When a Fortune 1000 company is able to access 10-percent more data, they earn an additional income of $65.7 million on average, according to an infographic at CloudTweaks.com. But many small and mid-sized businesses lack the resources to tap into their data with meaningful results.
Distributors in particular stand to benefit from meaningful analytics, according to Modern Distribution Management. However, standardizing distribution data and deriving insights from the information is a common strategic challenge among distributors.
“Getting clean, usable data requires an investment in time and people,” said a recent article from Modern Distribution Management. “However, the strategic use of analytics will continue to be a competitive advantage for those who invest in it.”
Growing distributors often get by with a standalone accounting system, manual purchase orders and spreadsheet tracking. Juggling multiple locations on multiple systems creates data clutter and inaccuracies and causes bottlenecks in billing and other critical processes.
The good news is, the cloud has enabled even the smallest distributors to access distribution management software with simple to use data tools. Because maintenance and management is worked in to the software-as-a-service subscription, the end user can gain enterprise level software without growing their IT department. If you are considering a new distribution software system, here are a few software requirements for standardizing distribution data.
Manually creating and tracking purchase orders is not only time consuming, it increases the risk of error and inconsistencies between systems. This can create friction with customers. When purchase orders are easily created, approved, accrued and received within a single system across the organization you get improved customer services and up-to-the-minute financial insight. The best solutions will also offer automated transaction processing and payment adjustments.
Connect financials and billing to supply chain and inventory management. With standardized data on a single system with efficiency tools like barcoding and layout optimization, distributors stand to shrink inventories while improving turnover. LIFO, FIFO and Weighted Average will no longer be a mystery with real-time inventory tracking that spans the organization.
For distributors who have expanded locations and are running multiple instances of multiple software solutions it is possible to gain real-time visibility into all your inventory locations. With the right system in place, distributors can easily achieve enterprise-wide tracking. Simplify transferring or ordering items per location with visibility across warehouse locations (either physical or virtual), product lines and inventory status on one system.
Microsoft Office Integration
Microsoft Office applications like Excel and Outlook are widely used in the distribution industry. Reporting is made easy when an accounting and distribution software suite is able to deliver simple lists that can be exported via Excel for further analysis. A connection in the cloud with Office 365 and a financial and inventory system enables distributors to eliminate substantial redundancies in their reporting processes
Distributors will benefit greatly from data integration tools that allow for system validation of data. With integration between their software system and their website, distributors can eliminate the manual process of entering data from other systems while cutting data entry errors and improving real-time accuracy and reliability.