Why ERPs weren’t built to meet today’s B2B customer expectations

B2B commerce is accelerating

The transformation of business-to-business (B2B) commerce is accelerating as buyers expect increased accuracy, availability, and reliability. Businesses that don’t react to marketplace changes now run the risk of losing customers, failing to capture new business, and falling behind the competition.

In response, B2B companies are increasingly seeking to better manage inventory, handle order velocity, meet fulfillment commitments, and deliver on-time and in-full (OTIF) orders. However, these companies are currently leveraging ERP systems. An ERP is an application that automates business processes and provides insights and internal controls, drawing on a central database that collects inputs from departments including accounting, manufacturing, supply chain, sales, marketing and human resources.

Top priorities for B2B businesses:

A woman pulls a box from a large shelf of packages

Why your ERP system can’t meet today’s demands

ERPs were not designed for the dynamic, real-time sales ordering and inventory management required for today’s supply chain and customer experience demands. As a result, ERPs are not equipped for:

Scalability – Today’s marketplace demands a system that can quickly scale to meet evolving day-to-day operations, peak demand seasonality, and unplanned disruptions.

Adaptability – As strategies transform, order management systems are more equipped to adapt to meet new requirements for sales, inventory, and fulfillment processes that directly impact customer experiences.

Visibility – The ability to leverage a multi-enterprise view of the customer, pricing, inventory, orders and shipments ensures that SLAs are met. There are solutions that bring together siloed ERP data to deliver a single, real-time view so companies and customers have insight into orders and inventory at any time.

Complexity – B2B companies need tools to better manage increased complexities with customized business rules that are typically not available in an ERP, such as unique pricing by customer, prioritizing orders or customers, and stock thresholds to prevent low inventory. Companies typically have many different sales and fulfillment channels, both within the organization and via trading partners. Enterprise order management systems have the ability to easily integrate with a myriad of internal, external, and partner systems to get the job done.

FunctionalityERPOrder and inventory management solution



Highly agile



Designed for internal and external integration


Batch data

Real-time data 


Fixed modules

Customizable rules

Process orientation

Back-office focus



A system of record

A dynamic order orchestration platform

Channel support



A female warehouse worker looks at a tablet

Improve the customer experience with order and inventory management solutions

The strategic priorities of leading B2B companies are clear: transform, streamline, and automate.

Order and inventory management solutions, with precise, real-time inventory counts and the ability to help better manage SLAs, are the answer for B2B organizations looking to transform their business. The method for achieving these objectives:

Transform your ERP
State-of-the-art order management solutions can enhance your ERP with a flexible and scalable platform so you can maintain your system of record, but super-charge the sales ordering and inventory control process.
Order orchestration
With flexible and configurable features around sourcing and order orchestration, an advanced order management system can establish business rules that are right for your company and your customers. Order management solutions are designed to span the entire order process from order intake and inventory management, to customer service and order changes, through to fulfillment, shipping, and returns optimization. Orders that require services and goods need to be orchestrated together, respecting resource calendars and inventory availability in a seamless way to delight the customer.
Real-time visibility
With a modern inventory solution, siloed data is easily pulled into a single, real-time view. This arms your sales team with the confidence to commit to more promises for every new order. Real-time inventory means that you know where your inventory is across the globe, even in transit. And, with features like stock thresholds and estimated delivery date, customer satisfaction will soar. With a global real-time view of inventory, data-driven supply chain decision-making, assisted by Artificial Intelligence, can help you optimize inventory on-hand to reduce working capital tied up in inventory, reduce stockouts, and eliminate markdowns of slow-moving stock.
Order fulfillment
Order management solutions ensure timely and accurate OTIF promises or SLAs are comfortably met. In addition, the solution helps to enable omnichannel delivery capabilities that match your customers’ demands. Sophisticated inventory segmentation and assistance for business-driven allocation of stock are requirements for best practice B2B order fulfillment. An advanced order management solution enables B2B companies to accelerate transformation and automation, improve customer service and loyalty, manage cost controls, and drive profitability.

An advanced order management solution enables B2B companies to accelerate transformation and automation, improve customer service and loyalty, manage cost controls, and drive profitability.

A number of robotic arms assemble a car chassis
1 Facing a retention crisis, B2B sellers need “AirB2B” experiences, Accenture, March 2020.
2 The B2B digital inflection point: How sales have changed during COVID-19, McKinsey & Company, April 2020.
3 Gartner Identifies Top Five Areas in Digital Commerce that COVID-19 Will Change, Gartner, October 2020.