Wholesale distribution companies today are facing a complex and uncertain world. Where once there was simplicity of process, distributors must now fashion an interactive, easy-to-use and functional order management system. Due to these pressures, wholesale distributors are beginning to realize the benefits of cloud distribution software, according to an article on the Industrial Distribution website.
“Customer expect omnichannel bi-directional interactions, automated transactions, history and preferences with real-time visibility into stock availability not just on a desktop, but over tablets and smartphones too,” the article explains.
Not meeting that demand is likely to result in distributors losing customer confidence and loyalty. However, distributors that are able to stay ahead of these changes stand to gain a great deal of new business as customers abandon their inefficient and unresponsive vendors in search of a distributor that meets and exceeds expectations.
In-depth business intelligence is also a key factor to success for wholesale distributors. Having the ability to track distribution and support costs per customer allows decision-makers the necessary information to make the best choices about pricing and logistics. Since cloud distribution software houses all data in one database, visibility is no longer a problem, as it often is with legacy on-premises solutions.
“Strengthening your analytic prowess generates data-driven insights for informed tactical decisions as well as strategic direction, such as adopting a consignment model in certain sectors,” the article notes.
Finally, demand planning is an essential step to cutting costs and increasing efficiency. By avoiding emergency replenishment, wholesale distributors have the power to improve their productivity and prevent setbacks caused by seasonality and unstable market conditions.
Trying to achieve these goals with costly on-premises software is difficult if not impossible, the Industrial Distribution article explains. Fragmented databases and siloed information cause low visibility. Only with cloud distribution software is everyone involved able to view the same, up-to-date information.
“Unfortunately, many wholesale distributors are still relying on outdated technology. According to a 2013 study by the industry research firm Mint Jutras, 53 percent of wholesale distributors seeking to replace their financial systems are doing so because of outdated technology. Another 45 percent cited seeking lower total cost of ownership as their motivation,” the article reports.
Distributors must realize that having one database to run their e-commerce site, financial and sales analysis, inventory management, and sales force automation is the only solution in this environment of omnichannel demand. Cloud distribution software is the way to reach that solution.
Source: Industrial Distribution, February 2014