Day to day demands will often distract Distributors from realizing how inefficient their outdated ERP has become. Every time you create a process outside your ERP solution, you may be losing the battle to gain more customers and prospects.
The pain of operating on old technology and unconnected data systems may be hurting you more than you know. It is not only creating manual workarounds that are error-prone; it is also affecting how your customers perceive you, and getting in the way of acquiring new business.
I recently looked at a customer’s ERP system that should have been retired a long time ago. The navigation was not intuitive, and multiple screens were confusing. There was no easy way to get orders into the back office accounting from the ecommerce site. If I wanted to look closer at a transaction, I had to jump to different modules instead of just clicking a button and seeing all the data behind the numbers.
Sometimes you are so used to doing things the hard way, that you don’t even know there is an easier way. For example, when tracking down the shipping costs for an inventory item. With a modern system, you could click on the total, and see all the landed costs incurred to get the item into your inventory. For a distributor with tight margins, knowing your true real-time costs is critical to offering a pricing strategy that makes a profit. In an older system without this capability, you lose sight of just how much your items cost - and don’t even see it until after month-end when it is too late.
A picture is worth a thousand words; we’ve all heard this adage. That’s why graphical representations of your most important key performance indicators should alert you so you can take action. Exception-based data management means let’s only look at what needs attention, so you don’t waste time on what’s already working.
I toured a distributor warehouse recently and noticed that there were big screen displays scattered throughout the building, so everyone, from the warehouse pickers to the receivers and purchasers knew what was happening in real-time. Their goals were visible, and alerts were flashing if a sales order triggered an “Out of Stock” notification. Managers knew when to intervene to keep operations running smoothly.
As in any addiction, the first step to recovery from old technology is admitting you have a problem. The next step is to evaluate how you can add the most important technology elements and drive more business into your ecommerce carts and, ultimately, your bottom line.
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Business Management International (BMI) is all about bringing business technology to distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. www.bmiusa.com.