Three Key Tools Driving Transformation in Wholesale Distribution.

Three Key Tools Driving Transformation in Wholesale Distribution.

Do you need to fulfil orders more quickly and accurately? Do you struggle with inventory accuracy? Do you need real-time visibility into your warehouse operations? Do you know what your workers are doing?

In 2018, Wholesale Distributors have more choice than ever when it comes to automating processes in their businesses. Smart distributors have already begun their digital transformation and are seeing the benefit in their bottom line.

Whilst managing a warehouse can be complex and challenging, due to the nature of the industry, and the repeatability of processes there is vast opportunity to identify critical points of automation that will minimise the manual efforts of workers and provide considerable benefits in the long term.

1. Single Platform Technology.

Throughout the 90s and early 2000s Wholesalers were encouraged to seek “best of breed” software for each core business area. These areas include:

  • CRM
  • Marketing
  • eCommerce
  • Warehouse management software
  • Inventory Control
  • Accounting and Finance

Fast forward to 2018, and what we are seeing is a cluster of legacy software systems that try to communicate with each other through costly and time-consuming tailor-developed connectors.

The problem is, these connections, or APIs, between packages, need to be maintained to keep the whole ship running. Upgrading any piece software to a new version can produce errors with the customised APIs, causing ripple effects throughout the entire business.

Wholesalers are learning that this approach to IT Systems strategy is flawed and will only worsen as they continue to grow. Systems like NetSuite provide distributors with a cloud-based, end-to-end business management platform. This Includes:

Accounting and Finance

Warehouse Automation

Supply Chain Management

Inventory Tracking

Demand Planning

eCommerce

Without the need to worry about maintaining API connections, both small businesses and large distributors can simplify their strategy. A single platform empowers leading wholesalers to move goods more efficiently, expand their distribution channels, and monitor their performance in real time.

In addition to this, modern platforms that hold information in one place, allow the inclusion of key inventory turnover data with accounting data to build powerful demand planning models and improve inventory turnover.

2. Electronic Data Interfacing (EDI).

EDI is the technical term for connecting the systems of vendor and customer. This interface minimises the amount of manual effort required to manage invoicing and purchase orders. 3PLs or 3rd Party Logistics can also be connected to a transportation management system to automate transfer shipping and delivery information fully. This transformation makes a huge time saver for distribution businesses. Now that back office staff have less paperwork to complete, they can focus their time on differentiating their customer service and improving the business process.

In a world of increasing connectivity, any company that sells products has massive amounts of product data to manage. It is essential to collect and analyse, by example, information provided by vendors such as:

  • materials handling guides
  • wholesale price updates
  • item availability
  • live customer portals.

Recent trends in the wholesale industry show that leading businesses turning to technology are spending less time in their day to day operations. This simplification gives more time to spend on the overall business growth strategy. EDI is one example of how a small wholesale distributor can massively expand its ability to sell products to a broader distribution channel.

3. RF Devices.

RF Devices have been around for a while, and provide a mobile point of data capture to simplify warehouse operations. Traditionally, RF Technology was sometimes attached to inventory management systems but provided limited connection to other platforms such as CRM and Accounting. By siloing this information, the ability for distributors to get real-time, 360-degree visibility of their warehouse operation was limited.

Linking the RF Device technology to a complete business management platform increases the efficiency and accuracy of data collection. This depth in data goes far more extensive than the warehouse floor itself. Through scanning, the level of precision in warehouse operations and data capture increases drastically.  Distributors can expect to upgrade the speed of their pick, pack and ship process, which means, more orders get processed requiring fewer warehouse workers.

A suitable RF software will include inventory processing and control and minimise paperwork in the warehouse. It will also provide live information about bin locations and item availability and speed up item put-aways. Leading distributors who do assembly builds pre-shipping are having better control over the work order management process and have total control of the current status of their work orders.

RF Smart is a Mobile Warehouse Management Solution built on the NetSuite Platform. RF Smart provides users with greater control over their warehouse operations and mobile points of data capture, which all fed directly into the ERP and accounting systems.

Where to from here?

In summary, Wholesalers have more choice than ever when it comes to investing in technology that will improve the efficiency of their processes and the effectiveness of their teams. Simplifying these processes means a growing distribution can take more orders, process them much quicker, and provide a distinguished customer service.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, the customer is king. We are seeing businesses that are taking the time to make this important differentiation are noticing significant improvements in satisfying happy customers and increasing repeating customers.

NetSuite is the world’s leading cloud-based wholesale distribution management solution and has helped thousands of distributors revolutionise their operations and grow. Also, SuiteSuccess Wholesale Distribution Edition provides wholesalers with a pre-configured version of NetSuite that has taken the leading practices of thousands of distributors across the world. SuiteSuccess is a rapid implementation which is seeing customers live with an end-to-end solution in as little as 45 days.

Enquiries about SuiteSuccess?

If you are interested in learning more about SuiteSuccess for Wholesale Distribution, contact one of our experts today for an obligation free discussion.

Download our NetSuite for Wholesale Guide.

Learn more about these three leading technologies and all the modules included in NetSuite Wholesale Distributors Edition with our complete guide: “Transform Your Distribution Business with Software Built for the Cloud.”

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52% Wholesale Distributors Moving to Cloud ERP. Are You?

52% Wholesale Distributors Moving to Cloud ERP. Are You?

Legacy, detached and out-dated solutions used by Australian wholesale distributors create a barrier to innovation and growth. These types of software increase IT costs and reduce business efficiency. A fully integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software offers a complete solution to support wholesalers and distributors to lead, pioneer and differentiate in a newly disrupted industry.

The Wholesale and Distribution market is shrinking.

Inside FMCG magazine in the article: “What is driving wholesale bypass?” talks about the new challenge for wholesalers: e-commerce is reshaping the entire economy rapidly. We are seeing an end to wholesale as it is now. Wholesalers and distributors, who act as “middleman” between manufacturers and retailers, have suffered a weighty decline in revenue. Every day more businesses abandon distributors to use direct e-commerce solutions.

In 2017-18, Australia grocery wholesale revenue is likely to contract 0.6 per cent. Footwear wholesaling profitability has dropped over the past five years and is expected to reduce by a further 3.2 per cent. Online clothing stores weakened the demand in traditional channels, reducing retailer’s need for wholesalers. Their revenue is expected to fall by 1.0 per cent. Toy and sporting goods wholesalers shared the same difficult conditions and expect a 1.4 per cent decline in revenue.

What are leaders in the wholesale and distribution industry doing?

Kara Kennedy, in a blog for G2Crowd titled: “The State of B2B Australia Tech in 2017” wrote that Australia ranks No. 5 on the GEDI’s “Global Entrepreneurship Index.” She explains this high ranking shows that Australian display entrepreneurial attitudes towards technology adoption. This culture is supported by the Australian government’s digital agenda which encourages non-tech companies to pioneer and embrace evolving technologies. There is a big focus on digital innovation. The government aggressively pushes initiatives to include pathways for doing business with modernising technology.

Traditional wholesale distributors, who might be struggling in the Australian market, are called to invest in business management technologies. Pioneers are experiencing much more success in this tight market. In MDM’s survey: “The Outlook for Wholesale Distribution in 2017”, 52.4% of Australian wholesale distribution companies surveyed stated that they were already in the process of upgrading their systems. A further 20.3% was updating by the end of the year 2018.

%

Currently Upgrading Their Systems

%

Will be upgrading by the end of 2018

52% of wholesale distribution businesses are migrating to fully integrated and centralised ERP software solutions. Wholesale distributors in Australia search for specialised software vendors to develop cloud-based software, rather than several disjointed systems.

ERP systems broadly let them manage everything from financials and accounting to warehouse management, supply chain, inventory and demand planning to sales and marketing. Having all their business processes in one place, accessible everywhere in real time allows them to focus on their differentiation strategies and planning.

“There is a real need for wholesale distributors to invest in pioneering management systems. Businesses must address this as a priority. The future is becoming ever more digital. If you aren’t on board, you’ll be left behind. Having a digital platform is not a differentiator anymore, it is the standard. Efficiency and centralisation in a good ERP system, are now the keys to get that customer service differentiator.” says Michael Dean, Business Consultant at Klugo.

Richard Kloé, Managing Director at Headland Machinery, explains: “using NetSuite cloud technology gave us a competitive edge to lead in an incredibly tough market. Wholesale distributors must adapt to the fast and disrupting changes in the industry. Only state-of-the-art wholesale distribution software will give them freedom and ease across multiple channels. Technology like this can make a difference to drive success in a global economy.”

NETSUITE FOR WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTORS

Learn more about NetSuite leading technologies for Wholesale Distributors with our complete guide: “Transform Your Distribution Business with Software Built for the Cloud.”

Benefits of Cloud-Based ERP Software Solutions

Carrying out manual sales processes, financial management and administrative tasks can take hours. With a cloud-based system, time-consuming tasks such as submitting sales orders from the field to the back office can be automated and finished in under an hour. Making these processes faster allows employees and managers to have more time to focus on the real business differentiator: customer relationships and building a strong customer experience. According to Accenture’s “Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement” survey: 81% Australian consumers admit that it is ‘frustrating’ or ‘extremely frustrating’ dealing with a company that does not make it easy to do business with them. 55% have switched providers due to poor customer service.

Cloud-based business platforms are changing the future of Australian businesses. We operate in a global economy – we can sell to anyone anywhere. We need to make the most of our smart inventory management software to help us lead the way in our region.” says Annaliese Kloé, CEO of Klugo and Managing Director of Headland Machinery.

Oracle NetSuite, in 2018, introduced to Australia their latest edition called: “SuiteSuccess” for wholesale distributors. This, out of the box software, puts together the leading practices of thousands of wholesale distributors around the globe. This knowledge base allows a fast implementation, saving time and money for distributors. The billable time spent explaining how to run their business, their accounting and inventory strategies disappears. It is quickly becoming the most affordable wholesale IT solution.

B2B customers act like consumers today: they prefer self-service tools with instant access to product information through their mobile devices. Business Procurement Managers are focussing on developing easy to use e-commerce websites. These managers search for fast or free shipping and immediate product availability. NetSuite is the Wholesale ERP that helps the leading Australian wholesalers to plan a perfect B2B omni-channel commerce customer journey. The platform helps to automate and deliver a consistent shopping experience with purchase orders that ship within a day or two. Businesses can provide sales that are accurate, complete, damage-free, easily returned, and competitively priced.

Running a successful small and medium-sized wholesale distribution business in Australia requires keeping pace with changes in technology, economy, workforce demographics, customer needs, pricing models, and more. These challenges often put distributors at a disadvantage to national or international operations. NetSuite’s SuiteSuccess fast implementation allows Australian business to maximise their investment. With NetSuite, they can see a quick return. With this technology wholesalers are leading within their industry quicker than ever before.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in Wholesale Enterprise Resource Planning System today. Find out how cloud-based technology can grow your wholesale and distribution business.

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Overcome The Most Common Commercial HVAC Contractor Problems

Overcome The Most Common Commercial HVAC Contractor Problems

 Key players in the HVAC industry are those who service commercial and industrial markets, as identified by IBISWorld.

However, it’s a competitive sector that, like any industry, poses problems and challenges for businesses to overcome and remain competitive.

Here’s some of the most common problems encountered in the commercial HVAC industry and how they can be addressed.

 

 

Competition

All you need to do is a quick Google search and you’ll find thousands of HVAC businesses across the country.

Ranging from small businesses with a handful of employees to nationwide chains, it’s a busy and competitive landscape.

There’s always going to be competition in any industry, so it’s all about how you use opportunities to gain that edge.

A couple of simple ways to remain competitive are to ensure that you invest time in your current customers – word of mouth goes a long way.

It’s also important to make sure that your sales and support teams are driving up-sell and cross-sell, going the extra mile and providing unique offerings to customers.

 

%

Don't Use Field Service Software

%

Dont have a CRM

Regular Maintenance

As an HVAC business, ensuring that you offer preventative maintenance programs to your customers is critical to your company’s success.

With regular checkups and service, most problems such as those caused by mechanical wear and tear, can be identified and corrected to save future issues down the line that prevents equipment from performing as it should – and contributes to the all-important end goal of retaining happy customers.

 

Customer Relationships

Customers can get frustrated when their HVAC systems aren’t working properly.

As with many service businesses, HVAC companies have to deal with and manage customer relationships on a regular basis.

It’s important to have solid HVAC service software in place that allows you to quickly view customer records, provide prompt support, improve satisfaction and attract new customers.

This will also help you ensure that your technicians attend service calls promptly and efficiently with the correct equipment for the specific job.

Manage Costs

Investing in transport and specialised equipment is expensive, but they are necessary costs for a commercial HVAC business to pay.

A common issue that commercial HVAC businesses have is locating equipment or stock – and then having to replace or repair it.

With NextService, this easy-to-use field service software provides users with the ability to integrate their back office systems with their other software packages to ensure that assets are tracked, gain visibility into all details, view maintenance schedules, utilisation and more.

 

HVAC Service Software

If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of a one-system HVAC service software solution and how you can easily manage your field service techicians, check out our article about new technology in the HVAC industry.

Alternatively, download the brochure below or get in touch with an expert.

 

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Four Steps to Successful Digital Transformation in Medical Device Distribution

Four Steps to Successful Digital Transformation in Medical Device Distribution

Digital Transformation in Medical Device Distribution

Digital disruption is well and truly underway in the medical device distribution industry, and businesses must reinvent themselves as digital companies to stay ahead and relevant in this ever-evolving market.

New digital tools and technologies on the market are disrupting the usual product-and-service development processes, customer interactions, delivery management, back-office operations and supplier relationships.

Many medical device distribution companies are focusing on new technology to overcome challenges and improve customer relations, minimise costs, streamline operations and better manage changing industry regulations.

We’ve compiled four steps to successful digital transformation in medical device distribution.

Step One: Identify and Prioritise Critical Value Sources

Firstly, businesses determine where they provide value to customers and clarify how the use of digital technologies can enable these activities.

Following this, distributors then need to decide how best to adjust investments in digital technologies and development approaches to meet the highest priorities.

Step Two: Build Service-Delivery Offerings

Medical device distributors are increasingly building and increasing their offerings to expand on their product portfolio and services.

Companies are taking the time to understand user needs in full detail, using real-time insights to reimagine workflows as complete activities to automate processes and personalise outcomes.

For example, real-time supply chain insights could help medical device distributors reduce general and admin costs, while improving customer service.

Step Three: Modernise Business Foundations

When digital priorities have been identified, the next step for medical device distributors is to examine their IT foundations and ask the important question: is your system fully capable of supporting required activities?

Complex legacy systems are often the turning point in companies choosing to go digital. While these systems may have been suitable years ago, nowadays they’re often fragmented, slow and unable to offer transparency in business operations.

To support strategic priorities and agile development approaches, businesses seek to modernise their IT system to build a solid, reliable and flexible platform for quick and easy access to a “single source of truth”.

Step Four: Strengthen Core Capabilities 

Transformations require strong core competencies in several areas of the business.

The winners are those who move quickly to initiate change and embrace new developments and operating models, relying on real-time data driven insights to make crucial business decisions.

It’s the medical device distributors who are reinventing themselves as digital enterprises; adapting and collaborating, and most importantly, keeping up with changes in the industry.

Want to Find Out More?

For more information on digital transformation in medical device distribution, download the brochure below or get in touch with an expert.

Solar Boom Drives The Need For New Technology

Solar Boom Drives The Need For New Technology

Aussie Solar Energy Boom Predicted for 2018

We’re in the midst of a solar energy boom. Analysts say that a record number of solar panels were installed in Australia in 2017 – a total of 9,500 panels installed across the country daily. The sunshine state is fast becoming the “solar state”, with Queensland home to the largest number of residents with solar panels installed in their homes. This trend is expected to continue rising, with residential rooftop solar installations on the up this year. More than 100MW of registrations were recorded in January 2018, delivering the best start to a year ever, according to Renew Economy.

Three Benefits of Solar:

  • Save money on power bills.
  • Increase property value.
  • Reduce carbon footprint.

Why Does The Boom Drive Need For Solar ERP?

IBISWorld reports that the demand for solar is increasing inline with Australia’s growing population. Demand for industry services tends to be greater in areas with larger populations, so it’s not surprising that between Australia’s three largest states – New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, they account for just above 70%  of total installed solar capacity in 2017-18. The solar industry is expanding rapidly, but it faces both business and technology challenges. The nature of the industry is complex; solar installation companies require a broad range of features to be able to manage their entire business processes in one system, in addition to the mobile nature of their workforce. This brings the need for seamless access to systems, whether it’s in the office or out in the field. NetSuite provides solar installation companies with an outstanding solution as it covers every aspect of the business, from sales and marketing, financials and accounting, to job costing, manufacturing and field service.

Equipment Services and Repairs

NextService ensures that equipment service and repairs businesses can run their core business operations with increased efficiency. This field service management system helps you automate and streamline previous manual or labour intensive processes within service administration.

Get in Touch

If you’d like a bit more information, get in touch to speak with one of our experts.

How Smart Equipment Hire Businesses Stay Successful

How Smart Equipment Hire Businesses Stay Successful

There are several advantages to running a business that rents out equipment rather than selling it. There’s room for financial gain, growth, and continued customer relations – but it all comes down to how you go about it. We’ve identified four key factors that enable smart equipment hire businesses to stay successful.

Seize Growth Opportunities 

Hiring equipment may initially get you the customers, but going the extra mile is what makes them stay loyal. It’s likely that your customers will pay more to have your business not only provide the equipment, but help install, service, and maintain it. It’s becoming more common for businesses to offer wider services to save their customers time and money, all while developing repeat business and potential referrals to new customers.

Use a Solid Business Management Tool

IBISWorld identifies the top three success factors for an equipment hire business. With ‘access to efficient technology and techniques’ and ‘ability to quickly adopt new technology’ ranking at one and two, it’s imperative that companies take full advantage of the equipment hire software available to streamline and simplify business processes. Using a cloud-based business management platform allows equipment hire companies to comprehensively manage every process within the business in real-time; from sales, marketing, accounting and finance, inventory management through to field service, resource scheduling. Having a live inventory accessible from any smart device means that admin, data duplication and reporting is kept to a minimum, allowing you to focus on strategy and growing your business.

Mitigate Risk

The simple truth is that your customers are your biggest risk. Of course you need your customers to hire your equipment, but they are capable of breaking or misplacing your equipment, which is your main asset. Ensure that your equipment is fully insured to avoid bigger issues down the line.

Check Your Equipment Regularly

While it may be a no-brainer for many, a small reminder doesn’t hurt. It’s important to make sure that your equipment is regularly checked and serviced, and if something isn’t working properly, it needs to be fixed. Your customers are paying for your equipment, so it’s important that it does the job well and looks the part. Note: If you service the equipment you hire, learn about NextService, our easy-to-use field service management system. Download the brochure below or get in touch with an expert for more information.