Connected vs. Integrated: Just how strong is your ERP-shipping link?

Connected vs. Integrated

Just how strong is your ERP-shipping link?

In this blog post we will explore why all ERP-shipping software connections are not created equal, and why truly integrated systems matter

When it comes to the linkage between your ERP and shipping software, understanding the difference between a surface level “connection” and a true “integration” may determine whether you unlock the full ROI on your ERP. When you take a powerful system like Acumatica, and pair it with a weakly-connected shipping software your entire fulfillment operation will suffer even if the ERP is doing everything it is supposed to do. With a deep integration, like the one between Acumatica and 3G Pacejet Shipping, those two systems will act as extensions of one another and operate as one.

When deciding to deploy Acumatica, it’s likely that a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer will also elect to use purpose-built shipping software. Many products claim to be “integrated” with Acumatica, but in reality only have surface-level connections. But what does it mean to be truly integrated? Here are some of the key things to look out for:

  1. Who builds, fulfills, and maintains the integration?
  2. Is data sharing bidirectional and automatic?
  3. Can you perform shipping operations from either interface?
  4. Can you add and populate custom data fields?

Integration integrity. An ERP-shipping software integration is only as good as the team building and fulfilling it, and only as reliable as that team’s obligation to continue its maintenance. And there is no stronger integration than one that is not only part of the Fulfilled by Acumatica program but is also certified Built by Acumatica. 3G Pacejet Shipping is the only shipping software to meet both criteria, meaning its integration was built by Acumatica (with the dynamic nature of the ERP in mind), and is also perpetually maintained by Acumatica (to guarantee it is always up to date).

Data Sharing

The reason complete ERP-shipping software integration is so important is the extent to which ERP users company-wide rely on shipping-related data. Sales reps need to be able to see shipping options. Customer service managers require access to tracking information. And without reliable data sharing, nobody can answer the ultimate question: “Did it ship?” Simply connecting a shipping software system to an ERP by no means guarantees that level of data sharing and will eventually create more problems than it solves.

Operational Flexibility

Integration is not just a question of data sharing, but also operational flexibility. Many shipping-related workflows should be accessible via either the ERP or shipping software, but often are not. Only a completely integrated system like 3G Pacejet Shipping will provides that flexibility, which is very important to get the full ROI out of both systems. It’s what lets salespeople use the ERP to rate shop (a 3G operation) and warehouse packers use the 3G interface to view full order details (ERP data). The beauty is that the systems are interconnected enough that the results will be the same whichever interface is used for many shipping workflows.

Data Fields

A true ERP-shipping integration anticipates that users will need to add data fields not originally included with either system, then share that data across both. While both Acumatica and 3G include comprehensive data fields, customers’ unique needs often require the addition of custom fields. Were the systems merely “connected” it would take substantial software development to add the fields in both and get them to communicate the data back and forth. The way the Acumatica-3G integration has been architected, however, this can be configured almost effortlessly.

If you are a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer, shipping software will likely help you experience the full ROI from your Acumatica deployment. However, that’s only true if you select shipping software that is fully integrated with Acumatica. With an integration built and fulfilled by Acumatica, and exceptional interoperability, 3G Pacejet Shipping makes an ideal partner for anyone shipping out of Acumatica.

Want to talk more about important points of integration between Acumatica and shipping software, or have questions about shipping software in general? Let’s talk!