Your Guide to Software Selection

Disrupting Distribution Software: Introducing New Technologies

Companies today are constantly striving to improve their distribution systems. However, that process can be complicated because of limitations imposed by distribution software.

This is even more common if the software hasn’t been updated for a while.

This is a situation that many companies today find themselves in. Older software is preventing them from implementing new wholesale distribution practices, which makes it hard to keep up with the competition.

Today’s distribution software is changing rapidly because of technological advances that make it more efficient, accurate and powerful. Not long ago, there weren’t many options for distributors when it came to a comprehensive software solution.

Luckily, that’s quickly changing. There are plenty of software solutions that are tailored to businesses of all sizes, offering robust features that make the process of distribution management much easier.

What’s more, new technological possibilities allow software vendors to provide features that weren’t even possible a decade ago.

Why is Distribution Software so Important for Your Business?

The primary purpose of distribution software is to help manufacturers manage numerous tasks related to manufacturing and distribution.

It helps track inventory, manage and process orders, handle accounting and provide supply chain management capabilities. In addition, it helps with customer relationship management, sales and much more.

Typically, distribution software is a part of a broader solution, namely enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. ERPs are designed to help companies efficiently allocate resources across multiple branches of the company.

Many ERP vendors offer distribution software functionality, including Microsoft Dynamics NAV, IQMS, Infor ERP for Distribution, SAP ERP and Epicor ERP, to name a few of the more popular options.

With the help of a comprehensive distribution ERP system, companies gain access to real-time data across multiple departments. This makes it much easier to schedule tasks and measure results.

Distribution software also offers complete control over the entire distribution process, providing all of the information necessary to make well-informed decisions. Businesses can monitor their supplies while tracking orders until the moment they’re received by the customer.

Having complete control over the entire manufacturing and distribution process allows companies to ensure that every part of the supply chain functions correctly. Plus, they can keep disruptions to a minimum.

What’s New?

While distribution software has been around for a while, the possibilities that it can offer today greatly differ from those that were available just a decade ago.

Here are just a few of the ways that technology is reshaping distribution software and its functionality:

Cloud Computing

Cloud ERP is on the rise. According to the Cloud ERP Market Research Report, the cloud ERP market is growing at 8% CAGR and is expected to reach around $28 billion by 2022.

When you consider how many benefits cloud technology brings to ERP, that’s not surprising.

Distributors need to have all of their data available on demand to make the right decisions, and the cloud helps make that data accessible anytime, anywhere.

What’s more, cloud ERP makes scaling much easier. Unlike with on-premise solutions, you never have to allocate resources to increase your data storage demands. With the cloud, your data is stored and protected on your provider’s servers, so you don’t have to worry about storage limits.

Finally, with cloud ERP, there’s no need for a significant upfront investment in order to enjoy all of the advanced features that distribution software provides. Cloud-based systems usually offer a monthly subscription model that doesn’t require additional upfront investment. This makes it very cost-effective for wholesale distributors.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is just starting to scratch the surface of its possibilities. It has enormous potential in the ERP industry, and it’s already revolutionizing inventory management.

IoT enables physical and digital asset communications, providing new possibilities for gathering all types of information.

With the help of IoT, companies can connect consumer devices and their own industrial equipment into one network. The ability to track devices in real time has huge implications for increasing efficiency, allowing companies to take control of delivery to their customers.

More devices are built with internet connectivity every year, and this trend is only set to continue. That means that companies will soon be able to obtain and track data about most (if not all) of their products.

What benefits can that bring?

Well, for starters, if an agreement between manufacturers, distributors and retailers can be achieved, organizations can collect real-time data about their products. In this case, they gain insights into their performance.

What’s more, this makes it possible to get ahead of problems before they even occur. You can immediately spot any defects or reductions in performance, which ultimately provides excellent customer service to your clients.

Automation

Automation is another technology that’s making its way into ERP software. The possibilities that come with cloud-based software, such as real-time data, are hard for distributors to ignore. Just consider the potential of automating some of your most time-consuming manual tasks.

Warehouse automation has been successfully implemented by some of the world’s biggest distributors, such as Amazon, Nike and Coca-Cola. This has allowed them to streamline their entire process, including warehouse delivery and inventory scheduling. As such, they can reallocate their resources and provide additional services to their customers. For example, a 365-day return policy and a full-time call center are a couple perks they now offer.

Automation can even prevent costly errors by monitoring data and communicating relevant information to users as it becomes available. In the near future, automated ERP software will be able to proactively communicate with users. This will ensure that important information doesn’t slip through the cracks, keeping users informed even if they’re not logged in to the system.

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