open. If the public pool is closed, the company selling pool cleaning supplies can’t deliver. Without beforehand knowledge of this event, the supplier would have bought or manufactured products that they can no longer sell, resulting in increased expense and a loss of revenue. Therefore, ERP integration with eCommerce software, with its AI capabilities, is extremely useful for predicting the weather and the resulting supply and demand requirements.

Another situation in which ERP system integration is advantageous is when technology companies, such as chip manufacturers, must retool their manufacturing line each time they upgrade their chip technology. It is more cost-effective to make as many of one chip as possible, but companies must be careful not to make too much of one type of chip, lest it become outdated and won’t sell. Therefore, it is crucial to have up-to-date data that can give the correct timeline of when a product will sell and when to upgrade, while accounting for all the ebbs and flows of the economy.

Supply chain inventory management, shipping, and order tracking are also vastly improved by automated processes of eCommerce and ERP integration. Automation ensures that important details won’t be missed, and this information can be shared across the supply chain so that everyone has the same knowledge. This improves communication and enhances the flow of supply chain operations. Consistent information also helps ensure that schedules are kept so that products are delivered to the customer in a timely manner.

Automating processes can reduce your eCommerce business's operating costs and save time. SCM systems and ERP integration benefits you, the entire supply chain, and your customers.


ERP Integrations are Customizable to Meet the Needs of B2B Operations and Supply Chain Management

Everyone in the supply chain, from those in charge of purchasing, to company leaders, to those producing the items, etc., uses the same ERP system integrated with the B2B eCommerce software. However, each area has its own role, so the ability to customize the software is important for maintaining organization. People working in one part of the B2B supply chain have different needs and uses for the software than do those working in another part of the supply chain process. Customization of ERP system integration with eCommerce software allows for robust solutions for authorization, or who has access to what parts of the system. Some information is accessible to everyone, while other information may only be accessible to some people. The ability to tailor a software to the business’s individual needs is key to supply chain management and business growth.

The right amount of customization is also important, however. Too much customizability can be overwhelming and cumbersome, so the correct balance is essential for the best functionality of B2B eCommerce operations and supply chain management. This is one reason why an experienced integrator and software developer is necessary to achieve the best results from ERP integration with your eCommerce software.

Learn More About Supply Chain Management

Clarity Ventures specializes in integrating ERP and eCommerce software, so you won’t have to worry about limited functionality or losses from a poorly integrated software. We can tailor the software to your needs, so that you can collect the benefits of enhanced business operations and supply chain management.

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Supply Chain Strategy for B2B Operations and Supply Chain Management Success

Effectively utilizing integrated ERP and eCommerce software is an important step in having the best supply chain strategy. Information is shared using customizable dashboards and business intelligence platforms that display the data in the ERP and SCM system tools. Business intelligence, ERP, and SCM platforms in eCommerce software can give daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly reports, with both summarized and detailed versions. Those with access can see the profitability per unit, quality control, time spent for various processes, resources, expenses, overall profit, and more. This micro and macro birds-eye view of business operations and supply chain management enable B2B companies to adjust their workflow and productivity in the right directions.

Automation is part of an effective strategy for successfully managing supply chain operations. Automated supply chain processes with ERP and eCommerce software integration offer many advantages to B2B supply chain management, some of which are discussed above. Additionally, because doing so manually can take a lot of time and effort, it is beneficial to automate the process of putting bids out to vendors with specific qualifications, such as which has the lowest price, the quickest delivery time, or the highest quality rating. Notifications can also be set up to alert the necessary people of low inventory or remind them to reorder a product.

The other part of a successful supply chain strategy is making sure to monitor the SCM system and keep on top of the information. Though automated processes are normally correct and trustworthy, it is important not to let your guard down just in case the system breaks or makes errors. Nothing is impervious to making mistakes, and though automation makes fewer mistakes than manual processes, the rule is to trust but verify.

Of course, having a properly integrated ERP system will drastically reduce the number of errors and system mishaps. A fully functional, integrated ERP and eCommerce software is a key factor in remaining competitive in the eCommerce marketplace. Automated processes increase data accuracy, streamline supply chain processes, and reduce staffing and overhead costs, thus allowing for a better ratio of money in and money out. This is why expert integration is the best option to get the most out of your eCommerce and ERP integrated software.


Clarity Can Help

For 15 years, our team at Clarity has helped clients with supply chain management and ERP software integration. Using our integration platform, Clarity Connect™, our customized integrations have helped our clients save valuable time and resources. To find out more about how Clarity can help your company improve its operations and supply chain management processes, call or click to contact us today!

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