For distributors and other businesses touching inventory, a great enterprise resource planning system like SocrateCloud ERP provides significant advantages over managing your business through in-house and piecemeal solutions.
Rather than attempting to manage your entire business using different software solutions, a great ERP provides the tools to manage your business intelligence, marketing systems, and distribution planning. The following are 7 reasons that an integrated BI, CRM, and ERP system for distribution is essential to your business.
Integrate Software Systems
Software systems are essential to managing any distribution system. CRMs, Customer Relationship Management systems, are the backbone for collaborating with customers and suppliers. A CRM is essential to a well-managed distribution company. Business Intelligence (BI) takes the information and data about your business and gives you the tools to understand what is happening in your industry, with your customers, and in your business and plan what to do next. Inventory management software gives you the tools necessary to track and plan your inventory distribution. A good, modern ERP gives you the tools to integrate each aspect of these software systems in one system.
A good, modern ERP gives you the tools to integrate each aspect of these software systems in one system. This prevents loss of information due to human error and increases the access to information you have at each level of your business.
In the last 10 years, the Information age has also become the social age. With the advent of open source systems with the release of Google and Android, businesses that use collaboration well are growing while those that are over-siloed languish. Social collaboration is essential even if you are not part of the information industry.
Collaboration defines successful distributors in the following ways. Distributors use collaboration to add value to the product line for suppliers and customers. Rather than being seen as a middle man, collaboration takes a distributor out of the line of technical production and puts them in place as an essential part of a marketing plan for their customers and vendors. Additionally, collaboration benefits distributors internally as it helps the individual employees and locations create systems which improve the efficiency of the business.
Efficiency is controlled through an ERP by giving management and individual employees the tools necessary to track their work processes and results. With proper tracking, people encouraged to build the business together and grow information systems to increase efficiency. Rather that having a team or department dedicated to efficiency, a good ERP gives every individual team member in an organization the capability to manage their own efficiency. It also gives management the tools to accurately review, assess, and assist their team members.
Business Intelligence Systems
Business Intelligence (BI) entails all the information a business creates in their everyday work processes. For distributors, BI includes inventory tracking and forecasting, CRM-related information like customer purchase history, employee related information regarding hours worked, and inventory tracking information.
This essential BI requires modern software systems to accurately track. With a good ERP, you will be able to track information regarding all your people, process, and product and give your business the ability to manage them based on that information. With real-time reporting and robust cloud-based ERPs, BI becomes less an afterthought in committee meetings and more of the information you need to make decisions daily.
Controlling information in large distributors sets them apart those who succeed from those who fail. Great information provides the paths for businesses to plan their inventory management, to close customer accounts, and to approach new business. Information control gives your team the ability to understand and know how they are working.
An ERP provides control to distributors through giving the right individuals the information they need to make decisions. Additionally, a business can implement automated alerts so that inventory levels are always maintained and management will never have one of those "aha!" moments where they thought everything was under control.
Integrated Inventory Management
Inventory management is essential to proper distribution chains. Great ERPs integrate inventory management with the rest of a business's information systems. From tracking inventory from one location to another to building automated inventory systems, a good ERP reduces the strain of inventory management on your teams.
Integrated inventory management tracks inventory from when it enters your business processes till it leaves, whether you use FOB or FOD shipping. During this system, good ERPs integrate with automated tracking scanners and data entry ports to give you the tools to track important inventory and reduce the costs of inventory management.
Finally, great ERPs are implemented by software providers who understand that businesses need unique solutions that do not work for every distributor. A great software partner provides you the solutions to implement their software regardless of the business you have. They will take the time to continuously implement your software and adjust it to your business systems. Rather than giving your business the out-of-the-box solutions typical of legacy software systems, a SaaS and cloud-based ERP deployment comes with full support from the software provider as they work to make certain that their customers have the solutions they need.
There are many reasons to switch to a high-quality information system. Collaboration, efficiency, business information management, integrated systems, and more are essential to managing a distributor business. From bringing inventory into your business to managing your employees and creating the right tax forms for governmental oversite, a great ERP integrates with your entire business processes. Please see our customer list for more information on other distributors who have implemented our ERP and discover how the multi-faceted platform has worked for them.