Your warehouses, inventory, and business generate a lot of data. When all this data enters your supply chain, it can quickly overwhelm both you and your vendors. Unfortunately, for distribution businesses whose success relies on their ability to deliver products to customers in a timely manner, a mountain of data can harm visibility, reduce timeliness, and ultimately slow the business to a halt.
To solve the problem, you need to have the right tools and skilled data analysts to guide your data through the system in a way that makes decision making easier and decisions smarter. Distributors that turn to dashboards, analytics, and business intelligence (BI) software integrated with ERP 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.
The many benefits of BI for the distribution industry
Business intelligence brings together a wide range of data from a wider variety of sources. Those in distribution know first-hand how difficult it can be to combine sales, finance and invoicing data from multiple warehouses, vendors and partners. BI software can help solve the problem by pulling the data together so that it is easily accessible and makes sense.
Link your BI software with your ERP software and you have a tool that can help you make instant and powerful changes that will put your business on the path to greater success.
Here are 3 key benefits to combining BI with ERP software.
1. Better planning and inventory management
A powerful inventory management solution is key to maintaining stock, planning for variability, and minimizing inventory costs. But if the people running your warehouse aren’t “data” people, you may never know how well your inventory is being managed.
Enter business intelligence. Rather than forcing these non-financial people to adapt and adjust to the complexities of an ERP solution, you can provide information at their fingertips with customized dashboards and readily available insights. Dashboards can be customized by role, by user, or by position and keep the people on the front lines informed in real time.
By making data more accessible, accurate, and understandable, you can improve planning, ordering, and much more. Get to know more about the benefits of integration and its role in managing complexity by reading our blog, “The Need to Know is Always Now in Warehousing and Distribution.”
2. Increased profit margins
Distribution operates as a low-margin, high-volume business. Any ding or dent in your profits will impact the bottom line much more quickly than another business. And there are so many ways those dings can happen – inventory storage costs, customer preference changes, reputation hits from lack of inventory. You need a clear picture not only of your inventory situation, but how inventory decisions will impact finances.
BI software can take a wide range of data out of your other systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Inventory Management, ERP, and more, and give you intuitive drill-down functionality that you can access from anywhere at any time. Want to know what your most profitable product is this month? Want to understand how each warehouse is performing? Want to know which warehouse is the best location for a specific product? Learn all this and more from your BI solution while at your desk, at a café with your laptop, or on your way to work with your mobile device.
Learn more about how ERP empowers you to keep up with changes in the supply chain here.
3. Reduced delivery time, fewer issues, happier customers
A distributors’ profits connect directly to well controlled inventory and warehouses. One of the most common places that profits can take a hit is through lost sales and returns. Customers are less tolerant of mistakes than ever before. So, when the wrong item is shipped, or the item is defective, the customer does not care if it was your shipping firm or 3PL that dropped the ball, they will blame you. Get it right always and your customers will love you for it.
By integrating your processes and systems with BI software, you can gain a clearer understanding of what went wrong, where it went wrong, how to rectify it and keep it that way —before your reputation takes a hit.
Pair your ERP with BI to make your distribution business a success
The right ERP solution for distribution is essential. Pair it with a BI solution and you can get that bird’s eye view you need to make your business really shine. NexTec Group consultants have been helping distribution companies select and implement ERP, BI and CRM for a quarter century. If you believe 2019 is the year that you truly take control of your supply chain, let’s talk. We’re here to help.