If you’re a wholesale distributor or managing supply chains, there’s some key challenges to overcome when experiencing bouts of growth. A sudden increase in demand, means more invoices, more orders and most likely a whole lot more admin. So if you have a product that’s suddenly on everybody’s mind, like furniture for home offices, updated IT equipment or weights for home workouts, making sure you get a handle on your supply chain is critical to keep up.
With the right tech you’ll be able to manage growth more effectively. Stay on top of shifting customer demands, get a clear view over your inventory, reduce lead time and overcome uncertain supply. Here’s 5 top ways that ERP tech can help you manage your distribution business.
Forget the add ons. Bring everything into one hub.
When you start out, basic accounting software is often all you need. But as operations grow and processes expand, you suddenly require extra functionality. You go from one software, to managing multiple. You’re now dealing with a bunch of app add-ons. And re-entering inventory details, consolidating transactions and checking data can be time consuming and is prone to human error.
Many inventory-based businesses managing multiple locations, multiple companies and overseas imports are making the move to software that brings all of these functions in the one place. By moving to software that has everything in one hub, you won't need to jump between systems or manage multiple connections. Processes are sped up and operations are smoother. Pricing is clear and you can get a clear view of your business.
With everything in one hub, you can easily analyse your stock levels, inventory and market trends. And compare these against customer insights and purchase history to better inform your strategies. With a clear view of what’s profitable and what’s not, you can identify opportunities to reduce costs, grow profits and expand your customer base.
Get real-time updates to keep your customers happy.
So your product is in demand. Good. But your warehouse is not ready for a surge in orders. You’re finding it hard to identify where your stock is, both in your warehouse and 3PL warehouses. You’re unsure about delivery times and are struggling to let customers know where their orders are.
Knowing how much stock you have and where it is one the biggest challenges for any supply chain business. With the right tech, you can immediately see where an order is, what stock you have and how much you have left of it in each location. So you can fulfil orders promptly and keep customers happy.
One thing our customers love about Wiise is that it connects with Microsoft Office 365. With seamless integration with tools like Outlook, staff can see customers information, orders, invoices straight from their emails. They’re able to let customers know in real time when their shipment is arriving or how long it might take – without having to leave their email.
Real-time analytics allow you to quickly respond to changing business conditions such as a sudden increase in demand. You can advise your customers of any hold ups in delivery. And forecast if you’re likely to have an over or under supply. Knowing the location and volume of your inventory lets you fine tune your purchasing decisions and deliver in full, on time. On top of this, drop shipment can help you keep track of your goods, so you can let your customers know exactly when they’ll will receive their items.
Cut back the paperwork. Automate your inventory management.
If you’re growing fast and relying on Excel spreadsheets and manual notes, not only is this a time waster, but it can cause mistakes that impact on the bottom line. With staff re-keying information numerous times, the likelihood of mismatches between your record systems can increase.
If you’re not using software that lets you manage your inventory anytime, anywhere with remote access, it’s hard to capture your stock levels in real-time. So tracking inventory levels is time consuming and consolidation is costly which can lead to poor customer service.
With automated processes you can strengthen your business. Approval workflows can increase control and compliance. And connecting all areas of your company to a cloud-based solution means your entire team can work from one true source of data – anywhere, anytime.
With better insight into your costs and margins, your team can work seamlessly, connecting and speeding up operations across the whole company. So instead of spreadsheets and separate systems, automated processes mean your data is up to date, accessible to everyone in one place.
Know the true cost of imported goods and stock costs
Not being able to account for the full cost of imported goods can be a big headache. Even harder if you’re trying to keep up with ever-changing foreign exchange rates, have multiple currencies and multiple locations or warehouses to manage. If you can’t account for fees and shipping costs, it doesn’t take much for your budget to blow out.
A system that can calculate your landed cost means you’ll be able to see how much your inventory actually costs. This will help you streamline your ordering, keep inventory lean and plan ahead confidently.
Prepare for scale up and scale down
One thing that the current situation has taught us is how technology can help us plan ahead. Many businesses are now moving off server-based systems to a cloud-based system but can also scale up or down with them.
Having to change your business systems multiple times or pay for software when demand grows is frustrating. It’s a decision that you probably want to make once and not have to revisit for many years. Accounting software will max out eventually, due to transaction volumes or capability.
If you’re using a subscription-based business system, you can easily scale up and down your usage as it’s based on a per user per month price. But be careful: most software providers charge you a full annual cost which increases year on year. And you can get stuck with a fixed operations cost that takes time to change.
It’s time to get Wiise
Don’t struggle with a sudden increase in demand – let us help you to embrace it. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.