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 or  +27 (21) 205 3650 to help you choose the right reporting tools for your business.

Check Out The Jet 20.3 Updates

jet 20.3

Performance Improvements in the Jet 20.3 Release

Written by | Jet Global 

We’re over halfway through the year and you know what that means? It’s time for a new Jet release. So, let’s get you up to speed on what you can expect to see when you update your Jet products to version 20.3

In an effort to continuously evolve our reporting, business intelligence, and budgeting solutions, we always have our ear to the ground listening to customer feedback. Earlier this year we rolled out Microsoft Word integration, a redesigned browser, and new data integrations, which was well-received. This release, however, focuses more on performance improvements, data sources, and expanded easier access to products.

Jet Budgets Available to the Masses

The Jet 20.3 release opens the door to controlled, expedited, and streamlines fiscal planning for organizations that are not running their businesses on Dynamics 365, Dynamics NAV, or Dynamics GP. That means anyone can use Jet Budgets. When creating a budget, you will be able to copy/paste in GL accounts and dimensions (if applicable) and build a budget based on those values.

Excel Add-In Performance Increases

By leveraging newer technologies in Excel, we are able to push performance increases in the Jet Excel Add-In. You will notice this, especially for longer running reports. This improvement will benefit all data sources but should see the most improvement for web service data sources, including Dynamics 365 Business Central (Public Cloud) and Dynamics Nav web services.

Better Access to Jet Hub

Previously, we required that customers to use AD/AAD to leverage Jet Hub. In Jet 20.3, we are adding support for “Basic Users” in Jet Hub, so you can bypass this step. This means you can now create simple users in Jet Hub (ie. username, full name, password) and they can log in without being an AD/AAD user.

If you remember from the last release, we added support for the most commonly used data sources to be added directly in Jet Hub – instead of requiring the Jet Administration Console. With Jet 20.3, we now support adding all data sources directly from Jet Hub.

Jet Scheduler Rebuild – Phase 1

There are some big things happening with the Jet Scheduler. In the Jet 20.3 release, we will be launching the first part of our Jet Scheduler rebuild. This rebuild includes a complete overhaul of the feature, where we will be updating the user interface, as well as making several user experience improvements. When you upgrade your Jet solution to version 20.3, you will see that the Jet Task List has been updated. This is the first step of many improvements to come.

Building the ultimate Sales Dashboard

sales dashboard

We all know that data is the key to actionable decision making. In a fast-paced job like sales, you are surrounded by it. From gathering customer data to monitoring sales status to tracking goals, salespeople are collecting and using data at every possible minute.

The challenge with having all of this data at your fingertips is organizing it. Without the right strategy and business intelligence tool in place, you are not able to derive meaningful insights from the data you work so hard to accumulate. This is where sales dashboards have proven to be highly effective.

In sales, dashboards play a huge role in managing day-to-day operations, measuring performance, and adapting quickly to changing conditions. With a well-organized dashboard designed to meet a specific goal, a sales manager can take a glance at key metrics on a single screen and make speedy decisions based on facts.

If you’re looking for a better way to track your sales team’s progress and meet your revenue targets faster this year, Jet Global can help. Business Intelligence (BI) is our specialty, and we have had a lot of experience working with top-performing sales organizations and ambitious teams looking to get more value from their data.

To set you up for success in analytics, we have created a quick guide on how to create the ultimate sales dashboard. Keep reading for more insight on the sales metrics you should be tracking and the dashboards you should be using.

Pinpoint the purpose of your sales dashboard

It may seem a little bit simple but the first step to building a great sales dashboard is to identify who will be using this dashboard, how they will be using this dashboard, and what information they want to see. A sales rep might want a graphical dashboard that they can check daily to help meet their weekly goals. A sales manager might be after a more detailed dashboard to check top-performing sales reps every week. On the other hand, a sales VP might need just a simplified dashboard to show high-level revenue and sales every month.

Generic dashboards are not as effective as specific, tailor-made dashboards so make sure you are clear on the purpose behind your sales dashboard before diving in.

Sales metrics you should be tracking

A day in the life of a top salesperson orbit around meeting sales targets and quotas. From tracking phone calls to nurturing prospects to closing deals, sales teams are in a constant state of flux. Before building your sales dashboard, you need to identify your top goals and narrow down what KPIs and metrics are most important in reaching those goals.

Sales goals depend on who you are and what you do. A sales manager is going to have different goals from an inside sales rep. A go-getting sales manager might set a goal of increasing sales by 5% this quarter, and therefore needs to monitor both individual and team performance to track progress and identify their top performers. An inside sales rep’s goal is to reach a target of 200 cold calls per month, so they are focused on tracking sales activities and completing tasks: two very different goals, two very different dashboards.

A golden set of sales metrics and KPIs doesn’t really exist, as measurements differ from department to department. The general rule of thumb when choosing your KPIs and metrics is to tie back to your goal. If it gives you useful information and identifies areas for improvement, you should track it.

According to an informative article by HubSpot, sales metrics typically fall into one or more of these categories:

  • Activity Sales Metrics (Ex. # of calls made, # of meetings scheduled)
  • Pipeline Sales Metrics (Ex. Average length of the sales cycle, total closed opportunities by month/quarter)
  • Lead Generation Metrics (Ex. Average lead response time, % of qualified leads)
  • Primary Conversion Metrics (Ex. % of opportunities closed/won)
  • Chanel Sales Metrics (Ex. Revenue by the partner, Average deal size by partner)
  • Sales Productivity Metrics (Ex. % of time spent on selling activities or creating content)
  • Sales Process, Tools, and Training Adoption Metrics (Ex. Average  cost of training by salesperson)

The bottom line is that the ultimate sales dashboards need to be designed for a specific person with specific goals. A dashboard that tries to include all of these sales metrics is not going to be effective or particularly useful to anyone. It needs to be relevant, and easy to adjust.

Build your sales dashboard with business intelligence software

Once you have your goal and metrics identified, you’re ready to start building your sales dashboard. You may have these capabilities built into your CRM or ERP solution, but most of the time, they are not the most user-friendly tools. There are a ton of separate dashboard solutions out there to choose from, but we usually recommend you stick with a business intelligence solution that integrates with your current software, a for a few reasons in particular:

  1. BI software is designed for self-service reporting and analytics – that means you shouldn’t need a developer every time you want to build or alter a dashboard.
  2. Data consolidation will be automated, ensuring real-time information from multiple data sources. This is super important.
  3. BI software comes with lots of great pre-built dashboards and chart options to choose from.
  4. BI software gives you the ability to drill down into key information and apply calculations within the tool itself.

Once you have your BI solution implemented, you will be able to automatically pull any data into your dashboard and use it for decision making. You can create dashboards and reports to track sales performance, identify sales opportunities, create sales forecasts, analyze your pipeline, and more.

If you decide against a BI solution or separate solution that syncs with your ERP system, this will be a more manual and time-consuming process. This option means you have to build reports and dashboards from scratch and constantly update them, but there are Excel templates out there for that.

Create, visualize, and share your sales data

The purpose of a dashboard is to be able to make decisions at a glance. That’s why the most useful sales dashboards are easy-to-read and understand. Bi software includes a wide range of templates to choose from and charts to visualize your data. Pie charts, bar charts, line charts – any kind of chart you can think of – will help you customize the tiles on your dashboard to your personal preferences. That being said, you don’t want to overwhelm your user with too many fancy charts and clutter.

There are a few design conventions to keep in mind before diving into your dashboard. The first is simplicity and usability. Color, images, buttons, fonts, charts, numbers – every element of a dashboard should look and feel consistent with the user, so there is no confusion or issues with navigation. Another thing to keep in mind is that most of us read from left to right. You want these dashboards to lead to quick interpretation and fast responses, so putting the most pertinent visuals on the left will help. Just remember that everyone is different, so it’s a good idea to experiment a bit with these options to find what colors and charts work best for you and your team.

The other thing to keep in mind when building your dashboards is how you will access and share them. If you’re creating a sales leaderboard dashboard, for example, you want every member of the team to be able to view this dashboard from anywhere with an internet connection, easily. 

Resource Credit | Jet Global 

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