CRM and ERP: Collaborative success across the fixing sector 17 January 2019

By Matthew Gibson, Dynamics 365/CRM Solutions consultant, HSO

Organisations within the global fastener and fixing industry are starting to lean towards the implementation of a combined ERP and CRM approach to help power increased efficiency and GDPR compliance.

Previously organisations within the global fastener industry have preferred a one solution platform to record customer data or manufacturer information. Usually choosing between CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).

Those companies have previously gained a huge advantage from using a CRM system. The differentiator of these sales environments with manufacturing environments, is the need for external relationships to power their turnover. CRM really drives and enables their ability to engage effectively with individuals and businesses outside of their four walls. In contrast to this a fastener manufacturer would have seen the efficiency of its internally focused systems and processes, in terms of selling a less expensive product with fewer flaws, as more important to its overall profitability than excelling in its external relations, therefore finding more success with an ERP solution.

Even those organisations that opted to invest in both CRM and ERP, typically did not integrate them both together. With many opting for ERP but then adding further mini CRM systems into the mix. This provides some basic CRM functionality without having to expend the time and effort required to fully integrate the two. However, by leaving the two systems as standalone platforms and failing to integrate them, their functionality will be limited. Today, this view is completely changing due to increased competition across the industry as well as an everyday drive to improve and change technologies. So now, even previously inward looking companies are starting to realise the benefits of running CRM and ERP together – enabling their in-house sales and marketing departments, which previously operated separately, to collaborate more closely to deliver a more connected, personal form of customer engagement. This integration gives them a full customer view. In-line with this, technology has also advanced to the point where integration has become easier and more cost-effective.

Scoping out the benefits
CRM and ERP integration delivers a single customer view with all the information in one place, easily updated and controlled by a customer’s demand. For instance, if a customer no longer wants to receive emails, this can be controlled easily from one place as opposed to going through different record banks to remove the information. This falls in-line with the new GDPR and makes compliance in this area far easier than before.

The most important benefit outside of this is the enhanced intelligence and competitive advantage it brings. Poor integration often decreases this success. For example, an everyday scenario in a fastening factory where ERP is relied upon. These environments can increase its gross profit by automating processes such as build operations and order managements. However, its marketing team is more than likely going to be using a CRM which contains entirely different data. When it comes down to a marketing activity, i.e releasing new product information, the business would have to ask the ERP administrators to manually extract the information which is inefficient and time-consuming. This will negatively impact the business. Also, if sales people are not aware of new product deliveries, which can happen due to this lack of shared interface, then the company also loses part of its competitive edge.

Looking ahead
Many manufacturers and sellers are starting to see the benefits of implementing both systems as a collaborative integration. Technological advances like business agility, enhanced business intelligence, and improved compliance, are all joining forces to bring in a new GDPR compliant age, where organisations are more efficient than ever before.

About HSO
HSO is a leading Microsoft Global Solution Integrator – delivering innovative enterprise business solutions that improve the results of clients. Founded in 1989, HSO specialises in implementing, optimising and maintaining enterprise solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics 365, AX, CRM, and Office365, as well as integrating these into our client’s wider technology landscape. HSO works with multinational enterprises in industries such as distribution, retail, manufacturing and services.

Deputy Editor

Claire Aldridge Deputy Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 743 889


Having spent a decade in the fastener industry experiencing every facet – from steel mills, fastener manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, as well as machinery builders and plating + coating companies, Claire has developed an in-depth knowledge of all things fasteners.

Alongside visiting numerous companies, exhibitions and conferences around the world, Claire has also interviewed high profile figures – focusing on key topics impacting the sector and making sure readers stay up to date with the latest developments within the industry.