Understanding the needs of distributors and recommending software that solves their problems is the key to a great distributor and vendor relationship. But not every technology vendor understands what distributors need, and how those needs intersect with those of the end-customer. When distributors can provide what customers need and do it better than the competition, they achieve profitability and growth.
According to Deloitte, the distribution industry is one of the most complex industries in the world. Distributors work with myriad complex systems. To manage this complexity, distributors must have superior software. Such software may be found in enterprise resource planning or ERP systems created for distributors and implemented by partners who understand the distribution industry.
ERP Helps Overcome Three Common Distributor Challenges
ERP software offers increased visibility into multiple areas of a company: accounting, finance, operations, marketing, warehouse, and distribution. These are areas of particular concern to distributors. Here is how the right ERP software can help distributors overcome three common challenges faced in these areas.
Complex order processes: Many distributors face complex order processing requirements. Managing the flow of goods from multiple locations, offering customized orders as well as stock items, and tracking items shipped to multiple recipients poses numerous challenges. ERP systems can track such complex orders to the point that companies can identify a single item in a complex order and update companies on its location and estimated delivery.
Order processing speed: Distributors who can process orders both efficiently and quickly are ahead of competitors who cannot move at a rapid pace. ERP software such as Acumatica enables faster, accurate order processing. For example, Mindover Software worked with Miller Veterinary Supply, a distributor of veterinary products, to ensure their order processing system was both accurate and timely. Regulatory requirements, order volume, and fast shipping were all needed, and orders had to be tracked with accuracy. Mindover was able to add Acumatica as a solution to Miller Veterinary Supply’s system to meet all such challenges and help them overcome them successfully.
Compliance: Compliance with ordering processes, fulfillment, and the handling of specialty goods can also be challenging. Medical, veterinary, chemical, and food product distributors all face similar challenges in the distribution process. With the right ERP system, items can be tracked throughout the supply chain to ensure handling requirements are met as well as any specialty shipping needs.
Tips for Searching for the Right ERP Vendor
With so many ERP vendors promising to be the very best, how can distributors know they have found a true partner?
Distributors should start their search with ERP vendors known to have a history of successful solution implementation with distributors. Ask for references from fellow distributors, and look for case studies, testimonials, and similar affirmations of successful systemwide implementation among distributors.
Get to know potential ERP vendors and make sure you have a high degree of comfort with the team or individual working on your project. Be sure this person listens as well as offers advice. A consultant who offers only advice is a consultant who can lead you astray, for they may not have the patience to learn the unique needs of your company.
Lastly, if you are considering an Acumatica implementation, look for software vendors and consultants intimately familiar with Acumatica. Acumatica is a powerful and robust system, but it must be set up correctly for a distributor and its unique needs or it will not work as well as it could. Mindover Software offers new Acumatica implementation as well as tweaks to existing systems if they are not performing up to your specifications and needs.
With the right ERP, distributors can expand their business, improve shipping speed, and enhance order accuracy. Finding the right software partner is the first step towards an ERP solution that enables distributor growth and profitability.
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