4 reasons an industry specific ERP matters to wholesale distributors

4 reasons an industry specific ERP matters to wholesale distrubitors

July 19, 2021By Kelly Squizzero

Why settle for anything less?

Distributors often operate behind the scenes, making sure other businesses have what they need. The projects they support continue because tools, equipment, and supplies are where they needed to be. Patients have procedures because instruments are available. Structures are built because materials are ready. Restaurants can serve customers because food, drinks, plates, and pots are on hand.

Recent events revealed just how critical the distributor’s role is in the supply chain. In reality, it’s extremely complicated to seamlessly move such high volumes of goods. Especially as expectations and behaviors have evolved in the last decade, distributors have had to adapt their solutions, processes, and levels of service.

Historically, many distributors would customize enterprise resource planning solutions to meet their unique requirements. This approach, however, created an unwilling in-house IT cottage industry dedicated to supporting the infrastructure and modifications, instead of strategic initiatives. We see this during evaluations with prospective Infor customers; when distributors compare our CloudSuite solutions to their current footprint, we typically discover that hundreds if not thousands of their current modifications would no longer be needed. Because our solutions are designed for the distribution industry, the best practices those companies require are built in. For example, when HVAC and industrial product distributor, EMCO, moved to CloudSuite Distribution Enterprise, the company removed over 4000 modifications. EMCO no longer needed to maintain customizations and project manage long upgrade initiatives. That fluctuating, unpredictable overhead goes away forever because EMCO’s new mutli-tenant cloud solution is automatically updated monthly. Their technology is always current and always adding new distribution functionality to align with nuances and needs of this industry.

If you are evaluating ERPs, why would you settle for anything less?

Distributors deserve a solution that is built for them and meets their unique requirements. As you begin any ERP evaluation, keep in mind these four key benefits a distribution-specific enterprise platform delivers:

1. Essential distribution capabilities. Out of the box, the solution is built to support the way you do business. Something seemingly simple but incredibly complex involves how distributors often buy, stock, price, and sell in countless different units of measure. The underlying logic necessary to support this requirement throughout the organization must be intrinsic to the solution.

Another common challenge is managing demand planning and pricing for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of SKUs. And making it easy to suggest alternates, substitutes, and complementary products for those thousands and thousands of products is a must.

Many distributors can take advantage of rebates. However, that process is never made easy by the manufacturers and is often arduous to manage. Solutions that are intuitive and help distributors streamline these kinds of processes help to put dollars straight back to the distributor’s bottom line.

2. A vendor experienced in your industry. In addition to having product managers and developers building distribution best practices into the solutions, having a vendor truly committed to your industry goes beyond one knowledgeable point of contact for your account. It means that there are sales, consultants, professional services, and customer support personnel who are dedicated to understanding your industry and finding ways to help you be more successful.

3. Time to value. When you invest in industry-specific solutions, you can spend most of your time fine tuning the nuances, rather than architecting the basics. By being able to take advantage of the vendor’s implementation accelerators, modern training tools, pre-configured distribution-specific analytics, and more enhancements being developed daily, your organization will get up to speed faster and easier than with other solutions.

4. Continuous innovation. Looking at industry-specific cloud ERPs is not just about investing in what will help you meet the needs of your customers today. It’s about how much better your organization will be positioned for the future.

With a multi-tenant cloud solution that is automatically enhanced monthly, you benefit from a system that is evolving as the industry evolves. You no longer have to wait months or years until your organization can schedule and execute an upgrade. By staying current with technology innovations, you strengthen your ability to create relevant offerings and keep customers engaged. In addition, with your cloud vendor managing your solutions, your IT team is freed to focus on strategic initiatives that will help you differentiate.

As distributors consider their next ERP investment, two questions central to each assessment are:

“How will this help me provide better service to my customers?”

“Will this engage my employees to help this organization be more successful?”

A modern cloud ERP built for the distribution industry is the fastest way to make substantial improvements in automation, engagement, operations, and visibility. Working with a technology partner that speaks your language, understands your challenges and goals, and cares about your industry as much as you do will put you on a path toward accelerated innovation.

To find out more about how Infor can help you get there faster, visit www.infor.com/distribution.

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