Do I need an ERP?

Solved
Trent0815
New Member
2 0 1

Hey there community,

 

I'm setting up a Shopify store for the first time, and I'm not clear whether we need an ERP system to coordinate things? There are plenty of websites trying to sell me an ERP system, but very few telling me if I actually need one. Here is a quick overview of our business

- Sell only a limited number of products,

- Don't produce anything directly ourselves,

- Sell on multiple shops (amazon etc.)

- Have a connection to a CRM system to help us manage leads to doctors - a key part of our referral strategy.

- Have no physical presence - only online sales 

- Will have B2B customers that will order 

 

So - if anyone has experience with wresting with this question - I'd love to hear your opinion.

 

Thanks very much!

 

Trent

Accepted Solution (1)

Accepted Solutions
kingstore
Shopify Partner
85 4 16

This is an accepted solution.

@Trent0815 I'm sure you're not the only one looking for an answer to this question. In my experience, companies only really need an ERP system once they've gotten over a certain threshold where you're trying to connect large departments of people and there needs to be data congruency across these departments. For instance, finance needs to talk to accounting, HR needs to connect to finance, operations need to sync back to accounting, inventory and warehouses need to report back to everything. In this scenario, a smaller (still not small!!) company (<$100M) can quite effectively get by with a WMS and accounting system. 

 

Without knowing too many details it's hard to make a suggestion, however, we've worked with many companies who are between $1-$50m who do excellent with their accounting and inventory system working together. Even Shopify paired with shipping software can get many companies quite far.

 

Long and short of it is this, most companies I've seen be successful are using tools that offer 90% of the functionality for 1/4 the price (or less). On top of this, in order to fully utilize an ERP, it's important to remember the resources necessary to take advantage of an ERP system. 

 

Hope that provides some help. If you're thinking of adding a warehouse management system to control all your operations from purchasing and inbound right down to pick pack and ship, I'm part of a team building SKUsavvy specifically for Shopify merchants and we'd love to have you give it a shot. It's modern, mobile, and free for your first account.

The best Shopify Inventory Management App: Purchases, Bin Locations, Visual Inventory, Warehouse Management, Pick Pack Ship, Cycle Counts, and more.
Get your first SKUSavvy Mobile Inventory and Order Fulfillment account free for 50 orders
Schedule a call

View solution in original post

Replies 3 (3)
Richard_Zhou
Shopify Partner
99 0 6

ERP is a very broad term and you have at the upper end folks like SAP, Epicor  etc with ERP systems  which can support multi-billion businesses and clearly they are an over kill for you. On the lower end, anyone call call them a "ERP" solution .

Shopify itself can do a lot of things nowadays. You can do the selling of course , shipping if your volume is not huge and it has a rudimentary customer management interface. Other things like purchasing is pretty weak. Recording payment (online or offline) is also super easy with Shopify. 

So i think an important way to determine if you need an ERP system is to map our your workflows from the moment an order is placed and all the way to shipping the order and collection of payment if order is not prepaid. Also workflow to handle returns/ changes to orders after they are placed. Since you do not have inventory, there is no need for inventory management but how to manage the orders placed to your suppliers (assuming you are doing some kind of dropship) and make sure first the ordered quantity is correct,second,supplier has stock, third the expected shipping date are communicated to your customers .  There are more workflows to consider if you are selling medical related goods, tracking orders for recall purpose and compliance issues. 

In summary, review all the key workflow for your business and identify how to do them with Shopify. Whatever steps in  your workflow you cannot do, either simplify your workflow or find other solutions to complement shopify and fill the gaps. There is a thriving AppStore and almost all your problems can be solved by installing an addon app.  Since appstores have many vendors, finding apps that work well together might be a challenge. We have seen users that often have to double, triple data entry to copy data from Shopify to an app and also copy data from one app to another. This is where an ERP system can offer a better solution. Since an ERP system would have many modules in them and they will work well together . There is no integration issues to consider comparing to using multiple apps.

Since you are just getting started, solving one problem at a time might be the prudent approach. Going all in in one ERP system might complicate things and make it harder for you to get started.  Identify your needs and then rank them in importance and focus on the top needs. Find solution for them. Some solutions might be temporary and as business pick up, re-evaluate the solution and replace it if needed.

Hope this helps.

 

Creator of the Metafields Editor App
http://apps.shopify.com/metafields-editor

and Versa Cloud ERP (ERP created for Shopify)
https://apps.shopify.com/versaccounts-cloud-erp-www8
kingstore
Shopify Partner
85 4 16

This is an accepted solution.

@Trent0815 I'm sure you're not the only one looking for an answer to this question. In my experience, companies only really need an ERP system once they've gotten over a certain threshold where you're trying to connect large departments of people and there needs to be data congruency across these departments. For instance, finance needs to talk to accounting, HR needs to connect to finance, operations need to sync back to accounting, inventory and warehouses need to report back to everything. In this scenario, a smaller (still not small!!) company (<$100M) can quite effectively get by with a WMS and accounting system. 

 

Without knowing too many details it's hard to make a suggestion, however, we've worked with many companies who are between $1-$50m who do excellent with their accounting and inventory system working together. Even Shopify paired with shipping software can get many companies quite far.

 

Long and short of it is this, most companies I've seen be successful are using tools that offer 90% of the functionality for 1/4 the price (or less). On top of this, in order to fully utilize an ERP, it's important to remember the resources necessary to take advantage of an ERP system. 

 

Hope that provides some help. If you're thinking of adding a warehouse management system to control all your operations from purchasing and inbound right down to pick pack and ship, I'm part of a team building SKUsavvy specifically for Shopify merchants and we'd love to have you give it a shot. It's modern, mobile, and free for your first account.

The best Shopify Inventory Management App: Purchases, Bin Locations, Visual Inventory, Warehouse Management, Pick Pack Ship, Cycle Counts, and more.
Get your first SKUSavvy Mobile Inventory and Order Fulfillment account free for 50 orders
Schedule a call
natashadisante
Shopify Partner
121 0 15

Hi @Trent0815 

 

We have quite a few stores using Mixtable as a spreadsheet ERP for Shopify. You have all the flexibility and features of an Excel spreadsheet, with a seamless sync to and from Shopify. All at a cost that's night and day from the ERP solutions out there. Sync product, inventory, orders, customers, etc. information to and from Shopify. Mixtable also behaves like Excel, with all the formulas you know already, and so you can do any calculations you want.