ERP’s Shipping Feature Vs. Actual Shipping Software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are universal in business. Thanks to the ERP systems’ ability to assist with streamlining processes across several departments, such as shipping and logistics, ERPs have become popular for thousands of companies so much that the global ERP software market saw a 10-percent annual growth rate in 2018. 

While ERP systems certainly have advantages, sometimes actual shipping software often enhances the capabilities of ERP systems even when the ERP system includes a shipping feature. Thus, shipping and warehouse managers should compare how an ERP system alone versus one with shipping software can best meet their business needs. Here are a few critical factors to consider and the pros and cons of each system.

Customization and Usability

ERPs offer a wide selection of features, including customizable applications. This enables warehouse managers the ability to design their ERP to manage their shipping processes to best fit their business needs. However, that does not mean each element provides a shipping or logistics department value. If the logistics team does not end up using the shipping features within the ERP system, then it won’t help achieve the company’s shipping goals. Since shipping software offers shipping-focused features, warehouse managers can find more value from using shipping software to enhance their ERP system.

Shipping Capability Strength and Real-Time Updates

Managing to ship packages correctly and on time is akin to taming a beast when shipping capabilities are weak. While ERP systems may include their own shipping feature, there are several aspects of shipping that ERP systems often lack in their essential shipping functions, such as only providing near-real-time data as opposed to real-time data. This, in turn, leads to a lack of robust shipping capabilities. 

But where ERPs fall short in shipping and logistics capabilities, shipping software enhances the ERP system. For example, ShipWorks helps improve ERP systems by enabling the transmission of real-time data. That means shipping managers can send and receive valuable information like changes in delivery addresses for orders in real-time.

Increased Automation 

Manual processes can slow down productivity in a warehouse, and, ultimately, the shipping process. Thus, warehouse managers must have a system that can assist with increasing automation. While ERP systems can offer interfaces that are simple to use and facilitate automation, if the system requires manual input of critical data, it can still slow down the shipping process.

As an alternative, shipping managers can use a shipping software solution like ShipWorks to enhance the ERP system’s capabilities by automating tasks, reduce costs associated with manual labor, and increase shipping efficiency. For instance, ShipWorks’ Automation Action Manager enables warehouse managers to automate printing shipping labels following the processing of a shipment, adding new email addresses to an email service provider when the ERP system receives a new order and other various tasks. ShipWorks’ Best Rate Tool also helps shipping managers find the best shipping rate and carrier based on several factors, such as the shipping destinations of each package and the package weight and dimensions.

Embedded solutions and Seamless Integration

Rather than relying on third-party applications, shipping managers can find the shipping help they need from within one central location and enhance communication between different applications a company uses. Studies show that ERP frameworks are resourceful in supporting operational efficiency by enabling communication with various departments. By providing enterprise-wide integration, ERP systems can pinpoint issues quickly but often have limitations to shipping workflow processes. Moreover, ERP implementations are complex and may lead to delays in shipping and added expenses when a company acquires another company and fails to implement the new ERP system correctly. Shipping software enhances these capabilities by simplifying processes and enabling warehouse managers to make quick changes in a shipping process with seamless integration. 

Final Thoughts

ERP providers have created large ERP systems with shipping features that can help improve operational efficiency. However, ERP systems often lack the capabilities required to match the complex processes involved in shipping. Where ERP systems fail to provide robust solutions for complex shipping processes, actual shipping software often provides a more effective resolution. Still, it’s essential for warehouse managers to consider how integrating actual shipping software into their ERP systems can assist them with improving operational efficiency. Find out more information about how integrated shipping software can improve ERP system capabilities by contacting ShipWorks