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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