Aberdeen Group’s recent insight into wholesale and distribution examines the use of ERP in this industry sector. ERP has long been a central strategic tool for manufacturers, but the analyst notes, “the efficiencies that come with a well-implemented ERP strategy can be gained in many other types of organizations.” As enterprises whose goals and practices are often aligned with manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors have a particular need for the functionality that ERP can deliver.
Aberdeen’s 2011 ERP survey of wholesalers and distributors found that 83 percent have already implemented ERP. They are using it to track logistics of their business, as well as leveraging the data it provides to improve decision-making and cut costs.
According to the report, the capabilities that ERP enables in wholesale and distribution are having a wide range of influence across organizations. Leaders have used ERP to standardize both front- and back-office procedures, and are more likely to have standardized procedures for:
- Cash collection
- Financial reconciliation
- Order management
- Delivery fulfillment
Standardizing these procedures aligns practices with the goals of the organization, streamlining operations while providing a unified front to customers.
Another particularly important ability to wholesalers and distributors is demand planning and forecasting. ERP enables this process, helping companies drive down or eliminate holding costs while ensuring sufficient product levels to meet market demand. Leading concerns are much more likely to have this capability in place, which means higher revenues and profits.
For those that are following the lead in implementing ERP, Aberdeen recommends that automatic notification and continuous improvement practices be added to demand planning and forecasting capabilities. For those that are leading, they recommend extending the application for mobile access, improving the measurement of ROI, and adding wholesale- and distribution-specific modules to extend ERP functionality.
As one of the industry’s leading suppliers of ERP to warehousing and distribution companies, Epicor is delighted to make the full Aberdeen report available free of charge here.
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