From problematic supplier relationships and poor record-keeping to inadequate visibility across your end-to-end processes – import and export processes can be rife with issues of all kinds. And if you’re a merchant or wholesale distribution business, then you shouldn’t settle for improper approaches to importing and exporting.
Below, we’ll take a look at how, through improved supply chain management, you can make this part of the business more seamless and easier to handle.
Seamless Supply Chain Management for Imports/Exports
Improving your supply chain management obviously has a large part to play in the efficacy of your imports and exports. With the right business software, you can improve your approach to managing things in several different ways, including managing demand and producing reliable documentation.
And when you consider how time-intensive your existing processes are – and how often they can be affected by disruptions or human error – it’s essential that you’re working from real-time, accurate information to help minimise such issues. Supply chain management software does just that, providing you with detailed, up-to-date data which you can use to improve your import/export processes.
On the importing side, for instance, the entire supply chain can be seamlessly managed, particularly when using a distribution-centric ERP solution like Intact iQ. Such a system allows you to automate many features and processes, facilitating simplified day-to-day import management.
Enhance Your Procurement Processes
When it comes to procurement, ERP software can help you to streamline several processes, making for a much smoother journey for all who are involved with your procurement strategy.
Take the initial purchasing process. Previously, you might have manually estimated forecasts, created tracking numbers, filed orders, checked inventory, coordinated with suppliers, and carried out anything else that goes into the process. An ERP system can automate many of these tasks. And because such software can keep an eye on your inventory levels at all times, you’ll stay abreast of how much stock you have on site.
With this to hand, you’ll always know what needs ordering in, and when. In fact, you can instruct the system to alert you when stock levels are reaching re-order point.
You can also store multiple supplier sources against the products you stock so that if supply issues arise with one your team have a list of alternates to revert to.
Where your supplier relationships are concerned, ERP software can benefit your processes in different ways too. By collating all necessary information into a single supplier database, ordering different product ranges from an array of suppliers becomes far easier. Names, addresses, products and brands that they offer will all be stored in a handily accessible location, ensuring you have the right supplier information at all times.
ERP will also help with your supplier communications too. For instance, if your purchasing portal, existing inventory and current jobs are all fully integrated with one another, it’s possible to make simultaneous pricing enquiries for multiple items to multiple suppliers, as well as receive prices from suppliers without the need to re-enter specific information.
Some modern ERP systems also offer easy access to trusted product data sources like NMBS OnePlace, Trimbles Luckins or other Product Information Management (PIM) solutions from within your ERP system.
By leveraging this technology, you have ready access to vast quantities of supplier product data which you can search and add to your product file as required. It includes product specifications, images, links to the manufacturer’s website etc and offers a huge opportunity to better serve your customers.
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Meanwhile, the real-time data and reporting features of an ERP system provide decision-makers with relevant, accurate statistics. Not only does this allow them to track the movement of products, but they can use this data to improve operational efficiencies.
By feeding ERP data into digital systems and business intelligence tools, potential disruptions can be identified, while your procurement team are better able to understand trends and forecasts. And through analysis of such insights, you’re in a better position to improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs and assist in managing supplier inventory levels and product delivery.
Keeping the Finances in Check
When you’re importing and exporting goods, knowing how much money is coming in and out of your business is crucial. ERP software can provide you with that much-needed transparency by creating financial reports that get under the skin of your performance.
By delving deeper, ERP software goes beyond mere income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets. Whether it’s running cash flow projections based on how much inventory you have or evaluating your accounts receivables to better understand the impact on cash flow itself, ERP software illuminates a variety of insights, which can then be used to make more informed decisions.
Automating your financial processes using ERP software can improve efficiency too. Everyday accounting activities like invoicing, payment collection and payables, can massively eat into your time. As well as leaving your finance and account team with little else to do, the business ends up paying a literal price for manually carrying out these tasks.
Through automating many of your financial activities, however, you can carry out these duties – as well as more advanced functions – without your team needing to get involved. With these tasks taken care of, everyone is free to focus on areas like budgeting, forecasting and analysis, and that’s where opportunities to improve your importing/exporting processes can be identified.
Giving Management the Necessary Control
Automating businesses processes in a busy import/export company is essential. It will boost productivity and empower your team to focus on growing the business. Your ERP solution will also support you in this endeavour.
You can ensure the controls, alerts, data etc. that you and your team need to manage aren’t hidden in the system or in reports. You can easily configure your ERP solution to ensure your business is fed the data and insights it needs to take timely action.
And for a business that regularly deals with imports and exports, the management team will be on the lookout for a system that can do all this as well as manage access capabilities and in-depth traceability.
Intact iQ’s ERP capabilities help optimise your business’ exporting and importing processes in a range of effective ways, future-proofing it against incoming sector changes. For more information, head to our product page or get in touch with us today.