First up, what’s an ERP?
Before we get stuck into Shopify’s Global Program, let’s pin down exactly what an ERP is. In the simplest terms, an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planner) is the system at the heart of many companies' supply chains and acts as the gatekeeper of records for a business's most important data. This includes:
- Customer data - concerning orders and transactions
- Manufacturing - as a resources planner and scheduling for production
- Procurement - to handle the acquisition of resources for manufacturing purposes
- Fulfillment/logistics - acting as the centralized information system to communicate with the company’s order management system and potential third party logistics
- Product data - acting, in some instances, as the item master and keeper of product information records
- Finance - as the centralized reporting and budgeting tool for the finance and accounting team
- Asset management - to maintain an accurate record of the company fixed assets, such as the machinery and other equipment as well as their general status (maintenance, diagnostic and depreciation)
- Human resources - to manage and record all aspects of human capital within the enterprise, such as performance, compensation, expenses and employees development
Seems like a lot to handle? It is. An ERP is probably the most important and core system of any sizable business; a pillar for the organizational data and any data related to both B2B and B2C transactions.
To discuss Shopify’s global ERP program, we’re focusing purely on B2C, where an ERP system will support the sales transaction between the consumer and merchant. On your e-commerce platform, this looks like:
- Order updates
- Fulfillment updates
- Item/product master
For more on this, take a look at our article on ERP, PIM, WMS, and OMS and how they work with Shopify Plus.
What was the situation before?
Prior to Shopify’s ERP update, merchants had two options for connecting their ERP and Shopify store.
The first was to use one of the well-known back-end middleware providers such as Mulesoft, Celigo, or Boomi. These providers offer merchants out-of-the-box services and integrations between multiple back-end systems, with the minimal required development. While this option is similar to the Shopify Global ERP program, using partners like Mulesoft may be more appropriate if you need to customize the integration to fit a broader range of use cases.
However, as Shopify Global ERP is made by the ERP and OMS Company (which makes the apps in the Shopify App Store) to integrate directly with their system, using Shopify Global ERP might be the best option if:
- You want to keep costs down
- You’d like easy access to support
- You’d prefer to have no third parties involved
The second option requires the help of an integration partner that will be able to build a custom back-end middleware sitting between Shopify and the ERP/OMS, handling communication between the systems.
As this is the more tailored solution, it can support the greatest number of use cases. This option is ideal for legacy enterprise brands with…
- Unique back-end systems that require bespoke solutions
- Complex ERP and integration needs that are beyond the capabilities of the Global ERP program or out-of-the-box integration in option 1
However, this option also requires the biggest investment in time and resources.
For more on how Shopify can accommodate enterprise brands, check out this article.
So, what is the Shopify Global ERP Program?
Now you’re clued up on what an ERP is, does and how it worked before, let’s get to the good bit - what this program, launched by Shopify, means for merchants.
Shopify’s Global ERP Program enables Plus merchants using specific ERP providers (Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle Netsuite, Acumatica, Brightpearl, and Infor) to connect with simplicity and ease, through an application available on the Shopify App Store.
In doing this, merchants can access information from their ERP directly on their Shopify Admin, including general, inventory and customer information, product and order updates, status and more. By keeping everything in one place, businesses have better control of their supply chain and a more precise view of their current stock situation, which is particularly important for e-commerce businesses with high SKU counts and products that move quickly.
Additional information exchange and interfaces between the system will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Why it’s a game-changer
Thanks to the direct view and access to supply chain information that comes from connecting the Global ERP system with an online store, Plus merchants can make data-driven decisions to transform their e-commerce businesses.
Before the program was launched, Shopify merchants either didn’t have access to or were missing a holistic view of several useful data insights. Now, merchants can attain a better overview of inventory status, including things like deadstock.
To add the cherry on top, having this connector available through the Shopify App Store means that merchants who once had to make huge investments in integration partners can save these costs and redistribute to expanding their business or improving their supply chain management.
The Shopify Global ERP Program is a fantastic addition for larger merchants, and we’re delighted to be a featured partner”, added Stuart Pick, VP Global Alliances, Brightpearl. “Large commerce firms can now quickly connect with enterprise partners, and, because they come Shopify-endorsed, they can trust in their ability to streamline and automate retail operations, level up end-to-end commerce capabilities and enhance experiences for their own end customers.
VP Global Alliances, Brightpearl
Recent years have hammered home the importance of the supply chain in any business, from ensuring its sustainability or social compliance to making it airtight to high demands. Changes in import charges and shifts in political legislation can cause difficulties but efficient management of your logistics can help power your B2C website and ultimately, increase sales.
Connecting and centralizing your information and data is key to making the right decisions for your business, and integrating your website with Shopify’s ERP system is the first and most important step toward that. In a nutshell, Shopify’s Global ERP Program gives the leaders of growing businesses real-time insights from connected data to adapt faster, work smarter, and perform better.
Ready to improve your e-commerce store with Shopify’s Global ERP Program? Let us help.