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SAP Business One

Globalization, outsourced manufacturing, supply chain issues, tighter product margins, and a pandemic—whatever the challenge, effectively managing your distribution business has become more complex than ever.

To be successful, wholesale distributors are now rethinking their processes and use of business data to remain relevant and gain a competitive edge. To that end, leading wholesale distributors are leveraging digital technology to create, deliver, and sustain new and meaningful customer relationships.

Let's look at the top five distribution challenges and explain how you can overcome them.

Challenge #1: Rapid and Complete Order Fulfillment

Because of the pandemic’s lasting effects, distribution businesses are struggling to keep pace with a modified customer base. Faced with a broader range of order sizes, unpredictable fulfillment needs, overdependence on manual processes, and inadequate or non-existent data-sharing between systems, many distribution operations are lagging behind their modernized competitors.

Challenge #2: Accurate and Fast Pick, Pack, and Ship

Many small to midsized distribution businesses use entry-level software like QuickBooks and supplement it with spreadsheets or a standalone inventory management application. With this setup, integration between business systems and warehouse operations is weak or nonexistent. Data resides in multiple locations, paper forms are the norm, and employees must enter identical data into multiple systems for reconciliation—leading to wasted time and expensive mistakes.

Challenge #3: Accessing the Right Reports

For many distribution businesses, data is spread across multiple systems, making it impossible to report on a standardized set of information and contributing to a lack of complete business control. When someone needs a report quickly, employees must access multiple applications and then transfer information via paper or email, which adds more risk of human error.

Challenge #4: Normalizing eCommerce

Many distributor businesses established an eCommerce presence for the first time in 2020, while others broadened theirs. Either way, many distribution businesses haven’t integrated their eCommerce platforms with core systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Challenge #5: Trouble With Inventory Demand, Forecasting, and Replenishment

Although manually managing inventory is common for small to midsized distribution businesses, it’s a significant risk in today’s fast-changing landscape of volatile customer demand and fluctuating warehouse personnel capabilities. There are too many moving parts to gauge inventory demand accurately and forecast inventory needs without technology.

How Can You Overcome Distribution Challenges?

To get the answers you need, you must ask the right questions. Only by gaining a better understanding of your current processes and their pitfalls can you determine which area of your operations requires improvement, where you can find efficiencies, and how to move forward in this highly competitive marketplace.

Learn the Questions You Should Be Asking

Our eBook, Ask the Right Questions to Address Today’s Top 5 Distribution Challenges, explains how technology can help you:

  • Fulfill orders quickly and completely
  • Pick, pack, and ship quickly and accurately
  • Access the right reports
  • Normalize eCommerce
  • Better manage inventory demand, forecasting, and replenishment

Download the eBook below to learn how the right technology can help your distribution business become more resilient, gain a competitive edge, and improve visibility into the supply chain.

Get the eBook