Small-to-medium-sized distribution businesses (SMBs) often struggled with software in the past. They either didn’t have the right applications or couldn’t afford them. They might have lacked the personnel to maintain systems. Or, they had obsolete software that would have been painful to replace. These problems are less operative today. Now, SMB distribution companies can avail themselves of cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for distribution.
Modern Distribution ERP Solutions
A modern ERP solution for distribution, such as Acumatica Distribution Edition, comprises a collection of separate software programs. It has applications that handle inventory management, sales orders, purchase orders, requisitions and warehouse management. And, because it’s part of an ERP, it also connects to accounting and financial management. It can further integrate with optional modules for sales management, order management, HR, manufacturing operations and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Keeping the Main Distribution Business Goals in Focus
The features available in distribution ERP can be intriguing to the point of being distracting. For instance, mobility is a fascinating area of functionality—but maybe not for your business. If your people don’t need mobility, ignore it. Instead, keep your focus on what matters to every distributing company, which is cash flow. Distribution is all about cash management. New ERP tools can make you better at it by improving processes around order management, procurement, inventory and the like.
Highlights of Modern Distribution ERP for SMBs
SMB distribution businesses have distinct ERP needs. They are different from big distributors in a variety of ways that affect their software requirements. For example, SMBs may have people performing multiple roles. The warehouse manager might also be in charge of procurement. Customer service representatives might get involved in managing inventory, and so forth. Business processes tend to be simpler. SMBs do not need every bell and whistle. Rather, they need distribution ERP that can be adapted to their more streamlined use cases. With that in mind, here are five highlights of distribution ERP solutions that are relevant to SMBs:
- Improving customer satisfaction while cutting costs—A modern distribution ERP for SMBs enables efficient management of distribution processes at the scale of an SMB operation. You get real time visibility into available inventory and inventory costs. Knowing what you have in stock helps lower inventory carrying costs and operating costs. It also enables accurate communication with customers about the status of their orders.
- Reducing order-to-cash times—Automated sales order processing eliminates delays in SMB order fulfillment. Distribution ERP solutions also enable you establish rules covering credit, returns and so forth.
- Running an efficient warehouse—A well-run warehouse translates into SMB profitability. Acumatica offers SMBs a Warehouse Management System (WMS) to streamline your distribution processes. The system covers receiving and inventory workflows and connects to portable barcode scanners.
- Staying on top of vendors—Modern distribution ERP automates and optimizes the purchasing processes in SMB style, with efficient workflows for small teams.
- Knowing your true costs—SMBs can use new ERP distribution solutions to determine profitability by product line or warehouse. With SMB-appropriate reporting and data visualization tools, you can spot cost overages and other factors affecting profitability that may not show up on routine financial reports.
These are compelling reasons to consider distribution ERP for an SMB. Implementing an ERP system can take some effort, especially if the process involves replacing a legacy system. We can help. We have worked with many SMB distribution businesses on the implementation of ERP solutions. If you want to learn more, contact us for a free consultation and demo of Acumatica Distribution Edition.