Distribution

5 Key Reasons Why Distributors Should Invest in a Robust ERP

5 Key Reasons Why You Need ERP Software in Distribution

5 Key Reasons Why You Need ERP Software in Distribution 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • As a distributor, your investments can be severely impacted due to operational or management issues with your transportation system; The day-to-day operations of most wholesale distribution companies can take advantage of optimized systems to avoid inventory stock-outs, transportation bottlenecks, and more.
  • Most operational problems can either be resolved quickly or avoided altogether with ERP software designed for distribution companies.
  • Today, more and more supply chain distribution and transportation companies looking for an advantage are investing wisely in ERP software.

Distribution management, supply chain and logistics planning can be few of the most challenging areas for any wholesale distribution company. If not properly monitored, common occurrences of events like rapidly increasing volumes of new information, varying timelines, and unplanned scheduling issues can become large challenges to overcome. This goes for unforeseen factors that can’t be planned for as well, like breakdowns, natural disasters, and unexpected disruptions to transportation channels. To minimize the impact of these scenarios and more, distribution companies can choose to leverage smart business management software platforms such as ERPs. These solutions designed specifically for distribution companies focus on simplifying operations and shortening the cash cycle with robust out-of-the-box and customizable solutions.

For years, distribution companies have been on the short end of the stick when it comes to implementing IT infrastructure capable enough to support their unique needs and requirements. While a quick search might indicate a majority of wholesale distribution companies operating on a similar model, a more in-depth investigation would highlight numerous differences and intricacies. An effective wholesale distribution ERP software can recognize specific requirements and provide solutions to address them based on the scale, geography, and operating model of a specific organization. This all points to ERP being essential for distribution channel management, boosting overall operational efficiency, and reducing costs.

Below are 5 more important reasons why the right ERP is a must-have for organizations looking to boost distribution and transportation networks

1.Increased agility With today’s market more dynamic than ever before, end-users are not only more aware of what they want but are able to access a growing number of options. This change in behavior requires manufacturers and wholesale distributors alike to rethink their approach. With the right ERP solution in place, both sales and distribution pipelines become much more dynamic, allowing distribution companies to communicate changes in requirements in real-time to simplify the order-to-shipment process.

2.Enhanced Data Management For any distribution company, managing inventory inflow and outflow is an enormous task, susceptible to repetition, recurrence, and multiple errors. This can be avoided by implementing a comprehensive ERP platform to automate data entry and facilitate high-end data and insight generation. The right ERP software in distribution offers significantly enhanced visibility and complete transparency for information being managed in a distribution network.

Figure: 1Why Do Distribution Companies Need ERP

Why Do Distribution Companies Need ERP

3.Efficient Inventory Management Properly managing today’s distribution operations includes actively monitoring supply chains, logistics, and inventory, which, when not managed effectively, can produce a significantly lower ROI. This is where ERP software for a distribution company can make a huge difference with things like built-in automation to track multiple items, real-time monitoring of goods to avoid stock-outs, and improved communication between stakeholders.

4.Streamlined Supply Chain Management To avoid disruptions in supply chains, companies need to take proactive measures to streamline operations and minimize the impacts of any global phenomenon that can potentially disrupt the supply network. An ERP software in a distribution company helps ensure a steady flow of goods, fortified communication amongst stakeholders, and complete visibility of the supply chain.

5.Improved Customer Relationships Today’s wholesale distributors are expected to anticipate their end user’s needs as market demands rapidly change. This helps organizations stay ahead of their competition, and able to respond quickly to their customer’s dynamic requirements. The strengthening of these customer relationships leads to an improved cash cycle, which further helps to avoid overstock. This leads to other, more conventional industries looking to improve customer retention with the right ERP.

Final Thoughts

Modern ERP software in distribution has evolved into complete end-to-end platforms designed to promote growth and improve both suppliers’ and distributors’ ability to do business under quickly changing conditions. Especially today, implementing the correct solution has become much more affordable, offering significantly improved response times, increased efficiency, and stronger customer relationships.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right ERP for distribution is more crucial than ever in making your supply chain and distribution network highly dynamic, leaving your business in a much better position to respond to rapidly-changing market demands.
  • The main focus of ERP isn’t just operations management but also improving supply chain and strengthening customer relations.
  • Overall, sales and distribution cycles become much more profitable when the right ERP solution is in place.

Invest in a robust ERP system to streamline your distribution operations. Start your free trial!

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

supply chain challenges in chemical industry

Best solutions for Logistics and Transportation Challenges in the chemical industry

Best solutions for Logistics and Transportation Challenges in the chemical industry 1350 650 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Chemical companies are reeling under a two-edged crisis- unprecedented fall in the price of crude oil and the upheaval brought in the global supply chain because of Covid-19.
  • Chemical companies have also faced issues like increased freight costs, excessive demand for chemical sanitizers, and changing government regulations across different geographies.
  • Mitigating costs, managing inventories, avoiding bottlenecks and rising to the challenges would be some of the top-most priorities of the executives managing chemical transportation and logistics.

Global supply chains have seen direct and ripple effects of the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused operational upheavals and seen acute disturbances in logistics due to shortage of chemical raw material. Adapting to volatile market conditions in the face of a challenge shows the company’s ability to sustain growth. Determination, planning and willingness to adapt to changes are expected from the rapidly growing chemical companies.

To aid with their business continuity plans, chemical companies need to continue to reinvent their operational processes, inventory management strategies and transportation management. Supply chain challenges in the chemical industry are inevitable as every country responds differently to health and economic crises. A crisis changes the way you manage inventory, raw material procurement, monitor demand for certain chemicals, workforce procedures, freight costs, etc.

23%

of the USA’s chemical companies considered supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic as their major concern for the coming future.

Source: PWC

Many comprehensive software applications have been developed to provide concrete solutions to mitigate the issues related to supply chain disruptions. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management has been cited as the best software for supply chain management and a complete solution for distribution and logistics. Here are four primary concerns that chemical companies are facing when it comes to managing transportation and logistics:

1.Moving to Road and Railways: Transportation and logistics in the chemical industry have been heavily dependent on airways and waterways in bigger countries and across international borders. However, increased safety concerns and inflated costs make chemical companies shift to the transportation of raw material, and final products through roads and railways. The change in mode of transportation directly impacts the landing cost of the product. Inability to track accurate landing costs, end-to-end transportation tracking and scheduling are some major pain points in a chemical company.

2.On-time Delivery of Raw Material: There is a sudden and unexpected disparity in the demand for different chemicals. Demand for chemical surface cleaners, sanitizers has increased several folds across the globe (and understandably so), however majority of challenges are related to on-time delivery of material. Unpredictable transportation lead times and inability to deliver these raw materials is a big pain point in providing accurate receipt dates.

Figure: 1 High-level Disruptions in Chemical Transportation due to Covid-19 Pandemic

Transportation Management Process Flow in Dynamics 365

3.Transportation Planning and Inventory Management: A supply chain can run smoothly only when the inventories are managed well. Given the current times, chemical companies need to align their requirements and logistical arrangements with the availability of products in their respective inventories. This requires top-to-bottom visibility and high-level decision making to approve faster changes in material requirements. A major roadblock is related inefficient transportation planning to minimize delays.

4.Increased Freight Cost and Changing Regulations: With change in modes of transportation, and disruption of demand and supply pattern of chemicals worldwide, freight cost shot up by several times. Chemical companies have to deal with higher freight costs along with issues in logistics and supply chain management.

Despite all these pain points, chemical companies can reinvent their transportation and logistics operations to rise to the occasion. Here are certain measures that chemical companies can take to streamline their distribution demands:

  • Assessing the requirement based on geographies and allocating warehouses to meet those demands.
  • Labeling, stocking and categorizing chemical stock based on order priority and making them easily available for transportation.
  • Making use of serialization and bulk containers with barcodes for optimal supply and efficient tracking.
  • Appointing a special task force to manage transportation and logistics changes to optimize the supply chain and provide the single-point contact/ visibility option to all the stakeholders involved.

How Can Your Chemical Company Optimize Transportation and Logistics Operations Using Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides the right features for a chemical company to manage operations, inventory and transportation. Once you get the view of your company’s transportation and chemical supply chain management in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you will be able to plan and implement optimization strategies for chemical transportation and logistics.

The information about chemicals are required to be maintained and tracked under high-level categories. Also, labeling batches, mentioning hazardous substances, barcoding containers and mentioning chemical properties is part of any chemical company’s logistics plan in Microsoft Dynamics 365 in conjunction with integrated chemical management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows for complete inventory visibility through its Distributed Order Management (DOM) indicator. This allows all the stakeholders to stay on top of things, avoid bottle-necks or stock-outs during these unprecedented times.

Chemical companies can benefit from comprehensive Transportation Management module in Dynamics 365. The module is loaded with features that can let you manage your transportation and logistics while also letting you identify vendor and routing solutions for inbound and outbound orders. In these times of extreme price inflations and changing market dynamics, this module helps your chemical company cut operational costs in logistics by effectively planning inbound and outbound transportation. Highly advanced business intelligence built in the Dynamics 365 Transportation Management module helps chemical companies identify best-priced and most efficient carriers. Through this module, you can get real-time visibility of the entire order at all times.

Here are some of the most impactful benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Transportation Management module for chemical companies:

  • Warehouse Management Efficiency
  • Enhanced Delivery Capabilities
  • Inventory Reductions
  • Real-time Supply Chain Visibility
  • Effective Customer Service
  • Set up Ad-hoc Cycle Counting Thresholds and Cycle Count Locations
  • Pre-schedule Route Planning for Efficient Transportation
  • Availability of Multi-packing Slips in Load Planning
  • Skip Trivial Freight Reconciliation Process

Every chemical company has a different shop-floor operation and needs customized production operations plans for kits and packaging (for transportation). This option is easily accessible with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Companies can manage lot tracking, tracing of chemicals, route mapping, resource availability, and freight cost management. The system provides the option of generating individual or batch invoices.

The Transportation Management module in Dynamics 365 follows a well-vetted process flow that is dynamic and customizable, based on your transportation requirements.

Figure: 2Transportation Management Process Flow in Dynamics 365

High-level Disruptions in Chemical Transportation due to Pandemic

While it is true that the world is witnessing changes in the chemical supply chain and transportation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, companies can rise to the occasion with resilience, optimal use of resources and a systematic approach towards change in processes. There is a need for continuous innovation to stay ahead of the chemical companies’ curve to continue operations during this ‘new normal’.

Key Takeaways

  • Transportation and logistics of chemical companies are facing the ripple effects of disruption in global supply chain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • While there are many challenges, chemical companies will need to reinvent their transportation management with the help of intelligent applications like Microsoft Dynamics 365. Once operations and processes are efficient, chemical companies can improve their transportation planning to ensure on-time delivery.

Reach out to us for your company’s Digital transformation.

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

inventory management strategies

Top 4 Efficient Inventory Management Strategies

Top 4 Efficient Inventory Management Strategies 1500 750 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Challenges of an inventory can be both daunting and persistently confusing for shippers/ suppliers; however, a strategic re-evaluation can do wonders to your inventory management.
  • Accuracy, agility, and quality seem to be the main driving factors in today’s inventory management scenario.
  • Companies need to make the necessary changes to their approach to inventory management strategies today to have a seamless supply chain and, eventually, a satisfied customer base.

As technologies and the latest strategic trends bring on a blanket change across various industries and their related subsets of functions, organizations need to adapt to these trends. Such adaptations can at first sound overwhelming, but proper planning and execution can help you in the long run. Inventory management has come a long way from being just a function related to buying, stocking, and selling. In today’s digital era, managing an inventory entails predicting stock-outs and preventing them, enhancing workflow efficiency, providing real-time information to various stakeholders, and supporting large scale productions. The unprecedented growth of the e-commerce sector has given rise to customer expectations that can be daunting to the sellers and suppliers. Today’s supply chain culture is all about being the fastest and the most accurate. Thus, both B2B and B2C markets continually look for ways to efficiently manage their inventories’ challenges.

48%

of supply chain and transportation executives say they are experiencing the need to reevaluate warehouse locations due to shifting trade patterns resulting from changes in the U.S. economy.

Source: A Report by Forbes Insight

Whether you are a manufacturer, supplier, or retailer, the road ahead to managing your inventory effectively is full of complexities as well as opportunities. Let us look at various good inventory management practices that will help you unravel these problems while tapping many efficient inventory management options.

01.Be Efficient When You Go Omnichannel

These days, the customers/consumers are empowered by various online applications, e-stores, and even physical shopping options to complete their order. As a retailer who wants to tap into these different distribution options, one needs to dive into omnichannel retailing. But this requires accurate and highly efficient management of stocks and their distribution across various channels. A complex omnichannel inventory requires a central data management system, effective track and trace mechanism, and sustainable storage options to operate seamlessly. An omnichannel store that operates both physically and online needs to purchase data and patterns for predictive analysis to preempt customer demands and stock their inventories accordingly.

Figure 1:An Omnichannel Retailer’s Inventory

02.Create an Efficient Connected Ecosystem

Long gone are the days when inventories were simply warehouses located close to the supplier base and managed as a separate function. With advanced, cutting-edge technologies, everything is connected today. Thus, to overcome the inventory management problems, you need to create an efficiently connected ecosystem where different functions work in tandem while sharing data, exchanging real-time developments, and being governed in an optimized way.

To help you manage your inventory’s problems with ease, speed, and accuracy:

  • Moving your data from legacy platforms to Cloud.
  • Implement process automation to simplify laborious manual tasks.
  • Use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to preempt stock-outs.
  • Apply Advanced Analytics for accurate inventory reporting.

Figure 2:Benefits of a Connected Ecosystem for Inventory Management

03.Revisit Your Warehouse Location design

In the past, inventory locations were not always well-managed and streamlined based on supply, consumption, and demand. With cumbersome planning and different modes of transportation, warehouses would ship goods to the desired locations. However, in today’s times, inventories cater to multiple channels and changing consumers’ demand patterns. This has made companies rethink their logistics strategy. Companies are setting up distribution centers closer to the customer-base to help streamline order fulfillment. Also, these distribution centers, when integrated through a common and efficient warehouse management software, can share data and prevent stock-outs.

04.Balancing the Influx of Inventory

There has always been discord between stocking up on inventory and the actual space available in shippers/suppliers’ warehouses to store the inventory. Sometimes, shippers miscalculate the future demand, while other times, they fear the increase in the price of goods. Whatever may be the scenario, this influx of inventory and the lack of actual physical space can lead to a menace for distribution centers. This can also lead to damage of goods, loss of perishable items, and a mismanaged inventory. To avoid this kind of influx, suppliers can get supply chain experts on board to use technology to their advantage. Tools and applications like MRP with AI and Advanced Analytics can accurately forecast customer demands. A good and robust software system to track the inventory items will prevent excessive purchases and stock-ups.

Inventory problems have always been the peril of supply chain management. You can be better prepared using the latest technologies with features like track and trace through LPN, a mobile supply chain, use of barcode, labeling, etc. By rethinking and replanning your supply chain process, you can proactively streamline inventory. A smooth supply chain needs to have a well-managed inventory, and taking the right steps in this direction will help you build a higher business value.

Key Takeaways

  • No two companies can have similar inventory requirements and structures; so, you need to assess your needs to optimize and manage inventory challenges.
  • A complex inventory requires stringent workforce management, change management, skill force updating, latest technologies, and application of intelligent tools to be managed seamlessly.
  • Contingency plans need to be in place for disruptions in inventory management, giving your company the ability to plan for unexpected situations.

Get Free Consultation For all Your Business Needs

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About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com