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This article was written by Eugene Tsay, Partnerships
Today’s enterprise business leaders understand the value of integrated business processes. That’s why more and more small and medium-size businesses are relying on enterprise resource planning systems, or ERPs.
Simply put, ERPs increase productivity. Because they combine such processes as finance, accounting, purchasing, and human resources management across departments and locations, ERPs allow companies to move products faster, process orders more quickly, manage vendors more effectively, and handle accounting more smoothly.
And because the data is integrated, ERPs can deliver analytics and reporting that provide business leaders with more meaningful business intelligence. It allows for better decision making that typically leads to even greater productivity.
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But for all the impact ERP systems can have on productivity and efficiency, most leave out one of the most vital business processes: the point-of-sale.
The point-of-sale (POS) is the primary entry point for key data; sales transactions, customer information, and ongoing inventory adjustments all come through your POS. Having front-of-house POS remain separate from the back-office ERP means missed opportunities that could undermine the organization.
The most obvious missed opportunity is the failure to connect sales transactions with accounting. But a point-of-sale is about more than just transactions and payments. A POS that isn’t fully integrated with the ERP could mean:
- Lapses in inventory tracking and reordering
- Duplicated processes, like having to update catalog and pricing in both systems
- Inability to keep customer information up -to -date in both places, including contact information, payment information, and transaction history.
Stopping short of a full integration means trying to force these two systems to play well together. That can result in the same kinds of inefficiencies and duplicated processes that ERPs aim to resolve in the first place. Reconciling the two systems can involve cumbersome spreadsheet exports and data imports that take up unnecessary staff time and can easily introduce error.
An integrated solution
Square and SAP Business One have been working together to solve this problem. Together, we’ve developed and deployed an integrated ERP and point of sale that work together as a single system. This provides greater control of operations across multiple locations, more efficient processes through data centralization, and improved data reporting.
Square and SAP have found that companies that operate their POS and ERP as a single integrated system get much more from both together than from either system alone. By integrating sales transaction and customer data with catalog, inventory, payments, purchasing, accounting, and employee management, businesses can profoundly streamline and simplify operations, even with many locations. At the same time they gain access to real-time integrated data for better decision making.
Central to this integration is the syncing of key point-of-sale retail data with the ERP. Here’s how it works:
- Sales transactions from the point-of-sale software are automatically synced into the ERP’s accounts receivable module.
- Catalog items, product details, and pricing changes introduced into the ERP product catalog automatically populate all point-of-sale locations.
- Item inventory remains updated across both systems.
- Customer information entered into either system automatically syncs to the other system.
Because Square offers hardware for checkout counters as well as mobile hardware for on-the-go transactions, pop-ups, and line-busting, ERP integration means that inventory and other key data remain synced no matter where transactions occur. Square also offers an eCommerce API, which, together with in-person transactions, can enable a merchant to offer a true omnichannel retail experience.
The business intelligence yielded by combining data and reporting leads to positive management outcomes, including:
- Total inventory awareness, leading to a proper supply of high-demand items at crucial sales times.
- Scheduling staff at times with the highest sales potential, leading to efficient use of person-hours, satisfied sales staff, and the opportunity to get the most out of higher sales periods.
- Understanding customer buying patterns, which can lead to increased sales and an improved customer service experience.
An ERP alone is a powerful business tool. With an integrated point of sale, it becomes an even more powerful system that yields smoother processes and detailed, actionable insights, for fast, effective decision making.
To learn more about the Square integration with SAP Business One, contact [email protected].