Manufacturers often face many challenges when dealers place custom orders for their clientele. Communication breakdowns, delayed timelines, and manual entry errors can create significant hurdles. These issues underscore the critical need for a dealer quoting software solution to improve the ordering process. No matter the chosen software, it must align with the company’s ERP for data integrity and streamlined operations.
In this blog post, we’ll review common ordering issues and how dealer quoting software with ERP integration can solve them.
Common Ordering Challenges
Effective communication with your dealers is crucial. When a dealer is working with a customer on a custom order, they require specific details from the manufacturer. For example, available material types for sofas or accurate component costs for kitchen cabinets. Without these specifics, they are unable to prepare an accurate and timely quote.
Order and Quote Errors
Manual processes are prone to errors. Inputting dealer orders from phone call notes or transferring data from an email requires manual order entry. Numbers can easily be transposed, notes misread, or order specifics omitted. Not only does this open the door to errors, but it also wastes time and resources.
Timely order processing is essential for customer satisfaction. Imagine Customer Bob wants to order room-darkening blinds for his man cave. The dealer promises he will have the blinds in time for the big game. If a dealer doesn’t know that production is backlogged, the blinds won’t be ready, making Bob (and the dealer) extremely unhappy.
Complex and unreliable software systems can cause headaches for both the dealer and the manufacturer. Everyone knows the adage – the customer is king. They want to place their order today and don’t want to hear any excuses. They don’t care if the dealer doesn’t know how to use the quoting software or if the system is lagging.
The Role of ERP and CPQ Software
An Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) is a comprehensive software solution that integrates and automates your core business processes. It helps you manage various company operations, from sales orders and production planning to human resources and finance. A significant advantage of ERP is the ability to eliminate manual data re-entry through automation. With integrated Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software your company can simplify processes even more.
CPQ software handles the configuration of products, ensures precise pricing, and generates quotes efficiently. CPQ feeds this information to the dealer quoting software through the ERP system. This reduces the risk of errors and enhances overall efficiency in the dealer quoting and ordering process.
Understanding Dealer Quoting Software
Dealer quoting software acts as a facilitator between the dealer and your ERP system. The online software provides access to manufacturer design configurations like colors, materials, and components available within the online configurator. The CPQ software then generates a quote for the dealer with pricing, timeline, and specifications.
Upon quote and order approval, the dealer can easily transmit the order for production. The ERP and CPQ then synchronize with inventory and production schedules, offering real-time visibility and order tracking.
The software addresses common ordering issues by automating tasks, minimizing errors, and providing smooth communication between manufacturers and dealers. Essentially, it becomes a central hub for dealers to access product information, generate quotes, and communicate seamlessly with manufacturers.
Removing Pain Points Through Integration
You can eliminate many common issues with quotes and orders by integrating your dealer quoting software with your ERP.
Integrated quoting software provides a centralized platform where real-time data is easily accessible to dealers. This reduces communication issues concerning order specs that could lead to order delays from product rework.
Order and Quote Errors
System integration automates tasks and reduces the chance of errors in quoting, pricing, and order specifications. This leads to more accurate and reliable transactions and eliminates the need for time-wasting manual processes.
Integration reduces the time it takes to process quotes and orders. Because streamlined workflows and efficient data transfer contribute to faster order processing. Orders are then able to move swiftly through the ERP system, meeting timelines more effectively.
Integration results in fewer software headaches by providing a user-friendly interface and quick access to accurate data. The dealer can confidently close the sale while ensuring high customer satisfaction.
3 Ways to Integrate Your Dealer Quoting Software with ERP
Manufacturers typically employ one of three methods to transmit order data to their ERP system and into production.
1. Electronic Data Exchange
One way to transfer orders to a manufacturing ERP system is through APIs (Application Program Interfaces). APIs are flexible for designing customized data exchange that incorporates brand identity. A scalable solution, they are easy to update as well. APIs require custom programming and maintenance, however, often requiring IT teams and outsourced talent skilled in API interfaces.
Some companies look to EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). Traditional EDIs are designed for simple data transmissions. Hence they are a poor fit for complex configurations which can lead to mapping errors.
2. Custom Online Tool
The second transfer option is for manufacturers who have their online ordering application. These often take the shape of an online portal or mobile application. It requires integration of their CPQ and ERP.
Custom applications provide an efficient way to transfer data accurately. Once again, custom manufacturers rely on app developers and web designers for maintenance and if system errors occur.
3. ERP with Online Tool
Some manufacturers choose the third method, an ERP system with a built-in online quote and ordering tool. It eliminates the need for third-party integration since data transfers instantly. Order details, timelines, and status updates become immediately visible. A pre-built ERP module often works well for dealers since it simplifies the quoting process with minimal customization.
Successful operation of in-ERP quoting software is dependent upon the ERP chosen. Some provide only limited module customization with a simpler configuration tool. They may not offer the flexibility to meet both dealer and manufacturer needs.
5 Considerations When Choosing Dealer Quoting Software
Consider factors like flexibility, integration abilities, and ease of use when reviewing dealer quoting software for your company,
1. Flexibility: Choose software that allows for customization. Remember that it should cater to the diverse needs of your dealers and your unique business requirements.
2. Seamless Integration: Ensure the software integrates seamlessly with your ERP system, minimizing disruptions and downtime.
3. Scalability: Choosing software that can grow with your business is important. It needs to accommodate an increasing number of dealers and an increased volume of orders as your business grows.
4. Error-Free Operation: Look for software that includes automation. Automated processes minimize errors and reduce the need for manual intervention which also saves time.
5. Easy to Use: A user-friendly software option is always the best choice. It helps to accelerate the training process and makes quoting less stressful.
Frontier ERP Solutions
DataBroker for Data Transfers
DataBroker plays a crucial role in transmitting data seamlessly to the Frontier ERP system. It ensures accuracy and reliability in data transfer processes. By enabling seamless data transfers, DataBroker also enhances data management within the ERP system. This provides you with ordering information that is up-to-date and readily available for inventory and production scheduling.
eWeb Services for Your Custom Portal
eWeb Services makes possible the two-way integration of your dealer quoting software with the Frontier ERP system. It enables you to maintain a single source of customer, product, pricing, and configuration information. The eWeb Services tool lets you customize your quoting software to meet all your branding, marketing, and customer service needs.
eQuote Dealer as an All-in-One Solution
eQuote Dealer is an out-of-the-box solution for Frontier ERP. The add-on module seamlessly integrates with the Frontier ERP system. It streamlines the quoting process, ensuring that dealers can generate quotes and delivery dates quickly and accurately. The module also enhances communication by providing a centralized platform for manufacturers and dealers to collaborate.
Integrating dealer quoting software with ERP eliminates common problems in the ordering process. Manufacturers can take advantage of streamlined communication, reduced errors, minimized timeline delays, and resolved software-related issues.
Click here to learn more about any of Frontier’s ERP integration solutions – DataBroker, eWeb Services, and eQuote Dealer.