ERP System for Railroad Equipment Assembly & Equipment Distributors
Challenges of the railroad industry
As the clamour grows for competition to combat the monopoly of freight enjoyed by the railroad industry, its margins are going to be challenged continuously. The number of players is reducing all while costs are growing. Most freight users are demanding lower costs due to the plethora of available options apart from the railroad. This will trickle down to the need for purchasing of railroad equipment with decreasing purchasing costs without compromising on functionality and technology requirements.
What it means for railroad equipment assembly & distribution
This portends that Railroad equipment assembly and distribution must be optimized for minimal waste and maximum efficiency. The key players would need to be enabled with competitive capability to tackle this challenge to be successful in the future. They would need to be bolstered by cost/process efficiencies, higher operational capability of business processes, state of the art functionalities in business intelligence/real time reporting and faster response times enabled by data. They need to adhere to commitments in quality, cost and delivery and improve them continuously. The only way this can be achieved is by a relevant, one-stop-shop business software that covers all their needs and is capable, easy to use, affordable.
ERP system for railroad equipment assemblers and distributors
A firm that is in the business of Railroad equipment assembly and distribution would definitely need the following capabilities in the business software at the very least: Large/Complex Bill of Materials (BOMs), Drop ship, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders, Multiple Addresses per Location, Projects, Multi-Level Sub-Projects, Shipments, Invoices / Collection, Bills / Payments, Cost of Goods Sold, and Sales Margins.
Earlier this capability was provided to the bigger players by the on-premise ERP or big-ticket Cloud hosted ERP subscriptions that do not support the needs of smaller and mid -sized players in this space. However, this has changed for the better with the advent of comprehensive native Cloud ERP Solutions that offer the same capability at a much lower cost, faster set up and implementation times with easy support and customization. Moreover, cloud data security is no longer a user problem and updates do not affect uptime as they did in on premise solutions.
Typically, on-premise solutions may have the capability but do not suit the cost and resource constraints of small and mid-sized players. Here the Cloud ERP is a great boon as it requires no additional infrastructure needs apart from a basic IT setup, affordable costs and subscription models without any compromise on capability. Moreover, customization can be done without coding knowledge and there is real time availability of data for reports. The portability of a cloud-based system also enhances the customer experience as it can be used on any device.
The critical requirement is the ability to support a complex distribution business in one ERP system – drop-shipping, shipping and receiving, flexible order packing for complicated invoices, large multi-level bill of materials, and multiple ship-to addresses for a single customer.
The ability to track gross margins on a sales order basis is also critical for this domain. It must be able to track all revenues and expenses arising from a sales order to check that each sale was profitable on its own. Moreover, it is required to ensure all sales orders are completed and delivered with invoicing and payment. This is to ensure that revenue leakage is prevented via some sales items revenue falling through the cracks due to incomplete sales orders.
Unlike legacy ERP systems, native Cloud ERP software does not require expensive and extensive customization for this domain. This is because state of the art technologies has evolved over the past several decades to support configuration via option settings and an application programming interface (API). This is a huge improvement over the traditional way when customization was accomplished by re-writing parts of the business software source code which was a time consuming and expensive exercise using specialized coding capability.
Our experience and capability for this space
One of our customers in this domain switched to our Cloud ERP at one tenth of the cost when compared to SAP Business One- the other relevant alternative that was being used by the larger players in this space. No further integrations with third-party, add-on products were required because our product already had all the capabilities they needed.
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