The importance and demand for a high-quality online shopping experience are continuing to grow, and for electrical wholesalers and distributors, having an ecommerce website is becoming a more important element of their sales pipeline, says Nick Davies, Head of Software Development, OGL Computer.
As in all industries, efforts to increase revenue and profitability are critical and technology is at the heart of this. A recent survey we conducted showed that 85% of wholesale respondents agreed that technology is vital to the efficient running of their business, while 80% agreed that automating business processes helps their companies stay competitive. This is where migrating to a single ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution is fundamental to growth.
Wholesale businesses use a range of software systems to function: from warehouse management, inventory/stock control to accounting software and CRM (customer relationship management). But, with so many electrical wholesalers and distributors still using some level of manual processes and disparate systems to run their businesses, they are missing out on the benefits that come from centralising systems into one ERP solution.
Single ERP systems connect all of the key areas of a business – stock control, sales order management and customer service, so they work better by enabling full visibility business-wide, which makes them ideal for ecommerce. With stock sitting at the heart of the business, the ERP solution ensures that stock control is connected to the sales department, finance team and purchasing, so electrical wholesalers and distributors can run a smooth, streamlined order process. An ERP solution also improves efficiencies by removing duplication of work across different departments.
Gain control via accurate centralised data
A single view of a business, with the same information available to multiple users, will lead to better profitability, increased productivity and accurate data for planning purposes. It also enables wholesalers to extract data much more easily, and analyse and manipulate the data to assist with reporting.
Improving your routes to market as an electrical distributor or wholesaler is more than simply achieving sales from different channels. To increase audience reach, businesses have to be visible to potential customers online and provide them with the valuable data and product information that they are looking for.
ERP software offers the ability to control the information you hold and improve accuracy. With access to up-to-date data, accurate forecasting becomes much quicker and easier and you gain control over your company’s performance.
Improve visibility and efficiency
Data and stats of a customer journey, sales, warehouse efficiencies, stock control and team performance from an ERP system all give you the ability to spot trends, know your best performances, but also where to improve so you can always strive for better.
For wholesalers and distributors, taking control of stock and warehouse operations has a knock-on effect for customer service, reputation, team morale and ultimately their bottom line.
With an ERP solution, visibility of customers, products and sales data can be crucial to driving business forward, as it gives a 360-degree view of your data and performance that disparate systems lack. When your processes are based in a centralised solution it means you’re not trying to communicate and transfer data between the different systems which can introduce errors and duplication of work. With a single ERP solution, even your trade counter staff, remote workers and sales reps on the road can access the same data and follow the same processes.
Removing manual tasks, digitalising processes and taking out the duplication of operations across systems removes time-consuming admin, increases accuracy and most importantly improves efficiency. By streamlining your warehouse, optimising picking processes and sending out more orders in less time, you will essentially be maximising order efficiencies from any order source, be it online or via another channel.
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