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How to choose the best distribution ERP software

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Within the distributor industry, there are many components that need to be looked after. From complex supply chains to financial management, overseeing all aspects can be difficult without an integrated system in place.

According to the Digitalist, technology is one of the biggest factors driving supply chain transformation and is how Enterprise Resource Planning [ERP] software comes into play.

Finding the right choice is a big decision and can be a challenge to make sure all the requirements are being met when searching.

There are many key differences among ERP systems, some are designed to address specific business needs whilst others apply to a broad set of industries. For distributors, it’s important to have a clear outlook on their requirements which will enable them to confidently select the best option for distribution business.

What is an ERP

The term ‘ERP’ refers to a system that automates and integrates a company’s core business elements to increase efficiency and simplify operations. It’s a comprehensive system that includes all the software pieces you might need to run your operations as efficiently as possible.

When used effectively an ERP system can reduce many of the processes previously draining resources or delaying profits. The changes will impact all areas of the business, from sales to finance to service, so be sure to do your research and thoroughly plan each phase of the implementation.

How it can help

Over the years, technology within the distribution industry has accelerated rapidly. From eliminating redundant processes and systems to finding innovative ways to evolve. With customer expectations continuing to grow, businesses will need to find ways to adapt in order to stay competitive and not become redundant.

With an ERP system, you can rid yourself of duplicate data entries in disparate databases, unpredictable cost, quality and accuracy, and employee downtime, all of which cost you time and money.

Finding the best fit

Research according to your needs

Selecting and implementing a new business system is a big investment of time and money. When shopping for an ERP, the company should define and document its key business requirements and objectives.

Finding an ERP provider that has experience in the industry and is familiar with unique needs should be a top priority in the discovery process. By investing in a system that cannot adapt to changing demands within the industry, can become a problem long term. Combatting this early enables businesses to have longevity and not waste a costly investment.

Finalise the goals

Before moving forward with an ERP system it is important to factor in what you want the outcomes to be. It can be quite common for a business to deploy a system that either employees find too technical or the system isn’t as flexible as they would like.

It’s key to have business goals aligned before taking any steps to find a provider. If a business wants to streamline processes, reduce costs or lessen potential errors it’s better to ensure everyone across the board is on the same page.

Make sure it’s compatible

It can be easy to be hasty, invest in software and find out down the line it isn’t working as best as you thought.

Choosing a system that is specifically designed for the distribution sector will make the difference between your business moving forward or staying stagnant. It’s important to search for certain functionalities that suit you. Whether that might be automating processes, secure inventory management or the ability to gather a rich pool of data insights.

Implementing an ERP system may appear a daunting process, it takes time to find a provider that is right for you. But if executed correctly, your business can have the potential to be transformed and reap the benefits.

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About the Author

ECI Staff Contributors love to share their insights and expertise on a variety of topics including sales, marketing, cloud, ERP, and SMB development as well as on product specific education. With offices throughout the United States, Mexico, England, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, more than 40 employees contribute to blog on a regular basis.