Wholesale and Distribution: Leveraging ERP to Stay Ahead
Over the last several years leaders in the wholesale distribution space have discovered that the secret to managing customers’ demands is to take advantage of the most up-to-date, emerging capabilities that ERP and related digital technologies can offer.
In addition to the pressure to lower costs, improve margins and grow the business, wholesalers and distributors today are faced with a competitive market filled with demanding customers. How are top performing wholesalers and distributors differentiating themselves from the competition? By getting the right products, at the right price, to the right customers at the right time, and industry leaders are doing this by leveraging modernized technology, and specifically Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
Thanks to eCommerce and online sales, customers have new channels to get their products, enabling competitors to enter new markets they were once unable to service. To stay ahead of competition, smart wholesalers and distributors are looking to streamline processes and optimize their supply chains. This will not only accomplish more with fewer resources, but will also allow companies to more effectively manage inventory and keep prices low.
For many wholesalers and distributors who struggle to implement new delivery methods and interoperability, modernization of the technology used to support operations have proven to be a good strategy. But industry leaders truly succeed by leveraging the capabilities of an integrated ERP solution.
To succeed, it is crucial to have an ERP that integrates with technologies that support distribution and supply chain goals. Here are a number of ways leaders manage to stay ahead, while dealing with customers’ demands at the same time:
- Top industry performers combine Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with ERP to create a centralized portal for customer data that interacts with supply chain functionality.
- They implement eCommerce and customer self-service portals that facilitates communication with customers, making it easier for them to order from the company, thereby increasing sales.
- They implement a series of capabilities that improve their ability to make decisions as well as work with customers and suppliers.
- Leading wholesalers and distributors utilize the data contained within ERP to make better decisions and become more agile.
- Research notes that top performers are 72% more likely to have business analytics integrated into ERP, enabling them to make informed decisions, such as more accurate demand planning (Source: Aberdeen Group, February 2017).
Having real time visibility into the status of business processes and data is essential to wholesalers and distributors with a lot of moving parts. Utilizing data in conjunction with analytic capabilities allows organizations to better plan, forecast demand, improve customer service, reduce costs, as well as inform changes in workflows. Therefore, leaders understand that combining capabilities in their ERP systems is key to meeting customers’ demands. A modern ERP implementation facilitates customer service and help meet customer expectations in a competitive environment for wholesalers and distributors.