To stay competitive in today’s distribution market, it’s almost a given that you’re going to have to use modern software and process automation. This is especially the case if you have a small operation and operate in multiple channels. Tools such as distribution software can specifically help your business successfully compete with larger ones. Here are some features to look for inside of distribution software to remain competitive in your day-to-day operations.
Integration with e-commerce Services
If you run a business that handles multiple different distribution channels, one feature that you absolutely need to have is integration with your e-commerce services such as your on-line stores, eBay and/or Amazon.
The important thing is to try to ensure that any item purchased online through any of your online stores is properly recorded in your ERP software. This is why integration is a such a necessary feature. A one-click solution to integration in a disparate number of online storefronts is exactly what you need to process your orders efficiently. With integrated systems, your inventory and orders can be maintained in one master locations and won’t need to input all of your information twice. The automation will take care of it for you allowing for quicker response to your customers and a complete view of all your sales operation statuses in one system.
Point of Sale Options
Another useful feature to use in areas where it’s applicable is the point of sale integration. Integration will be particularly salient if you have a brick and mortar operation, or if any aspect of your business has you selling to your customer in-person at any time. This could even work for much smaller operations. Integrated point of sale systems with distribution and inventory systems is of particular importance to such operations. Again, you really don’t want to have to input the same thing multiple times. Additionally, inventory allocation and updating can be handled automatically in these cases as well.
Another aspect of this that’s important is the fact that having point of sale integration with distribution services is critical if you have multiple sales happening across different mediums all simultaneously. So, if you have an online portal and a brick and mortar location that are both processing sales at the same time, having an integrative software tool that can handle this kind of multi-channel point of sale approach is an absolute necessity in order to make sure that you’re properly keeping track of the distribution process
Once again, this is a feature that will matter more depending on how large your operation is and how many physical warehouse locations you have. Stocking the right amount in the right location is always a complicated issue. This can be solved by using the right combination of demand planning and distribution requirements planning software. These software solutions will help you determine the what, when and how much to replenish your inventory at the most optimal levels.
Having a systematic way to order, monitor and expedite supplier orders is also a necessity. By automating standard supply chain order process, planners and buyers will be allowed to focus on the exceptions and better buying deals. It is important that accurate lead time be maintained at all times.
To make sure that you fit your customers and employee expectations, compatibility with mobile platforms is often a must. This includes smartphones and tablets. IBM reported in February 2016 that almost half of all online traffic for this year Valentines’ Day season was done on mobile devices. Without mobile support you would miss out on almost half of your potential customer orders, can you afford that?
For more information about distribution software services, please contact us today.