Software that drives sales and manages inventory

Which software is best suited for small, medium or large businesses?

Fucci — Small and medium-sized businesses benefit the most from ERP software, especially those with built-in CRM. Typically, employees of these companies wear many hats and need to have immediate knowledge of customer histories and product process workflows. Industry-specific ERP software optimizes performance and provides insight into sales, trends and areas for improvement.

Master — Comprehensive ERP software benefits businesses of all sizes. Any company considering ERP software needs to thoroughly review its internal processes and find the solution that best solves its current problems while paving the way towards its future goals. For example, a distributor intending to open an e-commerce store should consider solutions that also provide an integrated e-commerce package.

With this in mind, businesses can begin the process of “apples to apples” comparison when it comes to ERP software and vendors. Particular attention should be given to the overall investment in the solution, which will vary depending on the ERP solution, the number of users planned, the deployment (Cloud servers versus on-premises servers requiring specific hardware and IT support ), etc The ERP software vendor will help clarify the investment picture once they understand the true needs of a business.

way — A distributor’s software should include processes that support all key areas of the business: sales, purchasing, operations, delivery, accounting and, of course, executives. Most ERP platforms effectively manage these areas, but how this management occurs is important. Does the ERP work in real time? This is essential when dealing with customers and providing details about stock levels and shipping information. Since CRM primarily focuses on the customer relationship itself, it may lack effective processes for managing supply chain, operations, and other areas.

Hestenes — Finding industry-specific ERP and CRM systems is more important than distributor size. The way we handle size is with option flags only. All STEP1 customers have the system that can handle distributors over $50 million, but a $3 million distributor does not need large-scale features such as multiple branches and/or distribution centers.

Kate Fucci
Marketing director
DDI system
Sand Hook, Connecticut

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Chris Master
Marketing Coordinator
Breakdown one
Mount Laurel, New Jersey

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Randy Lane
National Sales Manager
Commercial PIC systems
San Antonio, TX

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Bob Hestenes
Step1 Software Solutions
Newbury Park, California

How can software help track inventory and ultimately help sales?

Fucci — That’s an excellent question. Inventory management tools built right into your ERP distribution software eliminate the need for manual spreadsheet management and provide a much more accurate view of your business at all times. An ERP that evaluates historical sales data for every product in every warehouse and categorizes products into different types of demand, keeps high-demand products on the shelves, increases order fulfillment rates, and streamlines multi-stock levels. -Site (s. The right products are available when needed.

way — Sales needs access to accurate, up-to-the-second stock information and ERP also needs to support efficient processes for non-stock and drop-ship sales. When dealing with customers, salespeople often make delivery commitments. Then operations and delivery must track and deliver the service and quantities that have been committed.

The best way to do this is to use barcodes on all products. Handheld scanners accurately count and receive products as they arrive from vendors. These same scanners move products to a rack or bulk location and the system records the information, ideally using the employee’s name, date, location and quantity. Continuous cycle counting with scanners can completely count a 100,000 square foot warehouse every 60 days. Then the scanners are used to pick, pack and ship the products, or load a truck for delivery. These processes, combined, should allow distribution customers to achieve a service level of 99.9% on products and delivery times.

Hestenes — Industry specific ERP systems are very good at adding inventory as it is purchased and subtracting it as it is sold. But more importantly, it also tracks and manages inventory flow. When demand increases or decreases for an item, the software must be able to adapt accordingly. Sales benefit when fill rates for normally stocked items are there to fill orders.

The supply chain continues to pose challenges. How can distributors use software to properly track backorders and allocate products appropriately to customers who have been waiting the longest?

Fucci — ERP systems with features such as “automatic back order release” intuitively allocate inventory as goods arrive at the warehouse, enabling cross-docking and immediate order fulfillment based on first come, first served principle. The system automatically checks current merchandise levels against orders with out-of-stock products and prints pick slips for all items ready to ship. Many systems with this feature allow sellers to track their open back orders and receive email notifications when inventory becomes available, allowing them to relay relevant information to customers.

way — Stock-outs are part of the reality of distribution, they happen. The supply staff work hard to maintain their stock levels, always pushing for a 100% fill rate. When products are out of stock for a customer, a good ERP should allow each customer record to automatically dictate whether the product should be out of stock or cancelled. In case of out of stock, the ERP should place the item in an out of stock queue where, by default, customer out of stock orders are filled with the product that arrives, serving the orders oldest first. The ERP should also allow you to override this allocation process for items they classify as “hot” (such as masks, sanitizer, disinfectant, etc.) so that you can manually allocate and decide which customer receives how much. In-stock items should also be capable of carrying a classification of Stock, Special Order, or Direct Only to better inform sales.

Hestenes — Most ERP systems handle this. STEP1 added extra functionality when the pandemic hit to not only see who’s been waiting the longest, but also what sector they’re in. At the time, distributors wanted to prioritize filling first responders before others.

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