Do I Need Dedicated Shipping Software with my WMS or ERP?
While Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications help wholesalers, enterprise businesses, and distributors run their business, they don’t often provide the intricate level of fulfillment functionality that warehouses and other high volume businesses need to optimize their shipping process.
ERPs are often broad in scope by design, offering capabilities beyond inventory management. They also help automate processes within various departments of a business, such as accounting, purchasing, and even customer relationship management. While an ERP is often sufficient for managing the warehouse operations of a small to medium business, larger organizations find that they need the more robust functionality of a WMS to better optimize the storage and movement of inventory in a warehouse.
In the same way that a WMS becomes necessary for larger businesses to manage their inventory effectively, dedicated shipping software becomes a necessity for high volume businesses looking to implement more sophisticated and customized workflows that optimize both management of inventory and the shipping costs associated with the fulfillment process. For this reason, it becomes necessary for businesses utilizing an ERP or WMS to consider a few factors when deciding which dedicated shipping software they will add to their workflow to get the shipping performance they need:
Connecting to Your Existing Systems
You have invested a lot of time into building out and optimizing your current workflows and systems. The last thing you want to do is rip out your current WMS or ERP and replace it to get the shipping functionality you need. Compatibility becomes a key factor here. You will want to be sure you choose a shipping software that will fully integrate and work with your existing systems.
API Integrations and Web Service Integrations
API integrations provide a modern way to programmatically connect your existing systems and order sources. Utilizing an API integration provides a customized and efficient approach for managing the flow of order information across your systems, helping maximize the potential daily order throughput of your fulfillment process.
ODBC and older platforms
Many high volume merchants have invested significant time and money into an on-premise WMS or ERP system. For these local systems, utilizing an ODBC integration to connect your system database to your fulfillment software allows you to utilize your local network to maximize the speed and performance of transferring order data between systems.
Replacing a WMS or ERP inevitably means big costs. Those costs go well beyond that of the ERP or WMS software itself, with an ERP averaging $20k+ and WMS significantly more at $100k+, and include the time and costs associated with the design, planning, implementation, enhancements, and maintenance of each respective system. There are also the training costs and interruptions to your business while implementing, with WMS and ERP systems taking 4-6 months or more to implement.
Integrating your existing WMS or ERP with a standalone shipping platform allows for greater optimization of your fulfillment process and shipping cost management without having to spend that time and money. A dedicated shipping software, like ShipWorks, that is specifically built to help warehouses and high volume merchants get the shipping performance they need, can be implemented in just a day or two, with no interruption to your current shipping flow and at a fraction of the cost.
Automated shipping is crucial, especially if ecommerce is only part of your business. No one has time to go through and manually apply shipping configurations. Automation processes allow orders to automatically apply desired shipping configurations upon import. This allows you to simply log in, ship, and log out. Look for a shipping software that offers robust automation capabilities, allowing you to focus on other elements of the business.
Some shipping software requires you to adapt to their system. This can limit how your team uses the software and impact your fulfillment workflows. Smaller businesses that are still in the early stages of growth can benefit from a shipping software that is more templated and equipped with a more defined workflow. For warehouses and higher volume merchants who are well established and have sophisticated systems already in place, flexibility and customization become crucial priorities. They need a dedicated shipping software that can work with and be molded around their current system and workflow, reducing the cost of change and retraining otherwise incurred during the implementation process.
How Shipping Softwares like ShipWorks Help
Dedicated shipping software, like ShipWorks, can act as an extension of a larger system. Whichever customer-facing services you use, however you store data, and whatever systems you currently have in place, ShipWorks will customize and work with any existing system and workflow. Instead of making process adjustments to fit the limitations of a shipping software that caters to smaller merchants, ShipWorks is built for high volume shippers and will work with your system.
ShipWorks is adaptable and highly customizable, allowing you to build automated workflows around your unique business needs. This is why businesses have been using ShipWorks for more than two decades.