Monday, November 11, 2013

Trends in Distribution Management

An overview interview of distribution management software trends in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.  Five key areas that are a driving concern of any wholesale distributor, distributor or manufacturer are highlighted in this five minute video.


SupplyChainBrain Interview with Joe Scioscia


Interview highlights:

1.       Utilization of Sales Force Tools

o   More information is needed besides just contact management to maximize every sale at the point of customer contact.

o   Product information at the point of contact

o   Order status to provide customer feedback.

o   Customer account information readily available.

2.       Analytics

o   Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can generate massive amounts of data. 

o   It can be a challenge to spot trends, anomalies or business issues within that data.

o   Present data in a more easily digestible format with charts, graphs and flagging data.

o   Creation of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to make better and faster business decisions.

3.       Cloud Computing

o   Established already in some industries like payroll and Contact Relationship Management (CRM) and gaining traction in core distribution solutions.

o   Generally a better fit for companies with diverse locations without a need for a heavy Information Technology (IT) infrastructure.

o   Reduced IT management infrastructure.

4.       Warehouse Management Solutions (WMS)

o   Managing their biggest asset, Inventory.

o   Receiving, picking, shipping, and physical inventory benefits.

o   Cut costs, increase productivity and improve customer satisfaction.

o   Locate products more effectively, pick and ship items more rapidly, reduce errors, improve accuracy.

o   Benefits of automation.

5.       Top business requirements

o   Grow business.

o   Increase sales.

o   Reduce costs.

o   Sales force automation to increase effectiveness and maximize sales.

o   Warehouse management to reduce costs and increase accuracy and productivity.

o   Forecasting and purchasing applications to manage inventory levels to have the right products at the right time to satisfy their customers.

The consensus in the interview is not news for those involved in the distribution and supply chain.  How can these organizations optimize their inventory levels in order to provide great customer service and fulfill customer demand in a timely and responsive manner?

These challenges have not changed over time.  What has changed is the way processes can be automated to increase productivity and reduce costs.  New tools provide opportunities if implemented correctly with an ERP solution to fully integrate the organization. 

Whether the tools are in the cloud or on premise, what matters is having a system that fits the culture of the business and is actually utilized.  Typically a few modules at first and then more and more are implemented. 

The goal should be customer fulfillment and satisfaction. 

You get there by utilizing the resources available in the solution you have or are implementing.   That might include analytics or warehouse management and include automation tools like bar coding and scanning, count back inventory picking, shipment verification or physical changes like conveyors and robotics. 

Each organization has its needs and budget to address those needs.  What any building needs is a strong foundation that can support the future needs and growth of an organization. 

How is your organization utilizing its ERP solution to drive efficiency?  We would like to know.  Please share your thoughts here.

Dolvin Consulting works with manufacturers, distributors and specialty retailers to help them streamline their operations, reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies.  Contact us today to see how we can help you look at your organization with a fresh set of eyes.  Many opportunities for improvement are right in front of you and collectively they can be combined to achieve big savings.


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