ERP Solutions and Distribution Management

Distribution Management capabilities are greatly enhanced and optimized with the right ERP solution. Distributors need to share operational and inventory data with decision makers to enable high quality, relevant and appropriate strategic action. The processes in distribution management are very complex involving many stakeholders across geographies and multiple products with many data variables. The right ERP can leverage this data for effective decisions in real time. It can be a source of great competitive advantage for a business. The Cloud ERP is especially able to meet most demands of a future ready distribution management system.

The Functionalities that the future ready distribution solution needs:

The following are the major functionalities that the right ERP should offer in distribution management:

Variables & Planning

  • It should manage all of the variables that affect stocking level decisions sales trends to production times and including seasonal trends. It can keep a real time view of inventory status, allocations and shop floor capacity. The solution should provide up-to-the-second dispatch information for better scheduling. It should optimize the balance between the costs of carrying excess inventory with the risk of not having the stock. Data figures should be in real time with this access to even staff in the field.
  • Materials Planning should be automated with no compromise on accuracy for better buying decisions. With more accurate calculations, you can optimize cash flow, production schedules and provide on-time delivery to your customers.
  • When you share inventory and production information with other stakeholders across the supply chain you can build relationships and profitability. It should simplify order processing and status updates for your distributors and direct customers. Insights should be generated into production and shipping delays, allowing you and your customers to mitigate the situation. Quicker responses should be enabled for supply chain disruptions.

Automation & Features

  • Automating the operational functions of purchasing work flows should simplify reporting allowing purchasing agents to focus on insights about the supply chain. Purchasing agents should be able  to continuously improve sourcing competence.
  • Through inbuilt features you can take into account factors including volume, expiration dates, recurring orders etc for even multiple warehouses. You can automate order packing using bar code scanning and workstations that print invoices, packing slips and package labels etc
  • One should be able to improve customer service through consolidated inventory information regardless of location. You should be able to automate notifications for all orders to keep customers informed of order status and potential delays. ERP and your e-commerce portal should reflect actual inventory levels, support online order placement with automated order confirmation and status notifications. This real time insight into inventory data will cut your costs by reducing overstocks, losses in customer sales and the need for using high cost priority shipments to cover shortages.

Productivity & Automation

  • The right ERP should allow you to scale the business to meet higher demands without adding more people.  Bar code systems optimize inventory process in minimal times, and standardized processes and make tasks easier. Integrated systems eliminate double entry and time wastage.
  • With an integrated ERP system, you can automate processes across departments to eliminate bottlenecks and double entry. Workflow automation eliminates unnecessary or repetitive business processes that keep your employees from doing more value adding work.

Collaboration & Insights

  • You need a collaborative platform that supports communication and collaboration by giving retailers and other dealers instant tools to select, configure, price, bid and order your products. Access to accurate & real time data on inventory with options can be done easily.
  • With the right ERP, you can connect financial information across your business with insights into cash flowing through the payables and receivables that will allow you to spot problem areas. You can graphically monitor your current cash inflow and outflow to forecast balances based on multiple scenarios. You can optimize your resources and improve processes,  reduce billing lag times in billing with automated processes.

Why Versa Cloud ERP

We at Versa have created a secure cloud based multi award winning comprehensive ERP solution that is e-commerce ready.  It addresses key issues of distribution management in the most effective manner possible. It is affordable and targeted towards SMB’s.

The Versa Small Business Cloud ERP system supports a comprehensive set of distribution related capabilities in the core ERP modules. This includes the ability to manage inventory across multiple locations and systems including e-Commerce and POS systems, drop-shipping, paperless receiving, and easy cycle counting.

Additional capabilities are available for more sophisticated distribution support processes like scanner and mobile device based pick/pack/pay/ship processes as well as industry specific capabilities like DSCSA product tracing capabilities required in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Reference and recommended further reading:  10 Ways distribution companies can improve efficiency & inventory control: How forward looking ERP ends the guessing- Guide by Logan Consulting