As a growing wholesale distribution business, periodic assessments of your business software helps to detect and overcome inefficiencies. When productivity and growth issues surface and create bottlenecks, analyzing these solutions will help to determine if you’re equipped to address these challenges going into the future.
There are multiple software options available to companies that manage evolving industry trends, and wholesale distribution ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems are a common choice for distributors planning ahead.
Evaluating your distribution software starts with asking the right questions about your productivity gaps and understanding your unique business requirements.
Remain focused, but be aware many businesses get sidetracked by the collection of features offered by ERP systems instead of honing-in on their specific requirements. As a result, you could easily overlook key considerations of integrating this new solution into your existing workflows.
With that in mind, here are 5 key questions to ask yourself as you investigate the distribution ERP system that will help your business grow and compete:
What factors keep you from scaling your operation to compete in the marketplace?
Every business is different so consider the structural or process issues that keep you from growing your business the way you’ve envisioned. Consider which processes create bottlenecks within workflows or inventory items stuck on the shelves. What operational data don’t you have that will grant you the business insights necessary to make sound managerial decisions?
Why are these factors in the first place?
As part of your software evaluation, you’ll likely identify various culprits which are limiting growth. Consider whether your organizational structure supports the kind of growth that you expect, or if you’re creating operational wastes by “spinning your wheels.” Or, perhaps it’s even so simple as you’ve been partnering with the wrong vendors.
Regardless of the specific setback, they intrinsically limit how efficiently your business can function.
How outdated are your current processes governing how you do business?
It’s important to keep your current processes and policies up to date in order to remain efficient. There is no permanent solution for how any business functions but ERP remains an intrinsically agile system that allows you to stay on top of the business needs in an ever-changing distribution marketplace.
Modern distribution ERP can transform your operation by integrating, managing, and streamlining core processes, from human resources and accounting to sales and inventory – to consolidate data into a single source of information for real-time, accurate and actionable insights.
What new approaches do you need to adopt in regard to growth and constantly working to improve?
Very early on in your software assessment, you’ll begin to look at your immediate business needs as well as any future requirements. What problems will the application be expected to solve? Compare what you need from new technology against what would be nice to have.
These are among the most obvious questions when performing your software evaluation, which makes them easy to miss but they’re also the most important, so be certain you answer these thoroughly.
How do you plan to address your problems with ERP?
ERP solutions can solve a lot of the problems present in distribution, but it takes conscientious planning and targeted problem-solving to address specific pain points with ERP. Will you need customizations?
From a functionality standpoint, you’ll want an ERP system that can adapt to your business requirements without needing extensive customizations. Besides adding difficulty to the implementation process, software customizations potentially add costs and create complexities for future upgrades.
In today’s highly competitive market, inefficient systems can drastically affect the productivity, profitability, and growth of your distribution company. By understanding how the integration and management of your core distribution processes are improved within a unified ERP system, you put your operation ahead.
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