Wholesale distribution companies strive for growth, but in today’s fast-past market the complexities present major business challenges that include unstable product inventories and efficiency in a mobile economy.
Distributors facing the uphill battle of heightened consumer expectations and shortening fulfillment windows need more from their enterprise resource planning (ERP). The ability to get answers to questions like: ‘How many units shipped this month compared to last month?’ or ‘What are the Top 10 most popular items in the last 90 days?’ means distributors get real business insight to predict what’s ahead.
For those using legacy systems that were effective a decade ago supplemented by spreadsheets and manual workarounds, gross profit analysis is hard to come by. If growing an efficient distribution operation wasn’t challenging enough, read on for other ongoing challenges wholesale distributors have to ask themselves if they’re prepared to overcome.
Operational Redundancies & Waste Overruns
One of the biggest boons to distribution ERP is the way it helps management locate and determine the cause of operational waste, such as redundant inventory. Errors like over-ordering inventory arise largely from un-unified systems where ordering from vendors might occur from a number of different platforms.
By bringing all ordering and item tracking under the same umbrella, management gains immediate insight into where these redundancies occur. ERP systems can be set up to create alerts for erroneous, repeat or unnecessary ordering as well as low inventory notifications that signal when it’s time to put in a new purchase with vendors to make sure that inventory levels remain ideal.
Inventory Management Instability
The single greatest challenge for any distributor is inevitably inventory management. Distributors hinge their entire business upon the ability to store, move, track, and accurately disburse inventories that range between narrow and mind-bogglingly broad in scope.
Whether a distributor’s inventory is varied across diverse product types (as with larger online retailers) or more niche (as with a specialty retailer like one that sells musical equipment), the difficulties with properly managing inventory for storage and correct shipment remain the same—it’s the scale and relative system complexity that changes.
ERP systems address these issues with robust inventory management tools that afford users the ability to readily track and move inventory by the individual piece, batch, and lot numbers. Additionally, ERP systems help address issues of supply chain management challenges such as winding-up with insufficient inventory to fulfill consumer needs or, alternatively, managing an excess of inventory by granting invaluable business insights into the flow of material through the company.
ERP helps distributors better understand the ebb and flow of consumer needs and the volume moving through the operation, granting them a more agile place to be able to predict what their future needs will be.
Importing and Exporting
The global economy has forced distributors to be as agile on an international level as they are domestically. Domestic distribution centers afford distributors a greater level of access to domestic vendors, thereby simplifying the supply chain for onshore partners vital for the successful growth of the business.
Alternatively, importing goods from overseas (and exporting to foreign markets) is often a notably more opaque process that involves more blind corners, and therefore more waste. The data insights granted by ERP help lift the veil of these unknown areas of operation as well as further streamline those business relationships with foreign vendors and consumers.
Improve customer service with mobile technologies
Whether it’s warehouse staff or customer service reps, mobility is one of the major trends affecting wholesale distributors. Teams restricted to their onsite workspace are at a huge disadvantage to teams who can operate on the go.
With wholesale distribution ERP, credentialed mobile customer service and sales teams can access customer data, stock levels, previous purchases, and promotions through any connected mobile device. Mobile technology represents a way for distributors to obtain mission-essential data for decision making that doesn’t require a tether to the office.
For distributors seeking to grow, wholesale distribution ERP maximizes their opportunities for increased sales through improved mobility, efficiency, and service. Famous for helping distribution management teams root out operational inefficiencies to save money on redundancies, wholesale distributors love Sage X3 for the single organizational and strategic pipeline they’re able to track, optimize, and cross-reference different data points that weren’t previously associated with one another.
Sage saves time and money by virtually eliminating the manual processes that encumber distribution operations amid increased expectations. e2b teknologies is a passionate and experienced team of industry leaders and business advisers providing high quality, uncomplicated, and innovative wholesale distributor ERP solutions. Contact us to find out if your operation is ready for the benefits of a modern distribution ERP system.