Distribution ERP Guide - SMC

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Distribution ERP Guide

Download our Distribution ERP
Software Solutions Guide

In our experience as independent consultants at SMC, engaging the best ERP solution for your digital transformation journey is fundamental to success.

We’ve partnered with organisations across all industry sectors, from mid-market to large enterprises and smaller businesses scaling up. We’re just as invested as you in your digital transformation and are here to help you choose the best ERP solution for distribution for your business.

Download our distribution software solutions guide to find the best vendor to address the needs of your business. If you have any questions, contact our team, who will gladly assist you further.

Distribution ERP: Factors you need to consider for your business

Is your organisation looking to improve its technology, processes and practices? Before you compare distribution ERP software, you must first address the challenges that are impeding your business growth and understand what technology is out there to help access the untapped potential of your organisation’s competitive edge.

At SMC, our niche consulting team is here to help you select the best ERP solution for your distribution company in order to modernise the technology used and improve operations.

The history of ERP for distribution

The first ERP systems were introduced in the 1960s and were born on a needs-only basis, accommodating the supply chain, logistics, distribution and manufacturing industries. They allowed for increased visibility and accuracy of inventory levels, improved production planning, better purchasing and enhanced product delivery.

By the 1990s, vendors realised the best ERP for distribution companies should include better integration across sales, invoicing and billing and enhanced financial management practices, so they addressed this need. This is when the Gartner Group first coined the term Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

How to identify the best

ERP solution for distribution companies

Step 1:

The first step in finding the best ERP solution for distribution companies is to identify the channel of distribution you operate in:

  • Wholesale distribution — Wholesale distribution deals in large volumes of goods sold to intermediary organisations where there is no need to interact with the end customer packaging. You must consider how to palletise, containerise, deal in foreign currencies and import and export legalities.
  • Retail distribution — In retail distribution, your focus is on the end customer, so the final packaging, distribution of goods, buying experience and delivering the goods to the customer must be considered.
  • Direct distribution — Since the internet allows manufacturers to directly access customers worldwide, for goods to reach customers promptly, distribution warehouses must be utilized.

How to identify the best ERP solution

Step 2:

There are various areas of distribution to consider. When you compare distribution ERP software, consider the following features that best pertain to your business:

  • Sales Sales teams perform better with ready access to information like purchase history, inventory levels and changing prices. Using mobile facilities to process orders makes for timely operations.
  • Purchasing — Purchase stock to maintain a careful balance between meeting expected demand and not incurring waste.
  • Inventory — From batch tracking to serial tracking and traceability for the food and beverage industry, you can reduce costs and improve efficiency in the warehouse.
  • Warranty — With consumers having more powerful platforms to voice their complaints, smart companies like Apple increasingly use great service and product lifestyle management to turn customers into brand advocates.
  • Customer experience — The best ERP for distribution will consider the customer experience for a competitive edge.
  • COVID or similar disruptions — COVID has forced organisations to reconsider the role of technology, processes, people and data.
  • Your industry — The industry your business operates in directly impacts the ERP solution best suited to your organisation. Over the years, ERPs have taken on diverse industry verticals, specialising and investing in functionality specifically suited to the relevant industry.

It’s important to remember that not every organisation easily fits into these categories. To decide on the best ERP for distribution for your business, it can be helpful to engage an external consultant. SMC can support you with an analysis of your business objectives, define your desired future and adequately plan and prepare for an implementation process.

Find the best ERP for distribution, no matter the size of your company


Find out more

It’s easy to be put off by the word “enterprise” in ERP, but we’re happy to report that if you’re a small or medium-sized manufacturer, today’s ERPs are highly flexible with mix-and-match modules designed to meet the unique needs of your business. Gaining access to one centralised system will allow your business, whether you’re a small or medium-sized distributor, to reap the same advantages of large-scale organisations and increase your output and efficiency.

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