[geot_dropdown regions="jcurve-coverage" flags="yes" current]
[geot_dropdown regions="jcurve-coverage" flags="yes" current]

Why you can’t survive the future without a small business ERP

The wholesale distribution industry is changing rapidly. Here's how a cloud ERP solution can help your survive - and thrive.

The wholesale distribution industry is at a crossroads.

The introduction of disruptive technologies and an ever-changing business landscape means many wholesale distributors are constantly scrambling to catch up.

To survive – and thrive – business owners need to adapt to quickly evolving trends such as:

  • real-time demand management
  • decentralized distribution
  • cross company transparency
  • increased collaboration
  • automation. 

The rise of cloud ERPs

Successful wholesale distribution businesses are leveraging big data; conducting modern, omni-channel operations and making informed inventory and financial decisions based on real-time data that’s available at a glance.

Businesses which have adopted integrated cloud technologies are already ahead of the pack. They’re seeing exponential growth thanks to transparency and increased access to their business data; whenever and wherever they need it.

Big data reporting made easy with small business ERP software

One of the most common problems facing wholesale distributors is the lack of data and analysis in important areas such as customer details, inventory movement trends and sales performance results.

This prevents companies from identifying and taking advantage of key gaps and opportunities. It’s often a result of small businesses not having the time or resources to implement the best processes, not having up-to-date IT systems to run the business, or the ability to monitor business performance in real time.

But this problem can be easily fixed. By spending a little time listing out the most useful data and the benefits that could be gained from having it at your fingertips. For example, do you need to know more about your customer demographics or what they’re purchasing in order to target your marketing campaigns more effectively? Maybe you’re wanting to understand which products are the most profitable or see which have the fastest stock turnaround times.

It’s the age of big data and it can be overwhelming, but what really drives excellent business intelligence is being able to relate different data sets to each other.

You might want to see which of your customers, who purchase a particular product, live within certain geographic areas, or perhaps you may want to see the result on sales after your last email marketing campaign. Tying all of this data together to see the trends will help your business better understand your customers, anticipate their next moves and know what’s affecting your sales.

The incorporation of a cloud based business software solution (eg cloud ERP) which efficiently collates the data and allows for powerful, personalized real-time reporting can help make all of this a reality.

Use ERP software to track stock movement

Understanding the movement of your stock, how much is currently in your warehouse and the seasonal peaks and troughs of individual products, is one of the biggest issues facing wholesale distributors.

The incorporation of small business ERP software can provide a solution. Once you have audited your current stock and have an accurate baseline of your raw materials, components, kits, assemblies and finished goods, you can utilize your real-time inventory and automated reporting to fully understand your distribution patterns.

This will provide you with the clarity and insight to know which stock is flying off the shelf and in-turn, allow you to increase ordering or manufacturing levels. Conversely, it can also show you which products need a ‘shake-up’ to get them out the door. It’s the stock that’s not moving which can cost you serious money in depreciating values and the cost of storage space, when you could be using that storage for more profitable, fast-moving items.

You’ll also be able to set up automatic re-ordering points and minimum stock levels to take the effort out of manual processing and reduce the chance of stock outages and human error.

Get a better B2B buying experience with a cloud ERP solution

With increased competition from online channels, both domestically and abroad, there has been a shift in consumer buying patterns that have forced retail partners to transform. Research shows that when customers can’t find what they are after on a website, they simply and quickly move to a competitor’s site.

As a wholesale distributor, you can learn from your retail counterparts and understand that your customers are also looking for the convenience of being able to purchase from their desktops, laptops, mobiles and other web connected devices.

Many wholesale customers are still being forced to phone, email or dare we even say it, fax orders through, or simply just wait for their local sales rep to pay them a visit.

The evolution of wholesale buyer behavior requires a change of thinking in the overall sales approach.

To survive, wholesale distributors should develop an omni-channel strategy.

The incorporation of eCommerce “self-service” portals that can accommodate the complexities of B2B purchasing, as well as native mobile applications, will allow buyers to place orders anywhere, anytime, on any device. This self-service, a standard part of a good cloud ERP, will also make routine reorders faster and more cost effective to process.

Create an awesome customer experience

Competition in the marketplace is tougher than ever, where selling a great product doesn’t automatically equal business success.

To survive, you need to create outstanding customer experiences. These includes aspects such as setting up break / quantity pricing or specific customer pricing, to ensure they see the best price the first time, every time. Good small business ERP software can help you with that.

Not unlike those in retail, wholesale distributors need to maintain strong customer relationships and give their customers a compelling reason to come back.

A good omni-channel approach not only provides a great experience for customers, but can also improve company branding and perception.

For further information about building a compelling customer experience through your eCommerce channel, have a read of our blog The Art of Growing Your eCommerce Sales in 2016.

Expand your potential to the exponential

The evolution of a once ‘local’ marketplace to a global one, is now allowing the wholesale distribution industry to harness international expansion with simple communication and sales techniques, maximizing opportunities across every corner of the world.

Audio Fly, for example, are an award-winning innovator of premium headphones who understood that their start-up company required a full-capability small business cloud ERP package from day one; and as a result of implementing the right solution for their business, saw global success within a few years of the company’s launch.

Managing the internal business ramifications of international sales is all the more complicated without the right business management system in place.

Any wholesale distribution businesses looking towards the global market should think about a cloud-based ERP system that offers multiple currency and language tools to assist in the management of international sales from within the one, integrated system.

Conclusion: the future is in the cloud

To prepare your business for the future, it’s essential that you shift the focus away from the day-to-day operations and administration processes to refocus onto the strategic management of the business.

Consider cloud technologies and a unified business management system. This will help you build the long term vision for your business and create robust plans for sustainable long term operations.

Want to find out how a small business ERP can future proof your wholesale distribution business? Talk to one of our consultants.

Latest Articles