Distribution ERP System: Does your business need one?

distribution erp management

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

3 Signs your business needs a new distribution ERP

You turn the crank. The music plays. Suddenly, Jack pops out of the box. Once upon a time, things moved along in an orderly fashion to the expected conclusion. Business just isn’t that simple anymore and knowing when to replace your distribution ERP and upgrade your business systems is one of the complexities. Here are three sure-fire signs that your legacy distribution ERP is in need of an overhaul.

Frequent Inventory Shortages or Excess

Look around your warehouse. Are your shelves full but you rarely have the right products on hand to deliver the entire order? Distribution orders run on having the inventory the customer wants next and nothing more. A new distribution ERP can help achieve that goal.

Fast and efficient order entry allows checking of product availability immediately. On the shelf now? Available now, or has another customer asked for it? Distribution ERP will reply in a second. Not on the shelf? No problem. Where did you buy it last time? How long did it take to arrive? Is there a comparable product you have already that will satisfy the customer? Modern purchasing and supply chain tools will have an answer.

A good distribution ERP should work in reverse too. Too much on the shelf? Can you return it? Who bought it last? Maybe they want a few more still. It might be best to simply clear the shelf and make room for something that will sell. A new distribution ERP can help make those decisions and many others through accurate “inside-out” reporting.

Your Distribution ERP Stands Alone with No Integration

Modern technology of all types can help and today’s distribution ERP can connect to and use data from all of them. The big boys have conveyors and they fill boxes as they move along the line. The conveyor weighs the filled box and connects directly with the carrier system to prepare the shipping documents and get tracking numbers before the box is taped closed. That s integration. At the same time as the box is closed and signed-off for dispatch, the customer is charged through your ERP payment processor integration.

One more SKU is due this afternoon to complete that big, important order. Your inbound trucker carrying that item has already made an appointment for your dock to unload. Your new distribution ERP identified all the products on that truck, calculated the best dock and prepared a cross-dock movement of that last SKU so it gets on the outbound carrier with no delay.

Your Business Does Not Utilize E-Commerce

Allow customers to place their own orders and pay for them right away. The web portal links directly to your new distribution ERP so you can schedule a delivery or purchase the items desired. Even complex orders are handled with ease. You can deliver specific lots to fill the order. You can track the shelf life of your product to ensure your inventory is good and to provide maximum shelf life to your customer. Distribution ERP will also control inventory using FEFO or FIFO rules as needed for your business.

Distribution ERPs do not have to cost you a fortune anymore, with Microsoft’s standard Dynamics 365 Business Central and extended modules you can customize the system to suit your business needs at an affordable cost. Let allonline 365 help you solve those burning questions and help you digitally transform your business. Contact us on  +27 (21) 205 3650 or  info@allonline365.com.

Must have distribution ERP reporting tools

erp reporting

Blog By | ERPFocus

3 Essential Distribution ERP Reporting Tools

Distribution ERP reporting has continued to evolve over the past couple of years. Modern reports share valuable information, but also make effective calls to action. These reports can provide your distribution business with a competitive advantage and increase profits.

Do your employees and customers see this potential in your distribution business and your ERP reporting? Your ERP system should have built-in capability; it is up to you to put that capability to use.

As an example, reports include the forms we use every day and the once-in-a-lifetime report we made to the local chamber of commerce. The packing list we print out for every shipment is a report. So is the check we write to pay the utility bill. Every business, including distributors, has a wide variety. Some are considered necessities, but the best ones help us earn more profit.

Real-Time Dashboards

Dashboards are an under-utilized tool in distribution ERP reporting. You could have a selection of real-time demand metrics on the login page of your distribution ERP. You will know the inventory levels for key products, you will get updates from suppliers warning you of delays and you will be able to view these metrics from one, easy to access section of your distribution ERP.

Would the purchasing people enjoy a dashboard that showed the orders you booked today along with any materials required for those orders? The data is already in the ERP, are you reporting it to the right people in the right way?

Inside-Out Reports

You can also utilize inside-out reports. One example might be a report that shows today’s output in tons available to ship to your customer. Nothing has to print. The report is pushed to the customer’s buyer so they can instantly see how much we have ready to serve their needs.

Outside-In Reports

How about an outside-in report? Your customer allowed you to attach a gauge to their tank so we can see the level at any time and we are authorized to fill it whenever it falls below an agreed-upon level. This isn’t a report for the vice president. The truck driver gets this one and he loads up and fills the tank for the customer.

Another example is asking your construction customers for a forecast of how much concrete they will buy in the next year. Or you could monitor building permits and planning department data and forecast within your distribution ERP reporting system based on real-time data from the best source.

It is time to put on your thinking cap. What distribution ERP reporting features could give your business a competitive advantage? allonline365 is here to help you work through the aches and pains of your business to ensure your business is running optimally. Speak to one of our consultants on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650 to help you choose the right reporting tools for your business.

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ERP Inventory Management: What are the benefits?

inventory management

Written By | ERPFocus

ERP Inventory Mangement: 4 Benefits for Distributors

Distributors are classic middlemen. Historically they have taken large shipments from manufacturers and held inventory until they could be resold to retailers in smaller quantities. That role continues and today’s distributors also deliver just in time to their customers, manage the customer’s inventories, plan the manufacturer’s delivery schedule, and many other service roles all on a razor-thin margin. ERP systems help manage inventory up and down the supply chain and enable profitability and provide the competitive edge needed to survive. Without ERP inventory management, they might be just another distributor.

Sales Performance

A sale happens when the distributor has exactly what a customer wants in their inventory at just the right time. A shortage of even one line can mean an entire sale is lost. At the same time, an overage can become spoiled or surplus and quickly have no value. ERP inventory management can track data on past sales and inventory levels which can be combined with sales forecasts from customers to help optimize the right inventory level.

Real-Time Data

ERP inventory modules can help enable the controls that lead to an accurate knowledge of inventory for every SKU. When a customer asks for availability, the ERP provides in real-time exactly what is on hand and when the next incoming delivery is expected and nets that quantity against existing customer orders. Delivering on promises leads to satisfied customers.

Compliance Reporting

Beyond the basics, distributors of food, drugs, and chemicals are examples of businesses that need to satisfy regulatory requirements and ERP inventory management can offer these tools as well. Lot numbers combined with SKUs link every incoming receipt to the outgoing delivery that received that lot. Storage conditions and formulations are tracked and recorded for any necessary reporting and to ensure the quality of the product remains at high levels.

External Inventory

In addition to their own inventory, distributors store and manage inventory owned by suppliers on a consignment basis and other inventory owned by customers. ERP inventory management can help control what is owned by whom and any reporting required by the different owners. At the same time, ERP helps assemble specific orders combining consigned inventory with the distributor’s inventory with the right markup on each kind of inventory.

Like any business, distributors need to stay ahead of their competition. ERP business intelligence and analytics along with advanced reporting provides the edge needed for modern distributors. The old-timer could keep the whole business in his head. Today business moves too fast and ERP inventory management is necessary for success.

If you are considering upgrading to an ERP system that helps monitor and track your inventory, speak to allonline365 to get some advice. Contact us on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650.

www.allonline365.com

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