By DDI System
With so much change happening in the world right now, no one is quite sure what each new day will bring. As restaurants and food venues react to the new ”to-go” dynamic brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, their buying needs and patterns are swiftly changing. Many unforeseen factors, including work-from-home and shelter-in-place mandates imposed by local and state governments, are challenging distributors’ abilities to meet customer needs and adjust to new evolving purchase patterns.
Your technology provider or ERP software company, however, can be the difference between smooth change management and chaos. What follows are some operational insights and imperative software functionality that will keep your distribution business fast, smart, and strong during these changing times:
Your New Remote Reality
Having the ability to manage your business virtually during a time when many of us will be working remotely to comply with “social distancing” guidelines is imperative to keep operations running smoothly. Hosting your business in the cloud provides strong security, dependability, and a disaster-free plan. Cloud connections can also provide automatic back up of your company’s data, with a secure connection to your business from anywhere, at any time.
Providing an Online Shopping Experience
Many of your customers are now working from home, driving the immediate need for multi-channel purchase options that include online ordering/e-commerce. It’s essential to offer a unique, content-rich, easy-to-use web store platform that unifies both online and on-premise selling channels. Customers expect to be able to create shopping carts, view purchase history, and receive the same pricing and pick-up/delivery options as they would with any other purchasing experience. Having a world-class online store connected to your ERP software is now more critical than ever.
Staying Ahead of the Price Game
The ability to automatically monitor product cost and adjust individual product pricing with a strategic, margin-based pricing manager can mean the difference between maintaining your profitability or “losing your shirt” in these tough economic times. Being able to rely on your software to automatically adjust sell prices as manufacturer costs change will keep you ahead of the game – and free up time for you to address other priorities.
Intelligent Inventory Management
Having an ERP that identifies sporadic, recurring, and unusual demand will enable you to achieve higher fill rates, increase inventory turns, and eliminate dead stock. As customer needs fluctuate, prompt identification of demand exceptions and intelligent forecast correction are essential in combating variable supply and demand.
Connecting with Customers
Having the right information at the right time will strengthen customer relationships, incite loyalty, and provide superior service versus the competition. Raise the bar on customer service by ensuring you have the ability to effortlessly deliver order status, sales history, and detailed customer information with an embedded CRM (customer relationship management). In addition, your ERP system should have the ability to act as a virtual filing cabinet – with the option to attach plans, drawings, and specs to the jobs, acknowledgments to purchase orders, and vendor invoices to bills.
Integration That Drives Efficiency
Eliminate time-consuming manual entries and updates by bringing AutoQuotes product information and pricing directly into the sales order. Quickly and easily keep up with manufacturer price changes with this seamless integration.
Having a comprehensive ERP software in place that utilizes smart technology features will keep you serving your customers with confidence during this time of daily change and uncertainty.