We’ve talked at some length about the benefits that ERP software can have on a business. But the more that software can target the specific sector you’re in, the more positives it can bring to your company.
For those in the logistics sector, industry-specific distribution ERP software offers a range of benefits that set it apart from generic ERP software.
Not only will it handle all of your business processes with minimal to no customisation required, but your vendor will also have a deep understanding of your organisation’s needs and can offer expert industry advice to satisfy your individual nuances. And since distributors must remain agile and adaptable to function at their best, software that’s tailored to your needs is going to help you stay in control, and ideally grow and scale up.
Below, we’ll show you how this kind of dedicated industry software can help businesses like yours take control over key processes within your operations.
What is distribution ERP software?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with what ERP software is. If not, here’s a very brief primer: ERP software integrates all areas of your operations, whether that’s financials, warehousing, analytics, demand planning or any number of other elements, in a way that allows for greater management of your business.
Industry-specific distribution software provides you with all of this, too. But it’s distinct from generic ERP in that it specifically meets the needs of your business and the demands it faces.
Distribution ERP software can help with shipping and transportation logistics, forecasting product demand, and managing/tracking inventory levels; it also offers built-in EDI services and integrates third-party platforms through REST API services. Elsewhere, it can handle shipping goods directly from your supplier to your customer, managing chargebacks, and breaking down things that impact your profitability, such as customer pricing, margins, and rebates.
A centralised distribution ERP software ensures the same real-time data is used by every department in a way to improve overall operations.
“Do I need distribution ERP software?”
Implementing ERP software is not a decision that’s made lightly. But sometimes there are things that can make deciding if it’s right for you a little easier.
If the following sound familiar, then it could well be time to take the first steps toward distribution ERP software.
If your customers aren’t impressed, then it could be down to any number of reasons. A lack of communication, failure to keep up with demands, inability to fulfil orders and then deliver them on time – the list can go on and on. And when these issues abound, that’s when things can get out of control.
It’s worth asking yourself why this might be happening. If your staff aren’t given the correct tools to carry out these processes, then it’s probably a sign that you need a solution that will.
If you’re using legacy systems or manual processes, then you might find streamlining a struggle. Relying on these outdated or ill-suited methods can be a huge time sink. And when your team are spending too much of their day carrying out manual or repetitive tasks, it leaves them with little capacity to put into more demanding and important duties.
A lack of visibility
As a distributor, having accurate visibility of your data, and then knowing what this data means, is vital. But working from various standalone systems can lead to inaccurate data.
By centralising all your data in one place with a distribution ERP, however, you create a single source that all departments can use to their advantage. And that goes a long way towards improving your company’s performance.
You aren’t growing
A growing business needs software that can grow with it. If not, then growth won’t come as easily as it should – or not without an increase in overheads and labour, at least. A system that lets you flourish can help keep these costs to a minimum.
You’re struggling with demand
With ecommerce growing at an enormous rate, so too are customer demands. Having the tools and technology in place that can cater to your industry is essential. Attempting to play catch up with incoming demands and changes is not a position you want to find yourself in.
If your current software is lacking, then there’s a chance that you might be struggling to meet demand. If so, it might be time to go for something more finely tuned to your needs.
What are the advantages of distribution ERP software?
We’ve hinted above at the benefits that distribution ERP software can bring you, but it’s worth taking a deeper look to see just how it can help you take control of your key processes.
Let’s take a look in more detail below…
Live inventory reports
Relying on manually checking product inventory to resolve customer queries can eat into your employees’ time in a big way. More importantly, it impacts customer service and can stand in the way of growth, too.
Distribution ERP software automates stock management, providing accurate, real-time data to your team when and where they need it. Specialised distribution systems offer advanced stock control features that will also ensure you maximise the productivity and efficiency of your inventory management team.
This all helps the customer service side of things. With up-to-date information, your team can answer customer enquiries in an easier, more timely manner.
Improved supply chain management
As well as managing inventory, distribution ERP software also lets you track the origination of every single item across your facilities. By doing this, you have a greater view of your wholesale costs, quality reports and returns, which in turn allows you to more easily compare suppliers within your supply chain.
With these kinds of insights, you can then make the necessary changes to ensure you receive higher-quality products, better margins on products and shorter shipping times.
Enhanced stock visibility
The up-to-date information within your ERP system also provides greater control over stock movements between multiple sites.
Through improved accuracy and real-time updates, you can greatly reduce the number of fulfilment errors, which is another issue that impedes customer satisfaction – and your profit margin.
It’s also possible to manage your stock inventory more strategically through your ERP system in a way that ensures sufficient quantity levels and optimal storage locations, which makes logistics and delivery far smoother than you may be used to.
Optimised stock forecasting
The use of historical data and real-time alerts within distribution ERP software can greatly benefit your stock forecasting and planning. By drilling down into the insights within your data, you can predict future stock demands throughout the year with far more ease.
This means that items that fly off your shelves stay well stocked ahead of peak periods. What’s more, advanced replenishment rules based on trends can prompt you on what to order and take into account the probability of what’s going to happen in the future.
Improved stock forecasting also has the added benefit of optimising your staff resources based on these same patterns of demand – essentially, you’ll always have the people you need, when you need them.
And by knowing exactly how much stock you need to have and when, you’ll be drastically reducing the amount of dead stock occupying your warehouse, which can prove costly to your operations in the long run.
Looking for a single solution to your business needs? Intact iQ provides perfect-fit answers to your biggest supply chain issues. Tailored to specific sectors, we’ve put our 30+ years of experience into understanding even the smallest nuances of your industry, whatever that may be. For more information, head here or get in touch with us today.