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Route Optimization

Route Planning Integration with ERP + CRM: How to Do It

Learn how to integrate route planning software like eLogii with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.


What Is Route Planning Software Integration? 

Route planning software integration is a dependable method that enables process automation by connecting your route planning software to other systems.  It allows communication between route planning software and other software. That way, less manual effort is involved. 

Thus: 

Routing software integration lets businesses utilize available apps and other resources to grow while cutting costs and saving time. 

In this article you'll find out:

Why Is Routing Integration Important?

The more apps you use besides your route planning software, the more you need to integrate them.

That way, you don’t switch between multiple apps.

You can run multiple tasks from one platform.

System integration for route planning became unavoidable for core business processes.

You can introduce it to your business through routing APIs.

Routing APIs stand for routing Application Programming Interface.

In short, they are channels your route software and other apps use to communicate with each other.

Here are the key reasons you should try out route integration: 

Automation 

Routing integration through APIs makes automatic data handoff between route optimization software and other third-party apps possible.

Meaning you don’t have to input data manually and duplicate it on different apps.

That reduces the chances of error and saves you time.

For instance:

Integrating with ERP systems eliminates the need for communicating directly with drivers when you dispatch them.

Instead, ERP systems send alerts to drivers when orders are ready for dispatch.

You can also find out the real-time locations of drivers without calling them.

Here’s how it looks on a route planning software dashboard: 

Dashboard view of eLogii's route planning software with active routes, drivers, and orders

Scalability 

As your business grows, you’ll start using more apps.

That can get confusing without route planning software integration.

Route planning integration lets your business and delivery operations grow at scale.

And you won’t need to start from zero each time you want to integrate an app with your route planning software.

Let’s say you want to perform CRM integration. A.k.a., you want to start using a Customer Relationship Management software with your cloud-based route planner.

You just set up a new API to integrate it with your route planning software.

So next time you want to integrate new software simply add it to your existing stack via APIs. 

Streamlined Visibility 

When done right, route planning integration gets you access to more functionality in and out of our system.

Thanks to better visibility.

Having end-to-end process visibility lets you monitor and review data more effectively. And generate data-based reports.

If you use other software, like ERP and CRM, you get reports from all three software.

In this case, route planning integration with ERP and CRM helps better manage the supply chain. 

How Does Routing Software Integration Work? 

Routing software integration helps businesses by assisting them in picking the most efficient delivery route.

They do so by feeding algorithms into the process.

Step by step view of how api route planning software integration works

More precisely, route planning software integration happens in two steps: 

Step #1: APIs set rules for how applications interact with routing software 
Software integration starts by setting some ground communication rules. The routing API forms the requests which go in and out of the system. Those requests tell the software what you want it to do. In a way it can be understood.

Step #2: APIs deal with data transfers between the server and the code making the request
The API serves as a bridge between: 

  • The route planning software 
  • The second application 
  • The server 
  • The database 

Once the route optimization API gets a request, it runs a function. Depending on the request, it will return with a confirmation. That informs you if the software has received the request. And if it has completed the action. 

What Is ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)? 

Enterprise Resource Planning is a system that businesses use to manage core business processes. ERP software collects essential business data and organizes it for optimal performance. It allows control over order management, sales, marketing, customer service, etc.

The goal is to add visibility to manual operations and to automate them through ERP integration. 

ERP System and Route Planning 

An ERP system can help with obstacles in route planning. 

More precisely: 

ERP routing integration makes things simple by focusing on supply chain management. 

That way, it’s not all about estimating the route. It’s also about improving procurement, compliance, accounting, etc.

Improving these things also helps the delivery outcome.

ERP system integration for route planning helps you in several ways, such as: 

Order Fulfillment 

Without ERP integration, businesses manually update their inventory in their ERP system and e-commerce apps.

ERP integration helps completely automate the order-to-fulfillment process.

Not only are orders dispatched and delivered promptly, but customers are informed on time about their orders.

They get notifications on the delivery driver’s progress. A bonus is building brand loyalty and authority.

Faster order fulfillment can lead to an increased number of same-day fulfillment. That is another thing customers appreciate.

According to a 2020 McKinsey analysis, more than half of the surveyed mass-market consumers in the United States expressed interest in same-day delivery. 

Dispatching 

ERP integration makes dispatching more seamless.

It gives insight due to order information tracking and driver schedule updates.

When integrated with the route planning software, ERP systems help drivers get instant alerts when packages are ready for dispatch.

That helps driver responsiveness and reduces downtime.

And as mentioned above, it also keeps customers in the loop about their orders. 

Time Management 

Introducing automation to your operations helps the flow across the whole board.

In the case of route planning, one of the aspects that get better is time management.

Due to better visibility and updates about orders and driver schedules, route planners and dispatchers can better handle delivery operations.

As mentioned above, employee downtime lowers when order fulfillment operations are automated.

That also helps reduce employee workload, as more seamless operations lead to quicker task fulfillment.

We should drop a reminder that saving time cuts operational costs. 

Customer Satisfaction 

ERP integration and the visibility and automation it provides improve customer satisfaction.

With better communication flow, customers get answers quicker, often without contacting the dispatcher. They can get answers from the software itself.

And they get faster delivery.

When you combine ERP systems with route optimization software, the combination of route planning and order management ensures better customer interaction across the board.

For instance, ERP systems extract the vital order tracking data customers need to gain insight into their delivery. 

What is CRM (Customer Relationship Management)? 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a proactive technology that connects a brand with the customer. CRM offers insight into customers and helps you achieve profitability targets.

Thus: 

CRM system integration helps not just understand customers. It also streamlines operational processes. 

CRM System and Route Planning 

When you integrate a CRM system with route planning software, you can view vital customer data on the central dashboard.

That includes historical data, order status, customer inquiries, and service issues.

CRM integration in route planning helps you customize the delivery process and meet customer needs.

You can set the data visibility as available to the whole team.

The CRM also provides automatization and streamlining of processes.

It also limits the chance of error when collecting data. Thanks to the lack of manual effort.

It’s important to note that CRM integration also offers data synchronization.

So there is no need to repeat steps in collecting data.

In short, CRM integration helps you make the step from traditional to intelligent route planning. 

All thanks to customer data that predicts customer needs, and lets you act in real-time. 

Scheduling Optimization with Intelligent Route Planning 

There are a few ways you can optimize scheduling and delivery through CRM integration with route planning software: 

  • Data connectivity for better productivity and low costs:
    CRM with route planning software can automatically dispatch multiple delivery vehicles.

    It counts in traffic, weather, and similar factors that impact last-mile delivery. Using all this, your team can boost their productivity and lower costs.

  • Route designing upon capacity and priority:
    Stock allocation is much easier with cloud-based route planning software integration with CRM.

    You can visualize customer needs, map out the plan and effectively allocate stocks at warehouses. That not only speeds up delivery operations but also levels up customer loyalty! 

  • Making decisions on the go:
    Real-time visibility that route planning software with CRM offers is vital for dynamic decision-making.

    Dispatchers are quicker to check traffic updates and weather conditions, and open new tasks to appoint drivers to locations. As this saves time, it also boosts profits. 

Key Benefits of Integrating ERP and CRM 

Many SMEs (small and medium enterprises) depend on CRM and ERP software to run and scale their businesses.

To make the most of ERP and CRM integration, you need to understand some of the main benefits.

In one of the sections above, we already listed some benefits of ERP integration: 

  • Order fulfillment 
  • Dispatching 
  • Time management 
  • Customer satisfaction 

In addition to that, integrating ERP and CRM has the following benefits: 

  • There is no data duplication 
  • Data is easier to share 
  • Quote management improves 
  • You can forecast customer demand 
  • IT support cost goes down 
  • Visibility across the business is better 
  • Easy access to your systems, wherever 

Challenges Involved in Integrating ERP and CRM Systems 

Businesses continue to go through digital transformation. Software like ERP, CRM, and route planning systems help in that journey.

ERP and CRM systems have their differences, but the key thing they have in common is they help streamline logistics as dedicated supply chain management tools.

But what about the challenges they bring along? 

Challenges with ERP Integration 

These are two prominent challenges with ERP integration: 

  • Expensive modifications to support multiple ERPs:
    When companies start route planning integration, they install modules from the same vendor that provides route optimization software. But as businesses expand, they start using software from other vendors, too.

    Sometimes that means changing the current integrations to support newer modules. And that can incur extra costs.

  • Upgrade from batch integration to real-time integration:
    ERP integration went hand-in-hand with batch orientation technology. In the past, they were the foundation of most transactions.

    Now, there is a need for providing outbound data from ERP to other systems. Thus, the majority of outbound systems require real-time information.

    Real-time integration, therefore, is mandatory. And traditional ERP implementation can't provide it.

Challenges with CRM Integration 

Here are some obstacles you can come across when dealing with CRM integration into route planning software: 

  • Lack of involvement from senior management:
    In most cases, the IT team solely handles CRM integration. That leaves the senior management with a lack of information on the process.

    And as an extension, the end-user doesn’t get to experience all the benefits of the CRM software. Thus, the whole team must get involved in the CRM.

  • Compatibility or supportability issues:
    Some businesses can’t fully utilize the benefits of CRM due to some web services not being compatible with integration. That usually affects data integrity. 

How to Integrate ERP and CRM with eLogii [Step-By-Step]

We’ll get a bit technical now!

API integration with any software is VERY technical.

So make sure you involve your developer in this step.

Don’t forget to contact our support team at support@elogii.com.

Better yet:

CTA-Ready-to-learn-more-about-eLogii

Our colleagues are at hand to explain the whole process with easy-to-understand steps.

All in all, integrating ERP and CRM with eLogii can be broken down into a few steps:

First, your team and yourself should get familiar with API documentation which you can download HERE.

How to download eLogii's API documentation

The documentation has all the information you need to integrate eLogii with other software.
eLogii API uses an API key together with the Authorization header.

That authenticates the software.

And connects it to eLogii.

To get the API key, go to the eLogii dashboard.

Then click on the menu and select the API keys page.

In the window that opens, you can generate an API Key:

how to generate and download eLogii's API key in the dashboard

After you generate the key, add it to the authorization header:

Inserting eLogii's API key into the authorization header


The API integration is complete when the program authenticates the key.

Voila. The next step is to start using eLogii with third-party apps. 

Conclusion 

Are you ready to integrate ERP and CRM into your route planning software?

Ready to see how it profits your business?

In that case, read on:

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