Measuring Warehouse Productivity: Top 5 Metrics to Consider

Warehouse management has a lot to do with balancing two competing needs: speed and accuracy. If you manage a warehouse, you typically want your people to work as quickly as possible without injuring themselves or causing damage to products. At the same time, if you achieve speed at the cost of accuracy, your business will experience customer complaints and costly restocking and re-delivery procedures.

Warehouse productivity is a measurement of how well you manage this conflict, together with factors like on-time delivery and warehouse utilization. The industry’s professional association, The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) studies this issue, among many others, that affect distribution companies.

Their DC Measures 2019 annual benchmarking study highlights the importance of warehouse productivity. Here are the top five metrics from the report:

1. Order Picking Accuracy (percent by order)

This metric shows how accurately warehouse employees pick products for orders. Order picking accuracy can drop with multi-part orders, where the employee has to pick products from multiple bins. The metric is also a measure of the quality of order picking instructions. For example, if the order says “Product X,” but the employee finds two bins, each with Product X in a different color, this creates a problem. He or she can take a guess at what color is needed, and then have the company suffer the consequences of a return. Or, the employee can send the order back for confirmation, which creates churn and delay.

2. Average Warehouse Capacity Used

A warehouse is a financial asset. As a result, its rate of capacity utilization is an important number for senior management. If a company is only using 10% of its warehouse capacity, that’s a problem. It means they’re paying for the rent and upkeep of unproductive space. This may seem like an easy-to-spot problem, but with multiple sites and changing seasonal inventories, it can be difficult to measure accurately without the right software and procedures.

3. Peak Warehouse Capacity Used

It’s also helpful to know your peak warehouse capacity utilization. The number itself can be revealing, like if it’s too low. But, unless its 100%, then there’s room for improvement. Peak warehouse capacity used is a target, a basis for doing better. If the number was 70% last year, then maybe this year, it could be 75%.

4. On-time Shipments

Shipments reaching customers on-time is a critical success metric for warehouses. It’s important on its own, because it reflects if the warehouse doing its job right. However, late shipments also create hidden costs and difficulties elsewhere in the business. They cause customer service calls and complaints. They cause package tracking and other wastes of time. Ultimately, late shipments can damage your brand and cause customers to defect.

5. Inventory Count Accuracy by Location

Are the inventory counts accurate in each location? This is another stealth issue that is more important than it looks. If there are fewer items in a bin than the system says there should be, that might indicate theft or unreported damage. The results of miscounted inventory include unforeseen stockouts and fulfillment problems that negatively customer attitudes.

Strong warehouse productivity metrics arise out of good management overall, but also by means of software. This is especially true for business with extensive product catalogs and high rates of inventory turnover. Software and related technologies, like barcode scanners and RFID readers contribute to tight measurement and control of warehouse operations.

We work with many distribution businesses on the implementation of Acumatica Cloud ERP for distribution and warehouse management. This software solution enables you to measure the five key warehouse productivity metrics described above, along with many others. If you want to learn more about how Acumatica can help your distribution business function better, let’s talk.

Additional Distribution Resources

Recommendations for Selecting a Distribution ERP Solution

Looking at 2020 Distribution Industry Trends with ERP in Mind

Benefits of ERP Software for Distribution Business Management

Recommendations for Selecting a Distribution ERP Solution

What is the right ERP solution for your distribution business? Acumatica Cloud ERP has created an in-depth checklist to help you understand your options. Their hope, of course, is that you choose Acumatica, but the reality is they’ve done everyone a service by publishing the checklist. You could work through it and conclude that a different solution is right for your particular distribution business—especially as the industry undergoes a period of digital transformation.

The checklist is also a good reflection of the way we work with clients in discovering the best solution for their distribution businesses. It’s methodical and allows for the prioritization of needs. With ERP selection, it should never be a simple matter of feature-to-feature comparison. The best practice is to weight features by relevance to your business.

Overview of the Distribution ERP Selection Checklist

The checklist contains five categories of comparison for distribution ERP solutions:

  • Productivity—How a distribution ERP solution can make your employees more productive in their jobs
  • Functionality—The specific features and functions of the solution
  • Technology—The underlying technology that affects user experience, customization and administration along with integration with other systems, e.g. logistics, HR and so forth
  • Value—How the product maximizes features and functions vs. cost for the product’s lifetime
  • Risk—How the product minimizes risk and facilitates security (e.g. network and financial security)

Using the Checklist to Select a Distribution ERP Solution

Depending on your business, you may emphasize some of the five categories more than others. Productivity, for example, is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. The checklist forces you to take a hard look at issues like how intuitive the interface is for users. If it’s not easy to learn, people might find ways to work around it, defeating the whole purpose of the solution. Other productivity factors include having a single database, multi-currency capabilities, wikis and so forth.

Functionality is a critical area for evaluation. Even if you totally love a distribution ERP solution, if it doesn’t do what you want, the solution won’t work. Functional check-offs span features like support for multiple entities, financial management and quote-to-cash workflows. Sales order management and cost accounting are on the list, as are purchase order management and inventory management.

In terms of technology, the checklist encourages you to probe whether a cloud-based solution is “True Cloud,” meaning that it was designed natively for the cloud. This can make a difference in how well the solution works and how easy it is to change. Responsive design is also a significant requirement, given today’s mobile workforce and customers. Other technical issues of note include database export capabilities and the presence of a full relational database. This latter technical feature can be important for integration with other systems, audits and more. The value checklist items refer to financial aspects of the solution. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) figures prominently into the value category, but so do non-monetary but value-oriented factors like scalability.

If you’re considering getting a new distribution ERP solution, we encourage you to work with the checklist. We can help you go through it, looking at how your business runs and how it competes to arrive at an informed, wise solution choice.

Additional Distribution Resources

Looking at 2020 Distribution Industry Trends with ERP in Mind

Benefits of ERP Software for Distribution Business Management

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

Digital Transform in the Distribution Industry and How Cloud ERP Can Help

Discussions about digital transformation often lead off with the phrase, “Just imagine if…” Just image that you could use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to build a new kind of relationship with customers. Just imagine that you could track an order from receipt through delivery in real time. For a lot of companies, it’s pie in the sky. In distribution, the pie has already been served. You just have to order a slice. You don’t have to “just imagine” a digital transformation if you have the right tools.

Digital Transformation, the Concept

What is digital transformation? Briefly, digital transformation is a concept that started out in life as marketing hype but is quickly becoming reality. At its core, digital transformation involves using advances in application integration technology, cloud computing, data analytics and “edge computing” IoT devices to transform your relationship with customers, employees and partners. It enables you to venture into new business models and competitive strategies.

Digital Transformation in Distribution

The distribution business was actually an innovator in the practices that now comprise digital transformation. Distributors adopted computer-based order tracking, inventory management and the like years before anyone else. You may not remember, but before about 1990, if you shipped a package, you had a 0% chance of knowing when it was going to be delivered. You could call the carrier and ask, but they didn’t know.

Today, instant online or phone-based order tracking, along with dozens of comparable real-time processes, are simply an expectation of doing business. The problem with this is that once business practices become a given, they are no longer competitive. If every distribution company offers online order tracking, your distribution business is another dime, among dozens. Learn more in Looking at 2020 Distribution Industry Trends with ERP in Mind.

The challenge—and opportunity—for distribution companies is to use technology to take the business to new levels of efficiency and competitiveness. This is not always easy, but the tooling is definitely available to make it happen if you want it. With cloud ERP solutions like Acumatica, distributors can implement a range of digitally transformative processes and practices in their businesses. These include:

  • Maintaining a real-time view of your customer’s activities across all your operations. This is made possible by integrating field service operations software with back office systems.
  • Tracking customer engagement from first contact through opportunity creation, price quoting order processing, scheduling of installation and follow up field services—connecting mobile devices with ERP and accounting software as well as with data analytics and reporting tools.
  • Using data visualization to spot issues in field service quality—and react in real time with route optimization
  • Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) for predictive maintenance that optimizes field service and keeps customers happy
  • Discovering the optimal marketing processes to identify and convert the best prospects into high-grossing accounts—by analyzing account performance data with marketing campaigns
  • Increasing back office productivity by automating workflows and becoming more efficient at document management, e.g. for contracts and sales orders
  • Integrating with partner firms for better supply chain management and customer service

Acumatica Distribution Edition delivers, giving your business control over their supply chain and logistics activities, including warehouse management, inventory management, and order management. Built in the cloud and customized for your needs, Acumatica helps companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce order times, and control costs across the entire supply and distribution chain.

CCS Technology has considerable experience in the distribution vertical, equipping clients with industry-specific tools that ensure a smooth process, top-notch security, and consistent reliability. We’ll make sure your clients can count on you. Contact us to learn more.

Additional Distribution Resources

Benefits of ERP Software for Distribution Business Management

Making the Most of KPIs in Distribution

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

Looking at 2020 Distribution Industry Trends with ERP in Mind

Distribution challenges loom as 2020 approaches. Issues include increased costs and unpredictable spending habits by the ever-more influential Millennial generation. Distribution businesses must keep up to meet their goals of continued growth. ERP software specialized for distribution offers a solution. Here is a selection of pressing trends in distribution that can be addressed by ERP.

An Increase in On-Demand Ecommerce

Consumers now expect to have the option to buy and receive goods from anywhere after placing orders from phones, cars and personal digital assistants like Alexa or Siri. Many of them demand same-day delivery. It’s not uncommon for retailers to offer two-day shipping, while Amazon offers next-day delivery to about 75% of the U.S. population. To compete, businesses must invest in logistics infrastructure improvements.

Acumatica cloud ERP facilitates this kind of on-demand experience. It incorporates a Customer Management Suite that enables businesses to respond quickly to requests, from first contact with a customer through the entire sales process. It also helps manage fulfillment, billing and after-sales service requests. Visibility into real-time sales data helps with forecasting while customers can access information via the Acumatica Customer Portal, thereby connecting CRM functionality with distribution operations.

A Shortage of Labor Resources

As logistics operations grow in size and complexity, the need for labor is increasing. But with low unemployment, it is becoming more difficult to find available workers who can fulfill the demand for same-day delivery, especially during peak shipping times like Christmas. Automation technologies are decreasing in cost at the same time. Robotics and software solutions are becoming essential in the logistics industry, just to stay competitive.

Acumatica streamlines logistics operations with accurate cost tracking, manual or automatic allocation of freight costs and management of multiple warehouses. It can factor in location-specific inventory, quantities and costs as well as help redistribute inventory from a central facility to other warehouses. Purchase orders can be automatically generated to replenish stock and sent to vendors with optimal prices and delivery times.

Tariffs on Foreign Goods Are Increasing Costs

Tariffs, particularly those on goods from China, are leading companies to relocate so they can sell products at affordable prices. Businesses are finding the need to rework their distribution models, modify their tracking systems and find new trading partners. At the same time, they must maintain their bottom lines, satisfy customer demand and keep up with their competitors.

With Acumatica, organizations can have full visibility into inventory, prices and cost-saving opportunities from a single data source. Reports can be accessed from anywhere, including on mobile devices, so data and analytics can be viewed in real-time via intuitive custom dashboards. Users can also see sales trends, product movement and market information.

Dashboards also provide useful information such as product and material replenishment, lot/serial numbers and shelf life and expiration dates along with details on the condition of stock, drop shipments and vendor selection and performance analyses. At the same time, the cloud ERP system reduces the risk of errors and avoids requiring data re-entry and reorganization. This improves control as companies rework their distribution processes.

Acumatica Distribution Edition

If you hope to grow your business or even stave off the ongoing threats that exist from competitors, you need an ERP solution designed for you.

Acumatica Distribution Edition delivers, giving your business control over their supply chain and logistics activities, including warehouse management, inventory management, and order management. Built in the cloud and customized for your needs, Acumatica helps companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce order times, and control costs across the entire supply and distribution chain.

Contact us to learn more.

Additional Distribution Resources

Benefits of ERP Software for Distribution Business Management

Making the Most of KPIs in Distribution

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

Benefits of ERP Software for Distribution Business Management

Distribution companies face many challenges in managing their inventories, supply chains and logistics activities in the wake of shifting demand, costs and other variables. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software takes the place of legacy systems that don’t hold up in today’s interconnected, fast-paced market. It can capture customer, supplier and equipment data as well as provide full visibility into trends and processes. An ERP system can therefore improve distribution business management in the following ways:

Reduced Order Times

Manually processing sales orders can lead to human error and costly delays. ERP software automates sales order processing and the generation of shipping orders. It can eliminate delays while providing full control, from setting rules and credit limits to managing multiple warehouses and drop shipments. Reduced cycle time, from order placement to product delivery, can help a distribution company fulfill requests more efficiently. Ordering and invoicing are handled automatically within the system, without human intervention.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Real-time visibility into inventory that is in-stock, in-transit and to be reordered helps improve delivery times and customer satisfaction. An ERP system can also track products returned for any reason. It can optimize quoting, acceptance, entry and fulfillment while minimizing inventory and costs. At the same time, process automation can help with customer retention as a business can provide faster service, accurate delivery and speedy resolution to any issues that arise during the order fulfillment process.

Knowing Your True Costs

An ERP system can help break down costs and profitability across a business or by warehouse, location or individual production line. All the information available is updated in real time. The power of real-time data allows for cost control across your supply and distribution chain. Whether your ERP system is priced per-user or per-function, the cost of implementation can be offset by savings enabled by optimized business processes and improved accuracy and efficiency.

Better Sales Management

Distribution ERP helps with sales management, as exemplified by features in Acumatica’s distribution ERP. It offers an integrated workflow that fully automates order processing across an entire business. Users can configure order status and rules for discounts and promotions that are automatically applied. The software provides real-time visibility into inventory, current pricing and shipment information. It also integrates with CRM systems to make delivery status, relevant tasks and activity history for an order immediately available. Additionally, distribution management software from Acumatica allows users to configure processes to match workflow or select different order processes based on the order or customer.

Better Warehouse Management

Acumatica Distribution Edition includes a Warehouse Management module designed to automate picking, packaging, transferal and physical counting. Manual tasks are eliminated, which helps increase productivity and accuracy. Items are automatically entered into the system when scanned and audible/visual warnings provide employees feedback when they scan more units than purchased or select the wrong items. A variety of functions help manage inventory, order fulfillment and improve the customer experience.

For more insights on how Acumatica can benefit your distribution business, contact us today to submit your questions or request more information, a free product tour, or demo.

Additional Distribution ERP Resources

Making the Most of KPIs in Distribution

Finding the Productivity Advantage in Distribution Management

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

Making the Most of KPIs in Distribution

Acumatica recently published an informative white paper on Key Performance Indicators for Distribution. If you’re in the distribution business, it’s a highly-recommended read. The paper will help you understand KPIs as they apply to a distribution. Here are some highlights.

What is a KPI, anyway?

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurement of some aspect of your distribution business’s performance that you consider critical to how the business is doing overall. It could be something as simple as rate of revenue growth. If you’re hitting the number you had in mind, you’re performing the way you want. Other times, KPIs can be more obscure, but no less meaningful. A KPI for distribution might be the rate of product returns or the number of complaint calls handled per hour. KPIs are based on data from the business, typically coming from the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and other enterprise software applications. KPIs compile ERP data into usable forms, e.g. graphical displays that visualize the data.

KPIs as a solution to data overload

KPIs are helpful in managing a wholesale/distribution business because they keep you focused on what’s important. They get you out of the trap of data overload. With modern ERP software, it’s easy to generate literally hundreds of reports at any given time. You can get caught in “analysis paralysis” or focus too much on metrics that don’t matter as much as you might imagine. Worst case, you’ll miss an early warning of an impending problem.

Types of KPIs

There are three main types of KPIs: Historical, real time and predictive. All three tend to feature the same kinds of information. They report financial results such as sales, orders, profit and loss and o forth. They track operational metrics like orders shipped, backorders, route miles driven and customer service calls answered. Depending on how you display your data, i.e. your data visualization dashboard, you might have all three types visible at the same time:

  • Historical KPIs – what happened in the business, showing trends and highlights like peak sales growth over the last 5 years
  • Real time – what’s happening right at the moment (or that day)
  • Predictive – what might happen, if historical trends are any indicator, e.g. anticipating a shortage of certain products during an upcoming peak season

Predictive KPIs are where modern data analytics tools can really shine. Not all solutions have predictive capabilities, however. This is an advanced feature, one that may take some professional help in setting up.

KPIs for Distribution

Distribution businesses have developed their own distinctive KPIs. In addition to basic financial KPIs, a distribution business tends to focus on operational metrics that reflect critical business functions—often tied to profitability. They include:

  • Inventory Turnover Ratio comparing inventory turns for low-turnover and high-turnover items. This KPI is useful for purchasing managers, as it should inform the volume of future buying.
  • On Time Shipping Ratio – comparing on-time shipping performance for custom orders at multiple warehouses over a period time.
  • Profitability by Item – revealing which customers and products are the most profitable.

It can take some focus and internal research to determine the best KPIs for your distribution business. We can help. We have guided distribution companies through the process of setting up data analytics and KPI dashboards.

To download the Distribution KPI white paper, visit  https://www.ccstechnologygroup.com/resources/kpis-for-distribution/.

Additional Distribution ERP Resources

Finding the Productivity Advantage in Distribution Management

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

How ERP Software Can Promote a Sustainable Supply Chain

Finding the Productivity Advantage in Distribution Management

What’s the right Distribution Management System for your business? Obviously, there’s no universally correct answer to this question. Every business has its own unique needs. However, based on our experience working with companies that have adopted the Acumatica Cloud ERP for Distribution Management, we recommend it in most situations. There are many reasons for this, one of which is the productivity advantage inherent in the solution.

The Importance of Productivity in Distribution Management

Productivity, in the context of information work, refers to how many tasks an employee can complete in a given amount of time. In non-structured work like managing a distribution business, it can be difficult to measure productivity accurately. However, it is definitely possible to identity ways that distribution management software can make your team work more productively.

Why does productivity matter in a distribution business? Employee productivity is an important factor in being able to scale a distribution business. To grow without adding a lot of headcount, it’s necessary to make people work more productively. Otherwise, you’ll be increasing Sales, General and Administrative (SG&A) expense at an uncomfortable rate even if revenues are going up.

The Distribution Management Productivity Checklist

Distribution management features make a difference in employee productivity. To help you think about matters in this regard, Acumatica published a checklist of productivity features in their product. Here are some highlights:

  • Is the solution intuitive, meaning is it easy to learn and use? Legacy ERP solutions can be challenging to master and relatively cumbersome to operate. These are drags on productivity that make it difficult to hire and onboard new people.
  • Is it truly universally available? Employees are increasingly mobile—whether they’re on the shop floor, at a vendor location or taking a canoe trip in the mountains. They will want access to the full functionality of the distribution management system regardless of their location or device form factor. A good distribution management solution will enable access from any device, anytime, anywhere.
  • Does it handle multiple languages? You can no longer assume that everyone in your operation speaks English, or any single language. The system should work in the language that best fits your people’s preferences. This includes document printing in multiple languages, i.e. the language your customer speaks.
  • Is it multi-currency? When the system can handle multiple currencies, that relieves your people of the chore (and error-prone process) of manual currency conversion.
  • Does it have automated workflows? – People work much more productively with automated business processes approval workflows, notifications and so forth.
  • Does it support Wikis? Wikis are an easy way for people to share information and documents across any combination of teams, departments, and external users. This makes the team more productive by reducing the need to search for information.
  • Can it handle document management? Separate documents are often part of the distribution management process, e.g. bills of lading, purchase orders, etc. Making documents accessible to all key personnel saves people time.
  • Does it run a single database? People work productively when they are all working off a single version of the truth.
  • How comprehensive is the reporting capability? People make better, quicker decisions and fewer mistakes when they have access to detailed, well-presented information.

We can help you understand your productivity challenges and how they can be addressed by the right distribution management solution. If you want to learn more about how Acumatica can help your distribution management team work more productively, let’s talk.

Additional Distribution Resources

ERP for Distributors: What Matters and What Doesn’t?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Distribution

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

If you’re a distributor, what business are you really in? On a day-to-day level, your business sources product from suppliers, stores it until it’s sold, and then transports it to customers. In its essence, though, a distributor is in the money management business. You’re taking cash and turning it into inventory. Tick tock – the longer it sits there, the less of a return you’re earning on that cash. Any operational or customer relationship issues that further stretch out the payment for a sale is lowering your return on capital even more. If you borrow to finance a distribution business, you’ll understand this problem deeply.

Software has long assisted distributors in making their businesses run right. Today, though, modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions give you new ways to cut costs and shorten that all-important cash cycle. Here are five reasons you need ERP software if you’re in the distribution business:

1. Be able to improve customer satisfaction and cut costs at the same time

A modern ERP suite allows you to be efficient in the management of distribution processes. You get real time visibility into available inventory and inventory costs, inventory in transit and reorder quantities. This visibility translates into low operating costs and clear, productive communications with customers. You can cut down on misunderstandings and delays that negatively affect customer satisfaction.

2. Reduce order times

Automated sales order processing, which is available in ERP solutions, eliminates delays in order fulfillment and shipping. The suite usually also enables you to set up rules to handle credit, returns, drop shipments and so forth across multiple warehouses.

3. Run an efficient warehouse

The more efficiently your warehouse(s) run, the more profitable your distribution business will be. A Warehouse Management System (WMS), which comes with many modern ERP suites, lets you streamline your distribution processes. The system covers workflows across receiving and inventory management as well as the operation of tools like barcode scanners and mobile devices.

4. Stay on top of your supply chain

ERP enables you to ensure a steady supply of goods to distribute. It accomplishes this by automating and optimizing purchasing processes, purchase order management and supply chain management.

5. Know your true costs

A modern ERP suite gives you the ability to determine profitability by warehouse as well as by product line or business unit. Reporting and data visualization tools help you spot cost overages and other drags on profitability that may elude standard financial reports.

Control Your Inventory and Increase Customer Satisfaction with Cloud ERP Built for Distribution

Those are just five big reasons distributors can benefit from modern ERP. You can also push up your profitability—through a better cash cycle as well as more efficient operations—by means of advanced inventory software, requisition management and advanced financial reporting tools.

Distribution is all about logistics. Without the right tools, distribution companies simply can’t compete. We have considerable experience in the distribution vertical, equipping clients with industry-specific tools, like Acumatica, that ensure a smooth process, top-notch security, and consistent reliability.

Acumatica Distribution Edition delivers, giving your business control over their supply chain and logistics activities, including warehouse management, inventory management, and order management. Built in the cloud and customized for your needs, Acumatica helps companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce order times, and control costs across the entire supply and distribution chain.

Click here to learn more or request a demo.

Check out these other articles for more ways to improve your distribution business:

How ERP Software Can Promote a Sustainable Supply Chain

Benefits of Inventory Management Software for Your Distribution Company

ERP for Distribution Companies

How ERP Software Can Promote a Sustainable Supply Chain

Businesses that are winning in today’s competitive market are making more eco-conscious decisions that impact the way they conduct business. Going green can help a company’s ability to retain customers who are environmentally aware, as well as the rising millennial market, which supports growing climate concerns.

For solid companies that are looking to drive customer loyalty, improving efficiencies around the supply chain can help to create a more sustainable business ecosystem. Improving the optimization of logistical processes and the rush to get items to market can greatly reduce waste.

Implementation of a state-of-the-art cloud-based ERP solution could improve efficiencies within the company, while streamlining the supply chain, to grow a more profitable company for decades to come.

Sources of Waste

The first step toward determining what areas need improvement is auditing the supply chain process from start to finish. Where is waste occurring? Looking at trends can help reveal the issues — whether obvious or less so.

It’s likely that issues will show up in areas of over-production or the over-purchasing of materials, which can often be attributed to errors around forecasting. Businesses looking to attain a more eco-friendly model should mitigate negative impacts of inventory management. 

Another matter that can drive waste is unnecessary transport of items; issues in this area can cause a company’s carbon footprint to soar. The least amount of miles a product travels, the better this will be for the company: manufacturing, packaging, storage, and distribution all have an impact on emissions. This is something ringing true to more and more of the population, and a business that reflects awareness in this area will no doubt benefit.

Utilization of an ERP solution can track these matters, while also improving coordination and communication between suppliers and partners — as well as providing unified messaging across the entirety of the organization and ultimately its customers. With complete data and important information available in real-time at the click of a button, risks can be alleviated. Costly issues attributed to human error can be minimized, and employees will be enabled to make better decisions to ensure a more connected supply chain.

Making it Agile

The goal of a successful business is being truly agile. The best bet in achieving this is implementing business management technologies that can support the supply chain’s efficiencies, identifying and removing any processes that lack value. The company will lighten its carbon footprint and also see a cost savings that can positively impact the company’s overall profits.

A cloud-based ERP system gives the company flexibility and the ability to respond to issues quickly and certainly, as industry demands dictate. Business leaders should be concerned with improved service over inventory girth — what matters is being in touch with the market and reducing excess inventory. 

Through insight-driven dashboards, managers and functional departments can monitor supply and demand and make adjustments based on data. Guesstimating is a thing of the past, thanks to advances in technology.

Today’s companies need to be concerned with staying ahead of the competition in regards to sales, but for the long-term, brand positioning will set them ahead and better secure customer loyalty. 

Visibility for the Future

An ERP solution can bring insights otherwise overlooked by even the most qualified employees. The visibility the system provides offers easy-to-digest charts and graphics speaking to the needs of members of the C-Suite and each department. While the master dashboard offers a simplified view with vital information, the system should also provide drill down capabilities that offer deeper insights.

With a one-source solution in place, a company can imbed its financial information into every function of the business. This gives everyone insights that simply wouldn’t be possible with outdated technology. Once users are up and working in the system, human errors will be reduced and employees will be able to focus on tasks that are more advantageous to the company’s well being and, ultimately, growth.

Moving beyond manual spreadsheets and outdated legacy systems will arm a company with the ability to stay relevant in the time of digital transformation. With the right strategy, companies can reduce emissions and achieve sustainability into the future.

An environmentally aware company will be streamlined for efficiency and drive the push for improved processes around waste in the supply chain. Keeping up to date with the latest in cloud-based technology allows business leaders to be a force of change for the better, while driving profit margins.

Partnering for Success

The time to innovate is now! 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 streamline processes for efficiency and eliminating waste, which can improve customer retention and profitability. 

Partnering for the future enables a business to improve capabilities and develop a strategic vision that drives growth. As an Acumatica partner, CCS 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.

Additional Distribution Resources

Benefits of Inventory Management Software for Your Distribution Company

ERP for Distribution Companies

The 7 Irresistible Qualities of Cloud ERP

Benefits of Inventory Management Software for Your Distribution Company

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. As an Acumatica Partner, 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.