The current wholesale distribution landscape can be a hostile place for growing businesses. Here are some of the challenges wholesale distributors face and how ERP can be used to address them.
Wholesale distribution has changed. The entire post-covid industry is unrecognisable; the challenges and problems of running a WD company have been accelerated or exacerbated by supply chain complexities and unpredictable consumer demand. Businesses that don’t invest in the infrastructure to handle demand, inventory, and supply planning processes will struggle to succeed.
Here are some ways a suitable ERP system can help tackle wholesale distributors’ current challenges.
One critical factor to success in wholesale distribution is providing the best experience for your customers, making sure attention is provided towards delivering a customer experience that yields return business. ERP can work alongside customer relationship management (CRM) software, allowing sales, support and service real-time access to all the necessary customer data, ensuring all of the customer-facing aspects of the wholesale distribution process can cater to each customer’s needs without causing any miscommunication or frustration.
Supply Chain Management
Recent disruptions have highlighted wholesale distributors’ need for robust supply chain management practices to help mitigate external risks. Some ERP systems come bundled with supply chain management (SCM) software. An SCM system can provide an analysis of historical customer demand, which can be combined with demand forecasting and sales forecasting to implement a smooth-running demand-driven supply chain.
A critical factor in staying competitive in the current wholesale distribution landscape is ensuring operations run as smoothly as possible. When identifying issues and streamlining processes, having complete oversight of business operations is essential. A properly implemented ERP solution can offer views of customers, orders, items and inventory. This is invaluable for troubleshooting slowdowns and interruptions and is also very useful for identifying the bottlenecks and areas of improvement when optimising key processes.
To run a sustainable inventory management operation, wholesale distributors must minimise overstock while avoiding stock-outs. An ERP system can be configured to provide intelligent demand-based inventory replenishment, with a preferred stock level set based on inventory history or season.
Wholesale distributors often deal with financial complexity, especially if they’re selling across multiple channels. Most ERP solutions offer various financial automation features, allowing simplified purchase order and receipt management processes and automation tools for various other processes, such as transactions, financial close, reconciliation, invoices and revenue.
Wholesale distributors often have complicated order cycles, which can lead to order processing being difficult to manage. Integrating the order process with an ERP system allows for convenient management and can help automate processes such as price changing and customer returns. ERP is especially useful for wholesale distribution businesses that offer shipment tracking, as warehouse and inventory data can be combined with self-service portals to give customers real-time information on their orders.
Operating one or multiple warehouses effectively can be challenging and is often done using a dedicated warehouse management system (WMS). Some ERP solutions include WMS features, which provide the tools to link warehouse management and data with the rest of the ERP system. Businesses that require more advanced WMS may choose instead to integrate a third-party WMS with their ERP, providing a more in-depth suite of warehouse management tools that still integrate with the rest of the business’s ERP solution.
Find Out What an ERP System Could Mean for your Wholesale Distribution Business
If you’re interested in ERP for your wholesale distribution business, consider one of our NetSuite-based cloud solutions, extended with WAERlinx warehouse management. Contact a member of the NoBlue team if you’d like to talk about what we have to offer your business.