As wholesale distribution companies expand, it’s inevitable that with progress comes growing pains. Common tasks, procedures and workflows that were once easily manageable in a small environment become complex and challenging with the addition of staff and warehouses with siloed software solutions.
Thankfully, advances in enterprise resource planning, or ERP solutions for distribution management, and the cloud make modern business systems better than ever in helping distributors conquer common roadblocks to success. Their unified structure unifies data between departments and enables management to make critical decisions with confidence.
Let’s discuss five of the most common challenges today’s distributors can solve with modern cloud ERP software solutions.
Workflow / Supply Chain Inefficiencies
Fulfilling customer orders with deliveries from suppliers can become troubled as distributors scale up operations. For profits to be maximized, the flow of goods must be quick and accurate. Backorders, slow fulfillment and poor customer service can doom even the most established business with competitors ready to pounce. Cloud ERP enables distributors to manage workflows with ease and control. Intuitive dashboards allow employees to fill orders according to specific pre-determined criteria – priority level, shipping method, preferred carriers and more. Supplier portals based on Kanban methodologies can help restock popular items in advance before they sell out.
Erosion of Profit Margins
Wholesale distributors understand that streamlining operations and executing error-free fulfillment are critical to preserving the profits earned on each sale. Mistakes, returns and backorder scenarios can eat into already razor thin margins. Distributors using Excel spreadsheets or Quickbooks often lose money due to pricing errors when formulas are mistyped, causing merchandise to be inadvertently sold at a loss. Cloud ERP systems which unify cross-departmental data are able to maintain correct pricing across the entire business at all times.
Warehouse Management Problems
Small to midsized distributors often struggle with warehouse management. The sheer volume of items to track often leads to unfortunate oversights. Orders may accidentally be misplaced or forgotten about – with the mistake only discovered when angry customers come calling. It’s also quite common for inventory to be reordered only to discover that stock already exists in a different location. Cloud ERP can eliminate these problems via state-of-the-art inventory tracking, user-friendly dashboards and powerful barcoding capabilities.
Lack of Mobility and Remote Work Capability
Over the last decade, ERP technology has enabled more and more businesses to allow employees to work remotely, or to let key managers access vital systems from anywhere in the world. On vacation? Want to check on orders before bedtime? On the road to meet a new supplier? Cloud ERP systems allow distributors to check-in and work from anywhere, at any time. All that’s required is an internet connection and a web browser or mobile device. The recent pandemic has made the ability for distributors and their employees to work remotely even more critical and will become the norm in the years ahead.
Poor Employee Communication
With employees utilizing phone, email, texts and instant messages across multiple warehouses and distribution centers, distributors are often faced with the challenge of employee miscommunication. Having a single source of an order or item can be achieved with a modern ERP system. Why call suppliers about pricing when this can be easily looked up within the system? The ERP serves as the single place where all documents, customer interactions and product information can be easily pulled up and shared without the need to pick up a phone.
For more information on how Velosio can help you conquer your distribution challenges through cloud ERP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, download our complimentary 21 Day-to-Day Decisions Guide.