Supply Chains Under Stress: Best practices to manage your inventory

Webcast: Supply Chains Under Stress: Best practices to manage your inventory (recorded webcast)

By | Distribution / Supply Chain, Events, Recorded webcasts | No Comments

Supply chain disruptions have been a huge challenge so far in 2020. To manage this volatile time, businesses need to implement warehouse best practices with their people, their processes, and their technology.

In our webcast, we joined up with Russ Graf from NETSTOCK for a special session on what distributors, manufacturers, and retailers can do right now to weather the storm. We’ll look at how to optimize supply chain operations and mitigate risks, including useful tips and perspectives that you can use right away.

Here are some key points that we covered:

  • What we learned from the supply chain shocks caused by Covid-19
  • The disruptions that regularly affect supply chains
  • How to leverage communication and process to deal with disruptions
  • Deep dive into inventory replenishment and demand forecasting
  • Best practices to implement to secure your supply chain operations

Helpful resources

Contact us

Warehouse worker walking down an aisle.

How Acumatica helps manage distribution

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Warehouse with worker walking down hallway.

Gain real-time insights into your warehouse, sales and inventory with Acumatica’s Distribution ERP software.

Wholesalers and distributors need Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to help them reduce risk and provide real-time intelligence on key performance indicators (KPIs). Data in real-time means better decisions on distribution management, inventory control, order processing, order management, and stock forecasting.

Learn more about how Acumatica data-driven insights help distribution businesses.

Common challenges in distribution

Distributors industry rel on customers needing a steady flow of products. Yet unpredictable changes in B2C or B2B demand can leave distributors with excess or insufficient inventory.

Supply chain management is another challenge for many in the distribution business. Automation is critical for modern supply chain wholesalers and distributors that need real-time alerts for better ordering and warehouse management.

Distribution relies on speed, so optimizing picking, labeling, compliance, order processing, and shipping are key areas where better efficiency means improved profit margins.

These challenges are why distributors need a top-notch ERP distribution system that can help them manage their supply chain and logistics. Ideally, your ERP application should include inventory management, order management, fleet management, order processing, shipping, and integration with CRM and business intelligence.

Man in a business suit in a warehouse using his tablet.

Learn what’s in your warehouses at any time with warehouse and inventory management tools from Acumatica.

Choose Acumatica to manage your distribution

Acumatica Cloud ERP – Distribution Edition is built to help you manage your logistics and supply chain, improve customer satisfaction, reduce order times, and control costs. The Distribution Edition is cloud-based and fully integrated with manufacturing, field service, project accounting, and Acumatica CRM. The Distribution Edition includes:

  • Warehouse management
  • Advanced inventory management
  • Requisition management
  • Sales order management
  • Order processing
  • Purchase order management
  • Advanced financials

Here’s how Acumatica – Distribution Edition can help your business.

  • Key Performance Indicators. Most businesses use common KPIs such as cash flow, sales, and margins to measure performance at a point in time. Acumatica – Distribution Edition includes dashboards and reports with KPIs that matter to distributors, including inventory turnover ratio for high- and low-turnover items, on-time shipping ratio, and profitability by item.
  • Warehouse Management. Use barcode scanners and customized workflows to automate core warehouse functions, including picking, packaging, purchase order receiving, reshelving, transferring, and counting. Workers can use preprinted smart scan sheets for hands-free operations while lot and serial number tracking reduce mistakes.
  • Inventory Management. Acumatica helps you know what’s in your warehouse at any moment. With Inventory Management, you can segment inventory by class, know product availability across multiple warehouses, highlight out-of-date stock, and set reorder points. Use multiple valuation methods to manage costs accurately across multiple locations.
  • Sales Order Management. Integrate your sales workflows with automation tools that save time and improve customer experiences. With Sales Order Management, you can set up status change alerts and predefine order types with inventory allocation rules for better workflows, order processing, and document management. You can also set up volumes, quantity discounts, and preferred pricing for individual customers.
  • Requisition Management. Eliminate paperwork with automation software that streamlines complex purchasing processes, including sales quotes, approvals, and vendor bidding.

Acumatica – Distribution Edition is designed to solve your most significant business challenges. NexTec Group is a gold-certified Acumatica partner and has deep experience in ERP implementation. If you are a wholesaler, distributor, or manufacturer, we can help you streamline your distribution processes and get up and running with Acumatica. Learn how to manage your distribution business in the Cloud today. Manage your business in the cloudAdditional distribution resources

Distribution: Key metrics/KPIs for distribution

ERP and Business Intelligence in the distribution industry

Multi-warehouse woes: challenges in maintaining visibility

Warehouse worker taking note of supplies.

4 ways ERP improves productivity for distributors and wholesalers

By | Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Worker looking at supplies on shelves.

How can ERP promote productivity for distributors?

With the supply chain turned on its head, many distributors are trying to find ways to go back to business as usual, but longer, unpredictable delivery times slow down incoming shipments and the entire process of receiving, organizing, and distributing goods to clients.

The challenges are multiplied by a complex supplier network, each supplier facing its own unique challenges with their supply chains.

There isn’t much that distributors can do about playing the waiting game with suppliers. But the good news is that distributors can find cost-savings internally. Now is the time to streamline efficiencies in inventory tracking, order fulfillment, and labor management.

Let’s explore a few of the productivity-boosting benefits of ERP that can help distributors compensate for supply chain delays.

Take control of inventory and ordering

With a modern ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, distributors can keep track of inventory in real-time and make smarter ordering decisions. You can set low-level alerts that notify you when it’s time to reorder so you can get ahead of the game and keep your clients’ most in-demand products in stock. A top-notch ERP can also help you prevent over-ordering that takes up valuable warehouse space for products you don’t need.

Reduce delays in order fulfillment

ERP systems can automate order fulfillment activities that were once performed manually to save time and money and prevent costly errors. From processing orders to invoicing customers, companies can set up their own rules to manage everything from credits and returns, drop shipping, and even orders that involve multiple warehouses.

Shipping boxes on belts.

Time is essential in maintaining customer satisfaction.

Automate processes and save money

ERP helps distributors automate tasks and eliminates some of the manual activities performed in a distribution warehouse, which can reduce labor costs. ERP’s real-time data access can further minimize redundancy, ensuring each employee is focused on value-adding activities and not handling tasks that have already been completed. Automation also frees up labor hours so your staff can focus on higher-level tasks.

Unify systems for growth and innovation

One of ERP’s inherent benefits is uniting various business systems and functions that once operated in silos. For example, accounting, inventory, operations, and supplier management can be integrated into a single platform that gives you a holistic view of your operations. You can see the data in real-time and learn what you can do to get more efficiency out of your distribution process and maximize profit and productivity.

How Acumatica and NexTec is bringing productivity back to wholesale distribution

Acumatica Cloud ERP – Distribution Edition streamlines your distribution processes and helps manage inventory levels, sales ordering, pricing, shipping, sourcing, and billing. All your information is in one secure location. Because it lives in the Cloud, Acumatica gives you and your team anytime, anywhere access from any device to ensure flexibility, efficiency, and continuity of operations. With accurate, real-time data at your fingertips, issues can be identified early and addressed quickly.

As a gold-certified Acumatica implementation partner, NexTec Group can get your distribution or wholesale business up and running quickly, so that you can be productive and on the road to success, even during a pandemic.

Discover how ERP is closing the gaps in supply chain inefficiency. Take the Acumatica software tour.

Two people in a warehouse.

Managing credit terms with suppliers in your distribution business

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Two people in a warehouse.

Securing trade credit from your suppliers helps your distribution business maintain positive cash flow and great vendor relationships.

Credit management is a sound investment for any business, no matter where they are in the supply chain.

In distribution, offering credit to suppliers gives them financial flexibility to make money, which in turn allows your business to earn more profits. The same goes for your business when seeking credit from your own vendors and suppliers.

Business credit comes with risks and opportunities. It also means having the right distribution business software for managing credit with suppliers in your distribution business as part of a bigger picture in vendor or customer management.

The pros and cons of trade credit

Trade credit is a business-to-business agreement that allows for the purchase of goods and services without paying cash up front. Typically, these agreements allow suppliers to pay 30, 60 or 90 days after an invoice is issued. It’s a way for suppliers to finance purchases on credit by deferring payment, often to account for cash flow variances.

Here are some of the core advantages for distributors:

  • Better Cash Flow. Pay your suppliers after you’ve sold your goods, reducing your risk and allowing you to ride periods of financial instability
  • Ensure Supply. You can reduce the risk of not having a regular supply of goods if demand spikes by conserving cash flow and having access to sought-after goods
  • Better Insights. Suppliers are more likely to provide you with market information on trends related to your products if they are relying on you to pay on future sales
  • Improved Creditworthiness. By demonstrating reliable payback patterns, you raise your creditworthiness with vendors and have good credit references

On the other side, trade credit does carry some risk. Penalties can be steep if you miss repayment times. This can hurt your credit rating down the road. And if cash flow becomes an issue due to declining sales, you can find yourself in a deep hole.

Woman wearing a yellow hard hat and reflective vest while holding a clipboard.

Trade credits can be beneficial to all parties in the distribution business if managed well with the right ERP solution.

Managing distribution trade credits

With Acumatica’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, your accounts payable operation gains access to shared data, customizable tools and integrated management of cash flow and credit. It’s the distribution ERP that helps your business manage money and relationships.

Among the core features in Acumatica’s distribution ERP accounts payable software are solutions that ensure invoices are paid and vendor relationships are strong. It’s all accessible via the cloud and a connected web browser.

Top Acumatica accounts payable features include:

  • Vendor Prepayments
  • Prepaid Expense Recognition
  • Automated Approval and Payment
  • Automated Use Tax, Withholding Tax and VAT Functions
  • Vendor Payment Processing
  • AP Linking of Vendors to Accounts in the General Ledger
  • Currency Management
  • Automated Recurring Bill Generation
  • Vendor Refund Management
  • AP Aging Reports
  • 1099 Reporting
  • Vendor Account Security
  • Audit Trail Management
  • Source Document Management

With advanced automation solutions, Acumatica offers key advantages to your accounts payable business, including:

  • Streamlined Processes. Approve invoices, create process flows and create optimized workflows that reduce reliance on manual operations
  • Optimized Payments. Prevent late fees and leverage vendor discounts with payments that align to your cash flows
  • Error Reduction. Intuitive user screens allow for productive, efficient and accurate data entry

NexTec works with distributors to select, install and optimize business software. Let NexTec help you find the right distribution ERP that keeps cash flows and vendor relations at peak performance levels.

Ready to learn more? Give Acumatica a try.

Unlocking the power of data in distribution: Don’t get buried by an ever-expanding pool of data

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain | No Comments
data in distribution

When distribution data is managed and understood, it can benefit your company, improve your relationships, and facilitate growth. But what goes into making your data work for you?

Winter is here, which for some means snow. Break out the snowplows, shovels, and snow blowers; snow happens, and you can’t just wait for it to melt—at least if you hope to go anywhere.

For distribution firms, snow is bad enough, creating logistical nightmares in its wake. Luckily, snow melts. Unmanaged data, on the other hand, just keeps building up.

Left unchecked, this ever-expanding pool of data can become unwieldly, slowing your business down and hurting your ability to serve customers. As the data stacks up at your business, the competition is heating up outside of it, making it more important than ever to clear up the blind spots, connect the supply chain, and work smarter than ever.

That said, when distribution data is managed and understood, it can benefit your company, improve your relationships, and facilitate growth. But what goes into making your data work for you?

You can’t measure what you can’t see. Common challenges holding distributors back.

For many distribution firms, the first challenge in overcoming their data challenges is to know just how tall the ‘snow pile’ is. Businesses lose sight of inventory and processes for a variety of reasons, but the most likely culprits are manual processes and disconnected systems.

Paper, spreadsheets, and email

Overreliance on paper, spreadsheets, and email isn’t only slow, it creates a blind spot for distribution businesses. For those looking to improve their ability to track data, the first place to look is the file folder. Why? Because you shouldn’t be relying on one.

A surprising amount of businesses still rely on paper-based processes, printing out paperwork for orders and projects, faxing invoices and checks, scanning data into the system, and hoping they can keep track of it all. This presents a variety of problems.

  • First, it’s expensive and time consuming. Those businesses still relying on outdated processes are paying their staff to waste hours every single week completing tasks they shouldn’t be worrying about.
  • Second, it’s inaccurate. Spreadsheets are breeding grounds for errors, and it’s incredibly easy to make a mistake when hand-keying information into a document. One mistake can set off the entire formula.
  • Third, it’s hard to track. Scanning a document into a computer, routing an email to a warehouse, and hoping the right person saw it is just that—a strategy based on hope.

By eliminating paper and spreadsheets and reducing reliance on email for important processes, you can begin to track how data stacks up at your organization and take steps to control it.

The application hairball

Another challenge that businesses face when trying to make sense of the data they have is something that can best be described as an ‘application hairball,’ a mess of separate products that are tangled together—but still disconnected.

For those in the distribution industry, this is often one of the most pressing issues; data from inventory management exists, data from CRM exists, and data from ERP exists—in three separate places. So where do they turn? Back to spreadsheets and emails.

However, those on the leading edge are able to untangle this mess of applications that can’t talk to each other, connect the processes, and facilitate the management. A distribution-focused ERP can make this happen. To manage their supply chain and logistical activities successfully, distributors should consider implementing a true cloud distribution ERP solution, one that is able to handle their warehouse, inventory, and order management processes while simultaneously connecting these activities with their financials and sales.

Getting from disparate to data-driven: How to start using your distribution data.

Once you get rid of the first challenges, the next step is to start making your data work for you. How? It all starts with knowing what to measure and being able to track what’s happening.

Know what to measure

The ability to make sense of the data you’re generating is one thing—knowing the what, why, and how of this information is another. There’s more to your business than revenue, profit and loss, and cash flow, you should be able to understand how this information came to be.

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, exist to answer this, representing a variety of measurements important to a specific industry designed to unlock the true health of a business and uncover previously unknown opportunities or challenges that traditional reporting measures fail to address.

However, not all KPIs are created equal—some metrics matter more than others, some are easier to track, and others are great for predicting where you will stand a year from now. Learn more about tracking KPIs for business growth here.

Improve your understanding

If you’re in the finance department, charts are your friend. What about the people who didn’t spend their college days learning about GAAP? Even if it makes sense to you, present most people with something unstructured and their eyes will glaze over.

However, by structuring data (including the aforementioned KPIs) and presenting it in a way that’s useful for anyone who needs it, your business can work faster and your people can make smarter decisions.

Distributors that turn to dashboards, analytics, and business intelligence (BI) software integrated with an ERP system and other key internal systems are able to unlock the secret value hidden in their data and make wise choices based on what they learn. Reports that used to take hours are now automatically calculated in real time, helping distributors to improve planning, increase profit margins, and enhance customer relationships.

The right ERP solution for your distribution business.

The right ERP solution for distribution is essential. When you pair this with other necessary applications you will have a solution that can put you on a path that allows you to not just survive, but thrive. NexTec Group consultants have been helping distribution companies select and implement ERP, BI and CRM for a quarter century. If you believe 2020 is the year that you truly take control of your supply chain, let’s talk. We’re here to help.

Supply chain

Overcome distribution and supply chain disruptions with ERP analytics

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Man looking at documents on a clipboard.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) data analytics tools resolve supply chain problems quickly.

Supply chain managers face the continuous threat of disruptive actions that can derail operations at any turn. However, when business leaders integrate enterprise resource planning (ERP) data analytics solutions into supply chain management, problems can be identified early on or eliminated.

Uncertainty and supply chain management

Supply chains are, by their very nature, prone to uncertainty. However, your operation can overcome distribution and supply chain disruptions with ERP analytics.

Let’s consider some of the most common challenges faced in supply chain management:

  • Last-minute changes to customer orders
  • Compliance issues with suppliers or their suppliers
  • Unexpected machine input and output variances
  • Inaccurate measures and tracking of inventory
  • Transportation delays
  • Sudden changes in supplier quality
  • Lack of traceability
  • Poor communication and collaboration among suppliers

While headline-making natural disasters or geopolitical issues get the most attention, usually these more mundane but real day-to-day issues cause the most headaches.

The strength of data analytics

Data analytics help predict and preempt the most common supply chain issues. Forward-thinking companies are turning to data analytics to get ahead of supply chain complexity, simplifying processes, using data effectively and transforming operations.

Data analytics have long been a part of supply chain management. The difference today is that more data are available and trackable; companies can do more with the data they have to develop smarter solutions, often in real-time.

Data analytics are generally bundled into one of three types:

  • Descriptive Analytics. These insights use data to illustrate past performance or behavior. It gives your organization a clear and detailed picture of what has happened. It’s the most foundational and basic type of analysis and plays an important role in planning, strategy development, and decision-making.
  • Predictive Analytics. Data that are collected, organized and reported upon in a coherent manner can help managers make better projections for future behavior. For supply chain leaders, these projections can help forecast events that could be disruptive.
  • Prescriptive Analytics. While the first two categories model data, prescriptive analytics go a step further. They start with a corporate goal and use your predictions, along with rules, real constraints and limitations. These analytics will identify disruptions and help to find a solution.

Collectively, analytics programs provide insights from massive data sets, leveraging the Internet of Things, cloud computing, machine learning, and automation to provide a real-time of your supply chain and related business metrics. They offer insights needed for better decisions in the moment of most crucial need.

Supply chain.

Make better supply chain decisions with real-time ERP dashboards and analytics.

Acumatica and business analytics for your supply chain

At Acumatica, data analytics are a critical component of our ERP solutions. Start with a single version of the truth with a unified data collection and reporting system. Use multiple display options that generate reports for key staff based on role, visual dashboards for KPIs and exports to Excel for use with programs like Power BI.

Acumatica data analytics solutions include:

  • Business intelligence and analytics from data collected from Acumatica and external sources
  • Generic Inquiries, which extracts data and allows for multiple reporting and analytics applications
  • Acumatica Reporting, with access to more than 250 standard reports, and report creation and modification capabilities
  • Acumatica Dashboards, customizable by role, department or person

NexTec helps businesses identify, install and optimize the right ERP solution for their unique needs. Our experts help you leverage supply chain data for better solutions completed more quickly.

Get our short guide to BI and what it can do for your business.

Is your distribution business getting the benefits of a true cloud solution?

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
distribution true cloud solution

Seamless integration, improved security, and the ability to incorporate emerging technologies are just a few of the benefits companies are getting with true cloud solutions, leading to increased productivity and higher ROI.

Wholesale distribution is a complicated business. An industry in a constant state of change, companies in the distribution industry need to work faster than ever. Understanding inventory, cash flow, and the market as a whole requires the right information at the right time provided to people who can use it—no matter where they may be.

Distribution firms are turning to the cloud. But is it true cloud?

To make this all happen, distributors of all sizes are turning to cloud business management solutions. Designed to increase visibility, provide anytime and anywhere access, and deliver information in real time, the cloud provides companies with the mobility they need to make fast and well-informed decisions.

However, not all clouds are created equal. As with any technological movement, there are always fakes. Many legacy vendors worked to repurpose their solutions, slap the cloud label on them, and milk a few more years of revenue from their aging product. These fake cloud products are simply legacy applications that are adapted and hosted on the internet, never truly designed to be delivered and used via the cloud.

Unfortunately, this “cloud” is nowhere near as innovative, efficient, or useful, leaving distribution companies who choose it with an unreliable solution that likely costs much more and delivers much less than expected. Whether it’s limited availability, poor integration, or increased complexity, fake cloud products can hold distributors who choose them back, increasing ownership costs and hindering your scalability.

Knowing the difference between true cloud and fake cloud is critical to the long-term success of your software initiatives, and luckily, a new guide was released to help distributors understand.

What do distribution firms get from a true cloud solution?

Seamless integration, improved security, and the ability to incorporate emerging technologies are just a few of the benefits companies are getting with true cloud solutions, leading to increased productivity and higher ROI. Paired with improved visibility into your sales, order management, inventory, purchasing, production and services, and accounting information and the ability to scale, companies who embrace true cloud solutions can reap the rewards for years to come.

The recently released Acumatica guide, True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: How Distributors Can Tell the Difference, explored many of the benefits of true cloud solutions and the additional risks of falling into the fake cloud trap.

So why does the cloud hold so much promise? Simple. It tears down barriers to productivity. How?

  1. Functionality and innovation: Distribution firms have unique needs, and business management solutions need to be customized to meet these needs. The cloud makes it easier for vendors to create a distribution-focused solution and for partners to customize and deliver it—no matter how many SKUs, warehouses, or currencies.
  2. Integration made easy: When you choose the right cloud ERP system, that platform will serve as the hub for all your business applications. Knowing this, it’s imperative that the product can connect to all of them. True cloud products were built with this in mind, making it easier and more affordable to integrate.
  3. Data security made simple: Trying to keep track of the software side and the hardware side was often challenging for companies using on-premises products. Luckily, the cloud has that covered. No good cloud vendor can survive without making and delivering on security promises, and they put huge focus on keeping data locked down.
  4. Delivering what’s new and what’s next: With so much on the horizon for the distribution industry, keeping track of it is hard enough—leveraging it is even harder. Luckily, cloud solutions were built to adapt with the market, helping you control your supply chain and ultimately, improve your bottom line.

The true cloud imperative: How to avoid falling into a faux cloud trap.

So how can you avoid getting trapped by fake clouds? Start by understanding what they are. Fake cloud software occurs when legacy applications are adapted and hosted on the internet, but never truly designed to be delivered and used via the cloud. Often, this means you will need additional products to access it, require hand-coded customization,costly, ineffective integrations, and poor scalability.

Ready to learn more? We invite you to download the entire True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: How Distributors Can Tell the Difference guide to understand:

  • Three reasons mobile devices alone can’t meet the need for real-time information
  • Four ways the cloud can enhance productivity for distribution companies
  • Five reasons legacy applications don’t play well with the internet
  • Eight ways to identify true cloud software for distributors
  • Where to see true cloud software in action

Do you have the right software for distributors and other tools you need to succeed in the age of technology? Download the NexTec Corporate Overview Brochure to learn more about how NexTec can keep the gears moving throughout your organization.

Additional Distribution Resources

Distribution: Key metrics/KPIs for distribution

Distribution: How to control cash flow alongside product flow

How Acumatica data-driven insights help distribution businesses

Overcoming growth challenges in distribution: Preparing for a strong 2020

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
growth challenges distribution industry

Companies in the distribution industry will face a wide variety of challenges meeting the needs of an increasingly savvy and demanding customer base.

Whether you’re adding SKUs, warehouses, or simply looking to grow your customer base and revenue, successfully growing your distribution business in 2020 may seem like a monumental task. An industry readying itself for disruption, increased competition, and calls for transparency, companies in this industry will face a wide variety of challenges meeting the needs of an increasingly savvy and demanding customer base.

The 2020 distribution outlook

Much like other industries, disruption is on the minds of distributors. As technology continues to improve, buyers expect the B2B purchasing experience to become more commoditized and similar to their B2C experiences, and your customers are finding new ways to use data to drive purchase decisions.

Three forces challenging the status quo.

A recent McKinsey article found that the coming year will see an acceleration to disruption coming from three forces—your competition, your customers, and your own supply chain.

Fast-moving digital players eyeing the industry’s trillion-dollar revenue pools have begun to offer more convenience and improved transparency. Paired with this, sophisticated customers armed with new data are demanding deeper discounts and better promotions on more commoditized products.

How to address this: Keep up with your customers and competition.

Transparency, speed, and responsiveness are all imperative to the way you run your business. Whether by thriving in the commoditized environment or by making the shift to provide even more value-add, whichever approach you take needs to be smarter.

With countless customer-SKU combinations and constant margin pressure from manufacturers on one end and customers on the other, it pays to use the right customer data at the right time. The best distributors equip sales staff to act as business partners who can identify customer pain points and co-create business solutions. To make this happen, you need to break down silos and empower your sales staff with the right information at the right time.

The right customer relationship management solution, integrated with your ERP and warehouse management solutions, can go a long way in providing your sales, marketing, and customer service staff with the right information to help customers. Better yet, it can provide your warehouse the ability to fill orders more quickly and ultimately give you more speed if you need to succeed in a commoditized environment. Check out the following resources to learn more:

Finding a way to maintain or increase margins

With increased competition, faster shipping expectations, and continued wage pressure, distributors need to find ways to make sure their products continue to work for them. Your ability to maintain or even increase profit margins in 2020 and beyond will become even more important. Success in the coming decade will rely on your ability to retain customers, replace departing ones, and deliver in a distribution environment that is increasingly transaction focused.

How to address this: Smarter scaling.

There are ways to address this, however. Scale will continue to be an important factor. Scale helps distributors gain purchasing power, create denser delivery routes, optimize warehouse locations, increase coverage of products and sales, and reduce redundancies.

However, knowing how, where, and when to scale is vital. Whether through mergers and acquisitions, focusing on specific products, or expanding your reach, each provides a way to increase margins if approached properly. There are many ways to approach this; an engaged leadership team, well-resourced integration office and functional teams, a rigorous cadence, and careful performance management top the list.

Also imperative to scale? An understanding of your current business. One tool to help you see the bigger picture is through business intelligence. Such a solution can provide better planning and inventory management, increased profit margins, and more control of delivery, accuracy, and customer service. We recently discussed this topic in a blog, ERP and business intelligence in the distribution industry.

New technologies

New data and advances in computing power, data storage, analytics, and mobile platforms are turning industries as varied as music and healthcare upside down. Wholesale distribution is not immune, of course. Predictive and prescriptive analytics are helping the most sophisticated customers and manufacturers use dynamic pricing, predict churn, and optimize workforces and capital.

How to address this: Embrace new technology yourself

While new entrants, current competition, and buyers are leveraging new technology, it’s important to recognize that you’re not excluded from the technological improvements.

Whether it’s in the form of automated warehouse operations to speed up delivery, an investment in the future of autonomous vehicles to replace an increasingly expensive shipping landscape, or software to automate, improve visibility, and increase control, there are many opportunities to stay ahead of the curve in the coming years.

One of the first steps to taking control of your distribution business is to leverage technology that empowers people, provides visibility, and accelerates your business, helping you move faster, identify opportunities for growth, and move on them.

Taking control of your distribution operations with ERP

Finding a flexible, user friendly, and innovative ERP solution can connect your business and help you grow. With the competitive landscape more intense than ever, the right ERP can go a long way in getting your business where you need it to be.

Acumatica provides accurate and timely information, as well as the functionality needed to readily resolve issues and update management and customers. Our modern distribution business software provides true, company-wide inventory data that lets you create proactive, responsive replenishment operations and minimize inventory costs.

As a leading provider of this powerful cloud ERP, NexTec Group can help you implement this software and use it to stand up to the competition in 2020 and beyond. With more than a dozen locations and nearly a quarter of a century of experience in the distribution industry, you will be in good hands. No matter how large you are or complex your needs, we would love to help. Let’s get in touch.

Digital transformation in the distribution industry

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
digital transformation distribution

Your ability to use data will rely on your ability to digitize, gaining the speed, reliability, and control you need to take on advancing competition.

Distribution is a tough business. High levels of competition, shrinking margins, and higher expectations make it easy to feel the pressure. The supply chain is changing and with this, so is the market. And guess what? You’re right in the middle of it.

Remaining competitive in distribution will rely on a variety of tactics and strategies, but if you’re looking to get and stay ahead, you will need to transform your business and find new ways to use data, analytics, and engagement.

For the distribution industry, whose members are already pressured by competition from everyone ranging from traditional competitors to firms including Amazon and Wal-Mart, your ability to use data will rely on your ability to digitize, gaining the speed, reliability, and control you need to take on advancing competition.

What is digital transformation?

One of those phrases that has gotten thrown around a lot in recent years has been the term “digital transformation.” A term that could include anything from going paperless in the office to a complete overhaul of the way your business operates, it all starts with understanding how to apply technology—something we discussed in a recent blog.

In the blog, we used definitions from Technopedia, finding that

“Digital transformation is the changes associated with digital technology application and integration into all aspects of human life and society. […] Digital tools and technology are changing how people interact, and in turn this changes how people do business. […] In a more business-related aspect, digital transformation refers to how a company has or is transforming its core business processes using digital technology in order to gain competitive advantage and gain differentiation in its market segment.”

However, there are also challenges for companies in every industry, as too many leaders think it’s both a standard process and a metamorphosis, and that they will walk into work one day with a ‘transformed’ business. This is not the case. Digital transformation not only differs from industry to industry, it differs from company to company.

Early steps for distributors looking to transform

Knowing this, it is helpful to find a starting point and early steps, including the process of identifying where you stand, what technologies you currently have, where you hope to be, and what actions you will need to take to get to your ideal state.

Knowing where your distribution firm and your supply chain stand

As mentioned above, digital transformations are happening at different levels across all industries. As the company who often connects manufacturers or other suppliers to retailers and in turn end users, you have watched both sides adopt new digital technologies in their own ways. While this has likely changed the way you’re working with them, your competitive advantage will be built on your ability to embrace the changes they have put on you.

Addressing this will require you to take a hard look at your current business practices, technologies, and understand how you will fit into the supply chain.

Looking at your technology stack

From the c-suite to the ground-floor employees, every team member should understand why adopting digital technologies, cloud ERP software and emerging technologies (e.g. IoT, AI, robotics, next gen security), is absolutely necessary for being able to exchange data across the organization. This information can then be used to make strategic, effective decisions, meeting modern expectations from across the supply chain, and innovation.

A solid technology foundation and a clear digital strategy—which includes asking the right questions, setting clear goals and the steps to achieving them, getting input from people throughout the organization, and providing ongoing informational and training sessions—will keep the transformation moving forward.

Understanding what you will need

The digital changes also provide a window for distribution companies to rethink business models. Companies need to consider whether they will become disruptive players or are at risk of being disrupted by upstarts or competitors.

For distribution companies, this starts with being able to understand your products better. How did they get there, where are they, and how do you get them to your customers? What’s profitable? How can we do something faster, cheaper, or better than our competitors?

As we discussed in an earlier blog, there are four key components to making a digital transformation a reality: cloud computing, mobile technologies, the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), and data analytics.

Making your move: Acumatica Cloud ERP delivers for distribution

Distribution management is Cloud ERP software that helps companies manage their supply chain and logistics activities, including warehouse management, inventory management, and order management (sales and purchase orders), and integrate these activities with the company’s financials and sales. With Acumatica Cloud ERP, distribution companies can leverage technology that empowers them, improving everything from cost control to order times, supplier relationships to customer satisfaction.

As a leading provider of Acumatica for distribution, NexTec can customize, implement, and integrate the solution, training your users and setting you up for success in a digital world. Get to know more about our work and contact us for a free consultation.

ERP solution

Streamline supply chain management with a ERP solution

By | Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Woman looking at a tablet and using a calculator.

Enterprise resource planning solutions allow for integrated supply chain management, with access to data and insights across devices and platforms.

Imagine a production environment where your supply chain partners can see data, trends, and patterns. Imagine those same partners being able to recommend solutions and improve sourcing, procurement, and transportation. Imagine standardized processes that optimize workflows and allow for more efficiency and profit margin.

With the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, the imaginary can become the reality. As seen in the recent post, Strategic Guide to Planning Manufacturing Production CyclesERP platforms offer the chance to integrate new technologies, collaborate internally and externally, and drive productivity.

Enterprise resource planning software brings together myriad systems and data sets in one space. By combining operational functions with those involving supply chain management, warehousing, procurement, and transportation, operations become dramatically more efficient. When combined with back-office functions such as human resources, finance, sales, and marketing functions, the transformation of the business takes on new dimensions.

It’s evident that to streamline supply chain management with a ERP solution makes sense. But what are the specifics when it comes to supply chain transformation and ERP platforms?

Response to Customization

Today, manufacturers face the challenge of customers expecting customization of products and a broad assortment of options. Customers also expect these customizations to come with short cycle times and rapid delivery.

On the consumer side, tastes and preferences are evolving rapidly, with global perspectives, cultures, preferences, and tastes influencing shopping and consumption worldwide.

A manufacturing ERP software solution provides the large amounts of product data that can be displayed in matrices, dashboards, and reports that provide deeper analysis and understanding that can be shared across the supply chain. The ERP system can provide the tools for accurate and rapid assortment and distribution of various products.

Process Standardization

ERP tools can consolidate and display data taken from different sources, locations, and systems. The integration of this data breaks down internal silos by democratizing the display, access, and use of that information among employees and partners. Standardized data allows for standardized processes that ensure that information, materials, intermediate products and final products through production quickly and accurately. Standardization reduces and eliminates the amount of manual work needed between systems, reducing production schedule times and creating more accurate outcomes.

Standardization of data and processes also allows for more consistency, reducing errors, wastage, and rework. Products are completed at higher grades and quality considerations.

person using a tablet with the words supply chain management displayed.

Supply chain management reporting and insights can be shared across internal and external partners with the use of ERP solutions.

Integrating IT Systems

Different IT systems among supply chain partners and internal departments can slow down operations dramatically. ERP solutions are designed to pull data from different sources and integrate that data with outside information.

Automation for Efficiency

ERP solutions provide for far better operational efficiency. Mix rates, recipe management, production scheduling, maintenance management, inventory control, and scheduling can be rapidly developed and executed using automation tools that keep the supply chain moving. The mundane manual work can often be streamlined and done more efficiently.

Measurement and Assessment

ERP solutions allow for accurate measurement and reporting on supply chain processes, efficiency, and execution, from procurement to warehouse to transportation functions. ERP tools allow for reporting and display of performance in real time, allowing for immediate adjustments to improve performance.

Role Definition

An ERP system can assign access roles and responsibilities to allow for employees to act on information and insights throughout the supply chain. Management of the supply chain can also become more transparent with an ERP solution that allows for clear delineation of responsibilities.

At NexTec, we help companies select and implement an ERP solution that fits their supply chain and operational needs. Contact us to see how NexTec can provide insights into the vendors, products, and features that will transform your supply chain management.