Running a successful distribution business is like dancing on the head of a pin. While all business owners feel they have unique stress, distributors face an arguably unique and relentless pressure to deliver the right products at the right time—for the right price. Stockouts, a slightly too-high price and incorrectly filled orders can kill long-term client relationships. Over-ordering, alternatively, can lead to waste and losses.

How do you grow in this kind of environment? Enterprise Resource Planning software can help. The right tools enable distributors to stay on top of inventory, sales and warehouse management. The new generation of true, cloud-native ERP, as exemplified by Acumatica, can be transformative for distributors—making it possible to operate more profitability while scaling the business.

Selling more products, more easily

Being able to optimize sales order entry and fulfillment makes it easier to grow. True cloud ERP makes this happen with improved sales order management. There’s less fiction in getting orders started and delivered, so you can keep the customer happy and collect your cash. Acumatica Distribution Edition enables split orders across multiple warehouses as well as the ability to allocate inventory to orders. The software is able to verify credit limits, issue replenishment orders, accept returns and more.

Integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and purchasing modules further fuels the sales process. For distributors, linking purchasing with sales management can be a critical factor in sales growth. The capability lets you keep customers’ preferred merchandise in stock in the right quantities. Similar integrations with shipping software also bolster sales fulfillment capabilities.

Automated sales and order management processes and integrated workflows, complete with notifications and alerts, make the sales team more efficient. This is another prerequisite for growth, as are invoice consolidation, flexible discounts, streamlined RMA and reason codes and advanced sales orders. Acumatica gives you all these capabilities.

Buying products more efficiently and intelligently

The profitability and growth potential of distribution businesses are dependent, to a large extent on how well the purchasing process works. First, the distributor’s procurement operation must find the best prices and order on an optimal basis. Product needs to be in stock when needed, without so much on hand that it generates high inventory carrying costs. And, procurement needs to run efficiently. If realizing a purchasing strategy requires too many people, that will cut into profits and limit the company’s ability to scale.

Acumatica addresses these challenges with advanced Purchase Order (PO) management features. Online sourcing automates the full process of procurement, starting with vendor quotes and ending with paying invoices. Automated PO creation, with multilevel approval, further streamlines the process. Procurement managers can work smarter using vendor selection, vendor performance analysis and simplified item tracking. They can be productive by taking advantage of drop shipment functions along with automated payment vouchers and requisition management.

Managing inventory and fulfillment for scalability

Acumatica provides advanced inventory functionality. Users get real-time access to available inventory along with inventory in transit and reorder quantities. They can stay on top of inventory costs as they manage multiple warehouses and lots. The software provides detail on inventory sub-items, expiration dates and bin locations. Acumatica integrates with hand-held barcode scanners as well as accounting software to keep warehouse operations efficient and transparent.

Users of Acumatica in distribution are finding that they can improve customer satisfaction by reducing mistakes in order fulfillment. They can avoid costly returns, mostly through the use of efficient barcode scanning and verification of picked items. The solution generates pick lists and packing slips. The results include reductions in incorrect shipments as well as over- and under-shipments.

Much of this is theoretically possible to achieve with legacy ERP solutions, but in reality, the execution process would be prohibitively slow and expensive. True cloud ERP is so flexible and easy to connect with other systems, it gets the job done so you can build your distribution business. We have worked with many distributors o the implementation of Acumatica as a starting point in their growth processes.

Contact us to learn how true cloud ERP can help your distribution business grow.