abas ERP provides a fully integrated ERP solution ideally suited to mid-size manufacturing and distribution companies that increases productivity, reduces costs and grows opportunities. Key modules of the software include: Sales Management CRMAdvanced Planning and Scheduling / APSPurchasingProduction Planning and Control (PPC)Materials ManagementService ProcessingFinancials and AccountingBusiness Intelligence and AnalyticsDocument Management Mobile ProcessesEDI and High-Performance LogisticsProcess Control and Workflow ManagementMulti-Company AccountingMulti-SiteProject ManagementIn addition to a robust standard feature set, abas ERP makes it simple across the board to adapt your system to your own business processes. And the best part? With abas, when you customize your system, you can still upgrade hassle free. abas ERP’s multi-tiered architecture, which separates your customizations from the business and database layers of the system, allows for smooth upgrades from older versions of the software. The independent components eliminate the need for rewriting previously developed custom programs, screens, and reports.
NetSuite ERP delivers the proven, comprehensive financial management capabilities required to grow a changing, complex business. NetSuite ERP takes your business beyond traditional accounting software by streamlining operations across your entire organization and providing you with the real-time visibility you need to make better, faster decisions.
Infor CloudSuite™ Distribution Enterprise is a complete distribution solution that combines the benefits of the cloud with functionality that's built specifically for large, global wholesale distributors with complex and evolving business models. Backed by decades of industry expertise and continually enhanced with the latest innovations, it's designed to help distributors modernize, innovate, drive competitive differentiation, and grow.
Odoo ERP, formerly OpenERP, is the #1 open-source ERP platform and integrated business app suite in the world. With Accounting, Manufacturing, Service, Inventory, Marketing, Retail, eCommerce and many more apps Odoo is winning over more traditional ‘big name’ competitors. As a trusted partner of Odoo, Vayam delivers top-notch consulting, service and support for your critical business projects.Inventory Supply Chain:Manage your supply chain, vendors, purchasing inventory in one easy, customizable app:Forecasting automated fulfillment.Vendor/Supplier Management.Purchase order processing.Goods receipt and warehouse management.Inventory management.Barcode, RFID, labeling support.Seamless integration with Accounting, Sales, Manufacturing, Maintenance more!Manufacturing Maintenance:Manufacturing and/or maintenance applications that support and improve your business processes:Monitor workflow status.Make better decisions through insightful analytics.Reduce costs by eliminating inefficient processes.Provide maintenance manufacturing instructions, documents videos.Integrate Sales CRM, e-Commerce Retail, Vendors, Inventory more!Retail e-Commerce: Need more than the basic e-Commerce website? We create modern, full-featured e-Commerce and Retail websites and back-end systems:Full customized, mobile friendly e-Commerce sites.User friendly Point-of-Sale (POS) for brick-and-mortar.Barcode, RFID, labeling support.Integration with Amazon, Ebay Magento.Built-in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).Custom reports and analytics.Shipping integration for UPS, USPS, Fedex, DHL.Seamless integration with Products, Inventory, Customers, Order tracking more!Sales Customer Relationship Management (CRM):Manage and monitor your most vital relationships with potential and existing customers insuring follow-through and improved communication:Manage contact Information, action items, important notes, and client meetings.Improve leads, opportunities, qualifications and management of contacts.Help control prospect-to-win pipeline.Monitor sales performance against targets and goals.Dashboards and reporting to easily manage your teams and make better decisions.Establish better process flows and guidance for client facing teams.Increase ability for add-on sales.Manage marketing campaigns, newsletters, surveys, and online forms.Employees Human Resources:With Odoo HR, Recruiters and Management can manage employees like never before. Odoo helps recruit, onboard, train, engage monitor employees by providing:A communication portal for your whole team – organize discussions around products, services and more.Automated messages to keep employees informed and help manage vital processes for your business.Full-featured Recruiting app: easily post jobs, manage candidates, resumes and interviews.Quick access to vital Employee data: contact info, job titles, vacation schedule, meetings.Tools to manage timesheets, vacations, holidays, and expenses.Easy to build Employee Evaluation/Appraisal forms.Employee Engagement Customer Feedback Surveys with automated result reports.Easy to create manage new hire onboarding and ongoing employee training material.Automated and customizable reports and analytics.
As a top-class ERP system, SYSPRO 7 helps businesses to really look at all aspects of their core operations and other parts of their businesses. Part of the functionality of this ERP solution is focused on sales processes. Most companies need to have some sort of oversight of internal sales and marketing processes. The leadership wants to tie these elements of business into actual product and service developments, and other parts of a general business administration system through functional ERP systems.
Rootstock Software® provides the breadth and depth of solutions that today’s discrete manufacturers and wholesale distributors need to operate and grow their business. Whether a small operation with five users, or a large organization with many sites and hundreds of users, Rootstock offers a solution for all sizes and types of discrete manufacturers and supports the manufacturing system requirements of Build to Order, Build to Stock and even Engineer to Order Manufacturers – whether standard cost or moving average cost and in both a single and multi plant environment. Rootstock also offers a solution for all sizes and types of distributors and supports the requirements of Ship from Stock, Configure/Kit to Order, PreBuilt Kits and Special Order Distributors – whether standard cost or moving average cost and in both a single distribution center (DC) and multiple distribution center (DC) environment.
Epicor Prophet 21—Technology that Drives Growth for DistributorsEpicor understands that meeting your customers’ expectations and demands is getting increasingly complex. As you strive to improve business performance, achieve growth, and maximize profitability, your customers continue to demand faster, more accurate service, more product and service options, and better overall quality. The Epicor® Prophet 21® system has been consistently helping wholesale distributors meet these challenges. In fact, Epicor has 5 times as many second-time ERP buyers than the industry at large. Distributors who know what they need buy Epicor.Today, you need a software solution that is based on a platform that you can implement quickly without substantial cost to your business. The Prophet 21 system is designed so that your distribution business can scale, adapt, and grow without costly system modifications.Beyond the technology, only Epicor can provide complete business digitization along with the refined distribution expertise that comes from 50 years of industry experience and hundreds of committed employees with deep domain expertise. With more than 1,600 wholesale distribution customers throughout the world using the Prophet 21 system, Epicor is one of the leading technology partners for the distribution industry.
Apprise® ERP is a fully-integrated, enterprise-wide solution designed specifically for the consumer goods industry – built to fit the needs of importers and distributors that market or manufacture fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as toiletries and cosmetics, non-durable goods such as food, wine and apparel, or durable goods like electronics and home furnishings.
Enterprise Business Systems software that is easy to work with. ForeMost works the way your business works today. A complete suite of applications that easily integrates with accounting, payroll, reporting, business intelligence software, .NET, Web Services, and SQL Systems. You must see ForeMost if you are considering upgrading your business systems software! Our Foremost ERP Fund Based Accounting Solution facilitates Integrated, Grant Based, Cost Accounting!
For over 30 years, Chempax has been helping Chemical Process Manufacturers and Chemical Distributors cut costs, improve operational efficiency and make better decisions faster. Combining the latest technological innovations with our chemical industry expertise, Chempax address you unique requirements of your industry and offers total integration for the daily demands of your business with powerful functionality options. Chempax is the ready to use solution that is seamlessly integrated allowing you to see rapid ROI without missing a beat.
The ProcessPro ERP software suite tackles your mission-critical business functions while linking all of your information through integrated business intelligence functionality. Gain total visibility – in real-time – to all your information so you can run more efficiently and grow more profitable. ProcessPro Premier helps batch process manufacturing companies like yours by organizing and tracking your manufacturing process, planning and execution, inventory management, quality assurance, FDA compliance, financials, sales, and more.
VAI's technology roadmap, our shared vision with IBM, provides companies with a business model based on best industry processes that leverages technology to create value and improve performance. The S2K family of products includes solutions for Distribution, Manufacturing, Retail, Service, and Rental companies; with industry specific features for Durable Goods, Apparel, and Pharmaceutical.
The Enterprise 21 ERP system is a fully-integrated ERP system for small and mid-market manufacturing and distribution organizations. Designed to facilitate industry best practices, Enterprise 21 includes comprehensive software functionality to manage the enterprise’s complete business operations.
Infor M3 offers ultimate flexibility in operations, technology, and scale. As a multi-site, multi-country, and multi-company solution, M3 empowers your organization to adapt to changing business needs. It provides flexibility in managing mixed-mode and complex environments, with the agility to make quick adjustments at any time. Written in Java, M3 also gives you platform independence and choice.
Infor Distribution SX.e helps all types of wholesale distributors increase productivity and adapt quickly to an evolving market. Providing broad visibility across your entire organization, this powerful solution delivers unparalleled control in managing thousands of transactions, suppliers, and customers while simultaneously tracking millions of inventory items.
Kenandy's ERP empowers business innovation. Built on the Salesforce App Cloud, Kenandy has redefined enterprise resource planning by allowing companies to map their business processes and implement applications remarkably fast. With the automation of operational systems including global financials, procure-to-pay, planning and production, quote-to-cash and trade promotion management, Kenandy customers have the freedom to focus on driving innovation and growth. For more information, visit: www.kenandy.com.
Complete: One cloud for your entire business. Oracle ERP Cloud is a complete, integrated and modern cloud application suite that manages accounting, procurement and projects enterprisewide. Equip your workforce with a modern ERP and empower them toward higher levels of productivity.
Like a computer or a phone that has an operating system to support its applications, a business needs its own system to tie together its customer, product, accounting and personnel information. This is what CBOS provides: an all-in-one business solution that is available anytime, anywhere. CBOS offers a hosted, cloud-based, mobile, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with user-defined roles, multiple levels of security for data storage and user access. The CBOS platform provides information that can be accessed by all departments and eliminates individual solutions for each department and the repetitive, error-prone input of data. Offered economically on a monthly billed basis, the CBOS platform provides your company with a single solution to help you grow, and puts you in the driver’s seat to manage your organization, customer data, product or service offerings and personnel information.
Iptor (formerly International Business Systems - IBS)Warehouse Management (formerly Dynaman) - Robust, scalable and flexible, software for distributorsERP for Distribution (formerly IBS Enterprise) - Connected, intuitive and adaptable distribution software for the digital business worldERP for Publishing (formerly IBS Bookmaster) - Software to help businesses capitalise on shifting publishing industry supply chains
Deskera ERP is easy-to-use accounting software that facilitates recording and processing of different financial transactions and processes. From invoices and purchase orders to inventory and receipts, this platform provides a quick and efficient way to manage your business processes. Deskera ERP is approved by the Singapore IRAS Board.
SAP Business One is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small and mid-sized discrete and process manufacturing companies. This all-in-one manufacturing solution provides the accurate, real-time information that growing manufacturing companies need to effectively run their day-to-day operations.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software by Oneir Solutions Inc make mid size and growing businesses more competitive. In particular, businesses that operate with remote locations and have sales reps on-the-road…no matter where they are or how many.
Accolent ERP is ADS Solutions latest, state-of-the-art web-based distribution software suite for wholesale distribution. It can either be hosted in the Cloud and delivered as a SaaS (software as a service) solution, or installed locally, on your own premises. You can access Accolent ERP from any device capable of running a standard web browser, and don’t need any other software installed on the device. This allows you to access your critical information anytime, anywhere, from any device.
Need more than accounting tools? Manage every aspect of your small-midsize business with SAP Business One! Gain greater control over your SME or subsidiary with SAP Business One, business management software designed to grow with you. Trusted by over 47,000 companies in 150 countries, this single solution streamlines your key processes – from accounting and CRM to supply chain management and purchasing.
NetSuite ERP delivers the proven, comprehensive financial management capabilities required to grow a changing, complex business. NetSuite ERP takes your business beyond traditional accounting software by streamlining operations across your entire organization and providing you with the real-time visibility you need to make better, faster decisions.
Meet with SAP HANA – Next generation database drives SAP Business One.SAP HANA is the in-memory computing platform for SAP Business One that supercharges the application performance for speed and allows you to analyze massive amounts of data in real-time. SAP Business One powered by SAP HANA eliminates layers of complexities and unnecessary business costs found in legacy IT architecture so your business can run smarter, faster and simpler.
Encompass Solutions Inc. is a dynamic and deeply experienced organization that provides expertise in ERP and business application systems. Encompass consultants provide support and leadership to companies world-wide who are looking to analyze and refine their operations, whether through selection and complete implementation of state of the art ERP systems, integration and renovation of existing systems or analyzing and providing solutions to corporate challenges.Companies’ needs for services and technology are as varied as the companies themselves. Finding the right solution starts with a disciplined, insightful understanding of the underlying problems. We work with a range of technology solutions including Epicor, Vantage,Vista, Ross, ERP, SOA and BI development platforms.
SAP Business One is a powerful, scalable business management system which integrates all core business functions across your entire company. It provides managers with access to critical real-time data, enabling you to make quicker, better decisions to help grow your business.
Epicor Eclipse–Technology that Drives Growth for DistributorsEpicor Eclipse is a leading distribution ERP software solution which offers powerful capabilities for wholesalers in the electric, plumbing/PVF, and HVAC industries. Epicor Eclipse is a distribution-focused system that scales from tens to thousands of users on a single installation. It serves as a fine example of the Epicor commitment to distributors.Epicor has 50 years of distribution experience and hundreds of committed employees with deep domain expertise. With more than 750 wholesale distribution customers using the Eclipse system, Epicor is one of the leading technology partners for the distribution industry. We are uniquely positioned to help you achieve the business results you need to sustain a long-term competitive advantage.
S4 HANA Cloud is a comprehensive and leading-edge cloud ERP suiteEnables customers to instantly adjust and adopt business models and act on real-time contextual insight and adviceProvides enterprise-ready functionality for digital business in specific industries and LOB functions with faster deployment, time to value and lower entry costs of cloud deliverySAP’s key differentiators include:contextual analyticsmachine learningdigital assistantin-memory SaaS cloud infrastructure
How to Compare Distribution ERP Software
The worldwide market for Distribution Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is valued at $2.&B in 2016, growing to $3.4B in 2018, attaining a compound annual growth rate of 4.55% according to International Data Corporation (source).
Why do organizations need and use Distribution ERP software?
- Manage all distribution channels as a single, unified system with visibility across each distributor network
- Increase the level of inventory turns and inventory management efficiency
- Improve inventory management and costs
- Increase upsells and cross-sells by having all available products on hand through distribution
- Increase the level of compliance completed for distribution centers through automated reporting
- Increase customer satisfaction by meeting delivery dates
- Greater financial control over each distribution point or center
- More automated approaches to warehouse and distribution management
- A single system of record for all distribution activity over time
Distribution ERP Vendors
Start with your company’s goals and objectives, and take into account any future businesses your company plans on launching in the next five years when starting your search for a Distribution ERP system. It’s important to choose one that can scale with your business needs as you grow. Many companies are moving into early new businesses today and are looking for a Distribution ERP system that can keep pace and scale with their expansion goals.
Bottom line: When you are selecting a Distribution ERP provider, think of them more as a partner in building your business first and a software vendor second. Evaluating each with this mindset will lead to a good fit with your current and future needs.
Key Features Of Consider When Evaluating Distribution ERP Software Options
Distributed Order Management
Orchestrating inbound orders across all sales channels and prioritizing which production centers can fulfill each one is a must-have in any Distribution ERP system. The ability to create a unified list of orders and prioritize them for fulfillment through advanced analytics is state-of-the-art in this feature area today. For small and mid-sized companies, distribution ERP systems need to provide order level detail, order status, quote-to-cash (QTC) workflows, and analytics for tracking overall system performance. Distributed order management systems also need to have the ability to track order status and order history to make each transaction with every customer auditable over time.
Inventory Control And Management
Managing inventory levels across a warehouse or entire distribution network is an essential part of any Distribution ERP system. Inventory Control and Management modules in Distribution ERP systems at a minimum have reorder point calculations and alerts configurable based on replenishment points based on product order levels. Minimum features also include reordering points, order quantity, lead demand, stock cover and order accuracy analytics. All of these features are configurable for the specific needs of a given distribution operation. Distribution ERP vendors are investing heavily in making their user interfaces and software packages more configurable as a result of the increased complexity of the features they are offering.
Inventory And Order-Level Financial Reporting
Tracking procurement, purchasing, supplier delivery performance, customer demand and pricing strategies impact how inventory is valued over time. At a minimum, Distribution ERP systems need to support inventory and order-level financial reporting to track how these factors and more determine how much inventory is on hand at any given point in time, and how much it is worth. Inventory and order level financial reporting is often designed to be multisite in scope, capable of scaling across multiple warehouses and providing a single statement of all inventory levels and their financial value. Distribution ERP vendors are also integrating inventory and order-level financial reporting with General Ledger (GL), fixed assets, cost- and accrual accounting-based workflows, budgeting and project accounting to create a single, unified financial system for managing distribution operations.
Warehouse And Distribution Reporting & Analytics
Warehouse and distribution reporting and analytics provide insights into the velocity of the most and least popular selling items through warehouses and distribution centers, in addition to providing predictive insights into which products will most likely sell out. The latest generation of warehouse and distribution reporting & analytics apps can predict out-of-stock conditions and also track potential supplier shortfalls based on previous shipment history. Predictive analytics based on previous warehouse, distribution and supplier performance is making this an area of rapid innovation in Distribution ERP systems.
Integrated Asset Tracking Systems
At a minimum Distribution ERP systems need to support barcoding management workflows as part of their integrated asset tracking systems. Like distributed order management, this is a critically important feature in any Distribution ERP system as it provides a means to tag each inbound set into a warehouse or distribution center. Barcode readers, printers and entire distribution management workflows are supported in nearly all Distribution ERP systems. This is also an area where Distribution ERP providers are investing heavily in new product development. As a result, it’s common to see Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other forms of wireless tagging starting to be offered in Distribution ERP systems. In the next three to five years there will be increasing investment in NFC tags, QR codes that can identify and scan inventory items at high speeds, saving hours of manually-based scanning that happens in the majority of warehouses today.
The four key advantages of implementing a Distribution ERP system in your company are listed below.
Improved Inventory Turns
Improving the performance of every distribution center and warehouse by removing the roadblocks that get in the way of increasing inventory turns is the greatest advantage Distribution ERP systems deliver. Inventory turns are defined as the measure of how many times inventory is sold or used during a specific period. Technology companies that have short product lifecycles and fast sales cycles measure inventory turns monthly. It is common for Dell, HP and others to have 60 to 70 inventory turns year or more. The equation for inventory turns is defined as the cost of goods sold or net sales divided by the average inventory level by distribution center. Inventory turn is a critical component of a company’s overall financial health as well. If it is slow, it means sales are not moving as fast as expected, and if the figure is above industry average, the products are selling quickly. Inventory turns have a direct impact on the Return on Assets (ROA) calculations that guide company’s investment strategies. Best-in-class Distribution ERP systems integrate Inventory Turns analysis with financial reporting to provide a single, unified view of overall company financial performance.
Reduction In Administrative And Operational Costs
Running a warehouse or distribution center is very expensive, from the insurance required to protect the buildings and inventory it stores to the costs of conveyor systems, handling equipment, security systems, salaries and benefits, and utilities to keep the centers operating. These are all unique costs to distribution and warehouse locations and require an entirely different chart of accounts for tracking them. Distribution ERP systems have modules designed that have unique approaches to organizing administrative and operational costs into a framework that makes comparing them across locations and with the common financial reporting systems easier to accomplish. Due to these factors, it is essential to get a Distribution ERP system that supports Administrative and Operational Cost assignment, calculation, reporting, analysis and aggregate reporting to company financial reporting statements.
Improvement In Complete And On Time Shipments
Another one of the most valuable advantages of implementing a Distribution ERP system is the ability to track order fulfillment, inventory management and labor productivity measures. These three areas have a direct influence over how many complete and on-time shipments are completed in a given period for a warehouse and distribution center. In evaluating a Distribution ERP system make sure the order fulfillment reporting includes support for on-time shipments (% of orders shipped by requested date); order fill rate (% of order shipped complete by due date); line fill rate (% of order lines shipped completed by due date); and pick accuracy or the % of orders picked without an error. Also, tracking inventory management is also necessary for keeping orders on time The two key metrics needed in this area including Inventory Accuracy (% of items have correct balance during physical inventory with system reporting) and Space Utilization (% of space utilized in the warehouse). The third area that is essential for tracking complete and on-time shipments is labor productivity. This last metric includes receiving, put-away, replenishment, picking and shipping.
Improvement In Internal Schedule Compliance
Another benefit of adopting a Distribution ERP system is the opportunity to improve internal schedule compliance and quality levels. All Distribution ERP systems support logic to accomplish schedule compliance. The best-in-class Distribution ERP system can track schedule compliance to overall financial performance by integrating with the General Ledger (GL), Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable parts of a financial reporting system. In evaluating ERP systems, check to make sure they support Customer Reject Rate, Warranty or Recall Costs, OSHA-reportable incidents/year and Inventory Shrinkage as a Percent of Total Inventory. These four metrics are what enable distribution and warehouse businesses to measure and improve internal schedule compliance. Many distribution and warehouse-based businesses create detailed Supplier Compliance Guides that provides their suppliers with guidance on how to excel in their roles providing materials needed. Supplier Compliance Guides are increasingly delivered online, integrated with internal dashboards for tracking overall supplier performance. Monitoring supplier compliance is an excellent way to make sure delivery dates and locations are consistently met and costs are kept as low as possible while schedules are met.
How to Evaluate Distribution ERP Systems
Selecting a Distribution ERP system for your company needs to reflect how different your production operations are from any other distribution business. Knowing which Distribution ERP providers excel in your industry will help to gain greater insight and context into who needs to be on your short list. There are over 175 Distribution ERP providers selling systems today. Fortunately, SelectHub is here to help.
What’s wrong with how you are managing distribution operations today?
- Is your company doing inventory using manual processes and workflows today?
- How is inventory control handled by your company today? Is it automated or manual?
- Does your order management system track all inbound orders or is there a separate system for each?
- What manual workarounds are you relying on today to get work done that a Distribution ERP system could automate?
- Is your existing financial reporting system integrated with inventory control to provide greater visibility into how each distribution center is performing?
- If you have a Distribution ERP solution in place, ask yourself why you are looking to make a change.
- Who uses the current Distribution ERP system?
- Which departments are everyday users, and which are only using your Distribution ERP system occasionally?
- What are your Distribution ERP system’s users trying to achieve by using the solution, and how well can they carry out their goals?
- Is the system not cost-effective for your current users? Are you paying too much in monthly or annual fees for unused features?
- Is the Distribution ERP system too difficult to use today? Is it challenging to learn?
- Was the Distribution ERP system designed when your company had a different business model than it does today?
- What’s the information and insight you need to run your business that your existing Distribution ERP system doesn’t provide today?
- Can your existing Distribution ERP system generate analytics and business intelligence (BI) dashboards and reporting?
What kind of Distribution ERP system will you need?
- What order management and inventory control and reporting workflows aren’t being addressed by your current Distribution ERP system today?
- Can your existing Distribution ERP system support quality management and compliance reporting company-wide or just in the quality department?
- How much time does your company spend cleaning up incorrectly shipped orders?
- What workflows and production processes most differentiate your company and make it unique?
- Define the five distribution processes that most need improvement in your business today
- Is inventory management and control automated or manually-based right now?
- What is the extent of your product tracking system today? Are you using bar codes or an electronic approach (RFID, NFC) to track inventory locations?
How will the Distribution ERP system perform once deployed?
- Is your company considering an on-premise or cloud-based Distribution ERP system?
- Who will be responsible for keeping the Distribution ERP system up-to-date and be its administrator?
- What devices will the Distribution ERP system need to run on throughout your company?
- Are you considering having the Distribution ERP system accessible from the warehouse floor?
- How customizable do you need the individual screens, applications, and platforms to be to support your business?
- What analytics, metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) do you need to manage your distribution operations your existing ERP system doesn’t offer?
- Will the Distribution ERP system be able to manage the wide variety of data reports needed to run your business today? How about in a year from now?
- How will the Distribution ERP system integrate with your current system, especially your financial reporting one?
- What support or training will the vendor provide during and after installation?
Every business has a unique set of needs, so the first step in a software selection project is to create a checklist of what your company needs most from a Distribution ERP system. There are hundreds of criteria to choose from, but the framework can be broken up into five main categories:
Forecasting and Demand Planning
When defining the specific requirements your company has for forecasting and demand planning, keep in mind the following features that Distribution ERP systems offer in this functional area. They include the ability to drive baseline forecasts with advanced statistical forecasting engines, forecast time-phased attach rates using the Bill of Materials (BOM) as the model, and plan promotions and their impact on inventory and warehouse operations using curve-fitting statistical models. Additional features to consider in defining your requirements including consensus forecasting or the ability to view cross-functional demand across sales, marketing, product management and senior management. Product managers are also frequent users of forecasting and demand planning applications in Distribution ERP systems, and need support for product launch workflows, pricing, promotions and rebates and models to predict how their efforts will impact inventory levels and velocity. There’s also the needs of the finance teams that need to track and report alignment between finance, accounting and operations. The best-in-class forecasting and demand planning systems have access to data in real-time and also deliver out-of-the-box reporting and analytics, in addition to supporting analytics reporting with pre-built workflows.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Expertise
The foundation of many distribution-based businesses is based on queuing up a series of batch-driven transactions that are completed periodically. EDI is the most common approach to completing batch-oriented transactions between companies and is a must-have in any Distribution ERP system. By definition, EDI is the system-to-system exchange of transaction reports and documents between buyers and sellers. In the past EDI had to be enabled by service providers who specialized in these types of transactions. Within the last ten years EDI has increasingly been done directly over the Internet. EDI is a solid standard in the most time-sensitive industries including high tech manufacturing, high tech distribution, and consumer packaged goods (CPG). EDI will always be a standard in distribution businesses given its proven accuracy and reliability. It’s common knowledge in the industry that EDI can easily reduce the order-to-cash cycle time by 20% or more improving business partner relationships in the process. The same Forrester study that found the order-to-cycle time improvements also found that EDI can reduce transaction costs by 35% or more and reduces transaction errors by 40% or more.
The core features to look for in a Warehouse Management System (WMS) or module that is part of a Distribution ERP system is comprehensive support for warehouse operations including defining and managing individual stock keeping units (SKUs); automatic ID labels and technologies (bar codes, RFID, EPC codes, etc.); and inventory by location traceability. These are the baseline requirements of what’s needed in a Distribution ERP system. Advanced Distribution ERP systems also support multi-location analysis and the assignment of warehouse locations by type of asset. These advanced systems have the ability to track the type of storage used (pallet, case or container) and any storage restrictions as well. Higher-end Distribution ERP systems also have analytics and reporting that can track and analyze expected labor productivity rates by function or activity (for example shelf management and cases picked per hour). Best-in-class Distribution ERP systems also have warehouse and distribution reporting and analytics that can track inventory velocity and variety and provide predictive analytics as to how best to balance warehouse inventory mix.
Distribution Requirements Planning
Defining which products need to ship from a given warehouse in a specific quantity can make the difference between holding onto a customer or not. Distribution Requirements Planning (DRP) is the module in a Distribution ERP system that handles this logic and related coordination tasks. DRP systems can alleviate out-of-stock, sold out and allocation conditions through the use of advanced analytics and algorithms. This is a must have feature for any company whose inventory turns are over 20 per year as the DRP process is often manually handled in smaller, fast-growing companies. Doing this process manually is fraught with potential errors. Automating this process will also ensure the data is integrated into the financial reporting systems, making for a complete series of financial statements every reporting period. Advanced ERP systems that offer DRP also have a table-driven structure that includes forecast demands, current inventory levels, target safety stock, recommended replenishment quantities and replenishment lead times.
The world’s leading supply chains are highly collaborative in nature, with the Toyota Production System (TPS) being one that is often studied by industry leaders to see how they too can attain the higher levels of efficiency and performance. Collaborative supply chains are predicated on a shared knowledgebase that is partly defined in software but also in process. The Supply Chain COllabration (SCM) features in Distribution ERP systems are specifically designed to share forecasts across a base of suppliers, looking to create greater insights that are just handling one supplier relationship in isolation. Distribution ERP systems are providing supplier collaboration and scheduling that streamlines collaboration across the broad base of suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, and customers while reducing procurement, sales and inventory costs. Distribution ERP vendors who have supplier collaboration and scheduling also can increase supply chain vsibili9ty and increase the accuracy, speed and competitive strength of supply networks. By orchestrating all of these elements, supplier collaboration has the potential to reduce inventory levels and minimize the variations in supply and customer demand. Most importantly, this feature has the potential to improve the level fo shared information and communication across suppliers,= which reduce processing costs and order errors.
Please provide an overview of your inventory control system with emphasis on how I can use your advanced features to optimize inventory turns
This is a minimum requirement for any Distribution ERP system, so be sure to ask and see how well the inventory management system can handle the basic functions of tracking individual items and their relative value. A good demo will also include insights into how a given Distribution ERP system will be able to optimize inventory turns over time. Ask to see the specific results and audit trail of how the system(s) you are looking at have dropped inventory turns through the logic and algorithms in the system.
Can you provide an example of your distributed order management system works?
This is the foundation of many Distribution ERP systems and therefore should be one of the most well-defined and mature workflows shown in a demo. Ask to see how the application(s) handle multiple locations and inventory management across multiple warehouses. Also ask to see how the distributed order management system knows which manufacturing or fulfillment center to choose based on all available factors. This is an area every vendor you speak with should have a very strong app given its central role to Distribution ERP workflows.
How quickly can I onboard a new supplier and start to see their inbound delivery performance?
Best-in-class systems can onboard a new supplier in less than ten minutes with a minimum of screens to accomplish the tasks. If this takes over 30 minutes, it’s a red flag that the system has not been specifically designed with this process in mind first.
How can the sales, pricing, operations, product management and senior management teams make use of the Distribution ERP system’s reporting functions?
Ask to see the dashboard within the individual modules and across the entire Distribution ERP system from each of the departments’ perspectives listed above. Ask first to see what the sales management dashboard looks like, in addition to the pricing manager, operations, product management and senior management. Each of these dashboards should be unique to the specific information needs of each of these audiences and also provide an overview of how financial performance impacts company profitability. The demo needs also to include steps for creating and maintaining the dashboard including the definition fo new metrics and KPIs.
Will it grow with my business?
If you’re investing in a Distribution ERP solution, you don’t want it to be obsolete in a year. Plan to implement software that will last at least ten years. Your Distribution ERP system should be scalable and capable of keeping up with the core aspects of your warehouse and distribution business. Find out what the limitations are on the scale and reporting capability of your system so you can make an adequate decision about whether the software is right for you.
Leading Distribution ERP Vendors
There are over 175 Distribution ERP providers serving over a dozen sub-industries in discrete, mix-mode and process manufacturing industries. Leading vendors include the following:
Epicor ERP—Epicor ERP is designed to operate either as an on-premise or cloud-based Distribution ERP system. Epicor has grown through acquisition, and as a result the company has a wide variety of distribution-based applications with Prophet21 and Eclipse being the best-known. Epicor is also recognized as having an excellent series of vertically-based ERP systems that also include support for distribution management. Their ERP applications integrate with financial systems, inventory control and support for CRM system integration
Infor ERP for Distribution – Infor for ERP Distribution has industry-leading inventory and warehouse management systems known for the depth of their distributed order management systems and integration of warehouse management systems. Infor also had deep expertise in managing multichannel ordering and order allocation across warehouse locations.
IQMS – One of the most advanced providers of Distribution ERP systems, IQMS’ product strategy integrates Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) And Manufacturing Execution System (MES) applications into a unified system of record that enables manufacturers to support new and emerging workflows. EnterpriseIQ is the company’s leading product and is widely used in small, medium- and enterprise-size distribution and warehouse operations.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV – Formerly Microsoft Dynamics Navision, Microsoft NAV has established itself as a leader in small and midsize distribution and warehouse management. What’s unique about the product is its ease of use and support for distributed order management systems. What’s significant about this product is the greater control it provides over supply chain planning and execution and integration of production and financial data. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is also known for its rapid deployment timeframes as well.
NetSuite Distribution Edition – Recently acquired by Oracle, NetSuite Distribution Edition is specifically designed for the small to mid-tier fast-growing distributors that need an integrated ERP, inventory, e-commerce, accounting, fulfillment, and CRM solution.
Plex Systems – The undisputed Cloud ERP leader, Plex powers modern distribution and manufacturing with the first ERP cloud built from the plant floor up. There are over 600 companies running their manufacturing operations on the Plex Manufacturing Cloud today. The Plex Manufacturing Cloud has proven its ability to automate distribution and manufacturing from the shop floor to the top floor. The Plex Manufacturing Cloud is designed to connect suppliers, optimize materials ordering and management, and integrate with accounting and business systems to deliver manufacturing intelligence across any size production operation.
SAP Business One – Designed specifically for distribution and warehouse businesses, SAP Business One excels at role-based access to critical data, applications, and analytical tools. SAP also excels at managing the complex processes of procurement, manufacturing execution, service, sales, finance, and HR. SAP is one of the most trusted and proven ERP providers worldwide.
Choosing a Distribution ERP system provider is a task that should be given serious consideration. This Distribution ERP system comparison is meant to be used as a starting point to guide IT professionals who are tasked with making this decision.