For goods and services to successfully move from Point A (the warehouse or storehouse where the product is assembled) to Point B (the local store from where the buyer purchased the product), the process and stages require proper coordination of many moving parts, includes the buyer, third-party companies and seller.
And for distributors, streamlining those various components — while at the same time handling high volumes of stock — is a crucial procedure for the entire operation’s infrastructure.
Moreover, up-to-the-minute communications with the suppliers, shippers, contractors, and other businesses involved, this type of process and operation also demand the meticulous orchestration of all activities which are relevant to fulfilling customer orders.
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Such an accomplishment is not an easy feat to achieve, which is why Distributor Management System software platforms are proving so valuable to firms in the distribution industry.
A system that oversees the series of actions that constitutes distribution shall prove advantageous not only in its ability to better unify the disparate tasks and parties but also because it observes end-to-end competency and it also offers the power to zoom out beyond the daily tasks and routine.
Distribution software provides a business with a centralized, strong, framework through which to regulate the flow of activities and procure more command over operating costs.
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What are the Key Points to Look for in Your Distribution Software
Distributors require a unique set of modules and tools to be able to effectively oversee their work progress, which may make selecting a distributor management system software platform all the more difficult.
While manufacturing software vendors and many ERPs offer solutions that shall address some of a distribution firm’s needs, stick with those that provide these platforms tailored to distributors. And when shopping for a solution, ask yourself which criteria are the most vital to your business:
- Does your company consider advanced customization a priority?
- Is your manufacturing vendor or ERP offer a distribution solution?
- Does price a top concern?
- How climbable must the distribution system be?
- Is at other systems the distribution software needs to amalgamate with?
Likewise, your company should also evaluate potential software platforms for their core components. A system without the following core components will be less effective at addressing the unique challenges your firm would face. Let’s take a closer view at those six important and key features of distribution software.
A distribution management system (DMS) would do more than arrange various continuing activities — DMS should also record and interpret information from those activities, presented to system users as actionable insight. Advanced reporting and analysis shall prove essential to your distribution business, making unorganized data into useful statistics and information on overall performance, productivity and reporting.
Look for forecasting tools and demand planning when your company evaluates analytical capabilities, as these shall allow your company to best predict and monitor the supply-demand balance. Using historical data your company can predict optimal inventory level, forecasting, and planning functions help your company implement smarter business practices that ensure long-term profit gains and identify superfluous overhead costs.
2. ORDER MANAGEMENT
A distributor’s bread and butter are its client’s orders — yet improper management of orders may cause a major and drastic headache for the managers. Today’s order management modules collect all order data, including orders submitted via eCommerce sites, and input it into a single catalog for easy review.
The software should also offer the ability to log all customer data relevant to the order, creating detailed customer profiles for future reference.
The best order management tool will not only process and monitor order statuses but also enable distributors to create and track bids and quotes.
3. SUPPLIER MANAGEMENT
Only with the help of all the parties involved will every packaged item be ordered, inventoried, and then will be relocated or transported to the correct location in a timely and proper manner. Supplier management will also enable your company to interact in real-time with all the pertinent parties — third-party shipping companies and even external partners.
Large distributors handling high-amount and high-volume orders and operating various and multiple facilities will find a supplier management function of the greatest value to better communication between companies and locations.
4. INVENTORY CONTROL
If your firm frequently experiences under or over-stocked shelves or a lag in outbound or inbound shipments, it is likely that your existing methods for overseeing inventory are not working. Proper and efficient inventory control must extend beyond the limits of tracking stock and shipments to record log transfers, returns, and replenishments and input stock reservations or adjustments.
Many distribution systems’ inventory control strategy work in conjunction with warehouse management to supervise all the procedures relating to existing inventory. Coupled with warehouse management, inventory control gives your company a comprehensive view of all asset movement — ensuring managers have access to exact inventory data and numbers.
Seamless integration is very important to distributors, enabling your company to easily connect your ERP, accounting, and sales tools with less disruption to business processes.
Assess potential distribution solutions based on their ability to effortlessly connect with any existing platforms your company is running on, as it can be far tougher to successfully implement a new system if it lacks the capacity to fully link with system software already in use.
Some vendors may also provide API support, which your company will use to customize your integrations with any third-party applications. Consider looking for this function while shopping if your company anticipates needing to custom-configure your various software platforms.
6. FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT
A distributor should maintain full control of the firm’s expenses and clients’ order payments in order to ensure that overall operating income and spending will be calculated correctly.
Purchasing and procurement tools and systems will increase control over inventory operational costs, enabling managers to concurrently check stock levels and review budgets for acquiring new assets.
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Billing capabilities and Invoicing are other important components of the fiscal management tools available to distributors, contemporize changes to customer orders with automated invoice generation and notifications.
Using DMS systems effectively within a company ensures that total information about your company and knowledge is safe, accessible, and accurate. With that comfort and having safety knowledge about the same, employees will feel more apt to reduce paper and do fully rely on the DMS system. It is one of the vital steps to becoming a paperless office.