Managing inventory in the most efficient and profitable way, is a top concern for companies across the globe. It’s essential that businesses are able to fully understand customer needs so they can make better decisions that impact ways inventory is handled. With cutting-edge technological developments, it’s becoming much easier for distributors to better manage inventory.
Through modern ERP software, organizations are able to improve customer service with real-time access to important information around inventory, as well as key data. Implementation of a cloud-based ERP system, allows companies to manage the distribution process efficiently and without losing track of costs.
Challenges Distributors Face
Visibility provides distributors a way to realize and understand inventory, which can impact supply chains. In this area, the entirety of the business revolves around receiving, replenishing, stocking, compliance labeling, processing customer service requests, tracking, reporting, and shipping, etc. By understanding the complexity of the inventory ecosystem, a business is able to set in place protocols that drive efficiency, which helps to reduce costs.
- What does the inventory look like? Knowing a business’ core (continuous, year-around) items and non-core items (seasonal merchandise), as well as the marketplace, enables companies to manage ordering. A company should know what’s in stock, what needs to be ordered, the quantity and shape of the order, as well as what gaps need to be filled.
- Has the business moved beyond outdated processes? Manual ways of doing business can add to the complexities of the work environment and deter a company’s growth. The first step forward is identifying where improvements are needed.
- Is the company keeping up with customer demand? When it comes to customer needs, it’s essential a business remains limber enough to respond to changes —- shifts can happen daily. A company is expected to keep abreast of customer needs by managing its inventory to meet demands, and those that do not risk losing out to the competition.
The ERP Advantage
An ERP system gives a real-time glimpse of the company’s inventory; distributors are no longer pressed to work with ambiguities in critical areas. Effective businesses will learn to keep a handle on costs as they manage both inventory and distribution processes.
Many businesses are challenged due to the sheer expanse of the business. Multiple warehouses often have location-specific inventory quantities, allocations, and costs. An ERP system that focuses on inventory management, helps companies to redistribute product from a central warehouse to other warehouses with ease, as well as granting rights to the various locations, so employees can access information and enter transactions in real-time.
The systems assign multiple valuation methods, so businesses can determine standard cost, moving average, FIFO (first-in, first out), and item-specific methods. Unique valuation methods can be attributed to each inventory item, while report and inquiry views help distributors make direct adjustments to cost and physical inventory counts.
Being able to know where each and every item is becomes exponentially easier with lot and serial numbers assigned on receipt, issue, or assembly. Costs can be managed with item-specific valuation methods associated to serial numbers — all of which makes tracking that much more effective.
Learn more in ERP for Distribution Companies.
Impacts on Distribution
Imagine the advantage of having access to warehouse information, including the ability to make updates in real-time. With a cloud-based ERP solution, distributors are able to modify and analyze inventory, as well as restrict access to inventory by item or warehouse. All business insights are accessible in the cloud-based system — employees are able to get secure access anytime, anywhere via smartphone or Internet-connected device.
Visibility gives the team the tools they need to make better decisions, faster. Drill-down reports and user- or function-specific dashboards reveal past actions and data that can help positively impact the future. With the entirety of the organization viewing real-time inventory levels and customer-specific pricing, the team is able to clearly communicate to customers. When customers are told the same insightful information from all parties, expectation is better managed; a company that honors contracts and successfully fulfills orders will have a better chance at gaining repeat customers.
A modern ERP that meets the needs of distributors can help to manage costs. Outdated spreadsheets become a thing of the past, as ledgers are automatically created from inventory transactions. It’s easy to see what goods have been sold, and also any inventory holding costs.
Another cost saving measure, is the benefit an ERP system brings to the actual workforce. There’s no longer a need for employees to perform time consuming data entry, which also helps to mitigate risk due to error. Default accounts can be set, reducing the amount of work the staff must do. The increased efficiency leaves time for distributors to focus on other areas of business that can drive growth and profit.
Implementing for the Future
The first step of the journey is realizing when a company is ready for a cloud-based ERP system. Acumatica Cloud ERP is an award-winning solution that offers Acumatica Distribution Edition. One of its many features is Advanced Inventory, which is designed to improve customer service and profitability.
Partnering for the future enables a business to improve capabilities and efficiencies, both of which are imperative to growth. CSS Technology Group brings cloud expertise to take a company into the next decade and beyond. Read testimonials and contact us to learn more about implementing a cloud-based ERP solution.