Internet application integrated with ERP for transport management – what for and for whom?
“We have an ERP system with a transport module – we do not need anything else” – this is the answer we get at times when we contact new companies with our offer. Sometimes that is true. However, more often than not, such an answer is the result of a misunderstanding…
Are Internet applications such as the Logistics Platform, Time Windows or the Transportation System truly competitive solutions for additional ERP modules? Or rather will additional applications be obsolete next to an extensive ERP system? Perhaps they will constitute a supplement for the ERP system that enables online work with outside contractors? Is the integration of Internet applications with ERP necessary in every company? What benefits does the integration of systems yield?
These and not only these questions we will attempt to answer together with our clients.
A supplement for the ERP system – exposing the system to outside contractors.
The main purpose of ERP type systems is the integration of all areas of activity of a business. Over 80% of large companies make use of systems of this type. They enhance planning, organizing or controlling main processes as well as provide data for analyses. The systems also integrate all business activity from purchasing, through production and ending up with sales. They enable an efficient operation of accounting, staff and controlling. Companies where we have implemented our applications successfully use adapted ERP systems. It happens that the aforementioned systems additionally feature a module enhancing the composing of the warehouse operation schedule or the transport order management. However, no matter the type or the size of the ERP system, the data exchange within the system was only limited to the departments within the company.
Even if entire processes of the order creation, delivery planning or shipping order creation are conducted in the ERP system, the entire communication with outside contractors is still conducted via mail or phone. The arrangement which shipping company will realize the delivery is often a matter of several messages. Afterward, nailing down the details such as, for example, the notification… entails more messages. In the event when the time of the cargo readiness has changed, for example, when a different driver has to conduct the transportation – logistics specialists will receive new messages or phone calls. Finally, the acquired information, despite an extensive system, needs to be entered into it manually. There are also situations when prior to the realization of the transport, the data change, which also needs to be noted down. Often in such an event when there is something amiss with the transport realization, the information reaches the appropriate people too late. On the other hand, constant monitoring of all shipments is too time-consuming. On a small scale it is obviously not an issue, however, with several dozen and more orders to realize every day it starts to generate issues.
Due to the direct connection of contractors to the ERP system being most often not possible, adapted and integrated browser-based applications like SCM, YMS or TMS can be helpful. The common feature of the Logistics Platform, Time Windows or the Transportation System by Logintegra is the online user communication and the option of data exchange with ERP systems in real time. Contractors and departments of the company by working in the same application limit the mail and phone communication to a minimum. Our applications are therefore not a competition to the system already existing within a company but enable its better integration with business partners.
“Integration of Time Windows by Logintegra with ERP system has significantly affected the quality of cooperation with outside companies. Thanks to the implemented solution, Suppliers have a constant insight to the current order while we receive the information about the confirmation of an order along with its delivery date without delay. Notifications are rapidly synced between systems. The integration has allowed for less work, we no longer “waste time” on sending additional e-mail messages or conducting phone calls, instead we can focus on new orders.”
Jakub Hałaczkiewicz – Business Processes IT Support Specialist at Aluprof S.A.
Analyses and more efficient transport cost clearance
The analysis of offers, timeliness, the quality of services provided by our contractors, measuring the warehouse capacity, etc., is very difficult and sometimes even not possible in the cases where communication takes place mainly via e-mail.
In situations when the client organizes a personal receipt we often experience similar difficulties. The only difference in such a situation is that we can require from the carrier we had hired to provide us with relevant pieces of information in advance, whereas it is significantly much more complicated in the case of the client. Quite often the logistics department and warehouse learn about the time of the arrival of the client’s truck only when the truck is already at the gate…
DodAn additional benefit drawn from the integration of the Logistics Platform or the Transportation System is the matter of clearance and invoice verification. In some companies today, 100% of cost invoices from carriers end up at the logistics / transport departments for verification. In companies where the accounting department operates on an ERP system integrated with our Logistics Platform or the Transportation System, estimated transportation costs are known much earlier and invoicing is conduced more efficiently. Also, in most cases, it does not require a manual assignment.
“The integration of a SAP system with the Logistics Platform has turned out to be a very comfortable solution that also reduces the time required for processing and the transfer of documents as far as freight costs clearance is concerned. Prior to the integration, the entire process boiled down to the transfer of each invoice for freight services to dedicated people in the logistics department where it was registered, verified in terms of compliance of the service from the invoice with the service on the platform, given a substantive description along with a manual division of costs into items and recipients. Finally, it is sent to accounting.
Currently, the process is practically automatic. The interface operating between the two system is responsible for the automatic transfer of the freight cost and the freight currency from the Logintegra shipping order to the Freight Cost Document in SAP. The invoice for shipping services is delivered directly to the accounting department. The document is then entered into the system. After providing the order number, the freight cost is automatically updated and automatic assignment to items and recipients takes place.
IMPORTANT! The shipper is obligated to include the order number from SAP in the invoice.
The logistics department receives invoices only when discrepancies between the Carrier’s/Shipper’s Invoices and the data in SAP were detected as the invoice was being entered into SAP.”
Tomasz Rolny – Logistics Manager at PCC Rokita
Integration helps a great deal, just not everyone
WeAccording to our clients (and our specialists), when dealing with a large scale and a broad group of contractors as well as a high number of departments / people inside the company engaged in logistical processes, it is always worth to consider the supplementation of an ERP system with an Internet-based application. However, the integration of both systems is not always necessary at the stage of the implementation. Some of our clients have not been interested in integration from the very beginning and they provided very specific reasons for that – it was either that the cost of the investment was too high with regard to the estimated gain or that they had no possibility for the engagement in the preparation of the interface of IT specialists or consultants responsible for the ERP system on their side. Sometimes such a limitation occurs when the company deciding on the implementation is a part of an international group.