In a new report entitled, “Is Now the Time to Purchase a New ERP for Wholesale Distribution,” Jutras makes a compelling case for distributors to move forward with a software purchase, in spite of today’s economic environment.
Based on the survey responses of more than 100 wholesale distributors, Jutras’s report sets the stage by stating that many distributors today are failing to take advantage of the advanced solutions currently on the market. Rather than embrace future-leaning technologies such as cloud, she says smaller wholesalers are “making do” with piecemeal solutions, while their mid-to-large enterprise counterparts stubbornly struggle along with software that’s long out-of-date. Below are 5 key takeaways gleaned from the complete, 12-page report.
System Designed for Business
Surprisingly, many distributors may not realize they’re running something less than a full enterprise resource planning system (ERP).
According to Jutras, at the basic level, ERP is defined as an integrated suite of modules that provides the operational and transactional system of record for a business. Businesses using accounting systems such as Quickbooks or Excel spreadsheets are not using a unified system that offers a true, real-time representation of fiscal health. A distributor leveraging a robust ERP system will have access to functionality that optimizes inventory and logistics in addition to having general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and purchasing.
Do More With Less
The desire to do more, without increasing headcount, was the top reason given by distributors for prompting a software purchase or upgrade.
With more than 100 distributors contributing to her study, Jutras was able to ascertain that efficiency topped the list as being the key motivator for purchasing ERP. According to Jutras, distributors have most recently been battling a skills shortage brought about by the rise of automation and new technologies. Education and training around these two developments have not kept pace so due to the lack of manpower, businesses must accomplish more with fewer hands.
The Time is Now to Embrace the Cloud
Only fifty percent of the distributors surveyed for the report perceived strong value to be gained from cloud technologies. What a difference a year makes.
According to Jutras, cloud enablement and Software as a Service (SaaS) are rapidly becoming mainstream. Yet, businesses still using on-premises systems are struggling as they try to meet the demands of the new work-from-home reality. Conversely, distributors who had already made the transition to SaaS and cloud solutions were able to adapt quickly, sending employees home with laptops that could immediately access the same key data and systems used in the office.
New Technologies Offer New Opportunities
IoT technologies, AI and predictive analytics, will inevitably be paired with modern ERP systems, offering all kinds of opportunities for distributors.
In her report, Jutras offers forth a hypothetical scenario where IoT would automate warehouse inventory management by equipping stock bins with weight sensors. As weights drop, sensors would send alerts that product needs to be replenished. In a world where order tracking and on-time delivery is expected, the value of such innovations cannot be understated. With regards to artificial intelligence, Jutras maintains that, much like Apple packaged in Siri with every iPhone, so too will advanced AI applications be packaged in with best-in-class ERP. IoT and AI are coming, and only those distributors who keep pace with technology will get to leverage them over the competition.
No More Lengthy Implementations
Per Jutras, in the early days of ERP, software implementations typically took nine to twelve months before any type of “go live” event. Thanks to advances in technology and cloud deployment, distributors are turning on the lights in 5.09 months on average. This dramatic reduction in implementation time can be traced to the virtual nature of things – today, most planning, technical work and training is done via the Internet or conference call. Distributors who are wary of purchasing a new solution out of fear of a lengthy, problem-plagued implementation should re-evaluate their preconceptions with this new reality.
Want to learn more?
Cindy Jutras is a widely recognized expert in analyzing the impact of enterprise applications on business performance, and these five takeaways are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the depth of knowledge you’ll find in her new report, “Is Now the time to Purchase a New ERP for Distribution?”
If you’re contemplating purchasing or upgrading your distribution ERP, you don’t want to miss the complete 12-page report.
Want to learn even more? Don’t miss hearing directly from Cindy on our Velosio webinar, taking place November 10th at 11am PST / 2pm EST. Register for the webinar here.