Distribution ERP

What Is Distribution ERP?

What is Distribution ERP?

Distribution ERP Helps You:

  • Visualize the entirety of the supply chain
  • Track the physical location of materials and products
  • Streamline order processing
  • Optimize warehouse operations
  • Predict inventory needs
  • Communicate with business partners
  • Manage transportation

Visualize the entirety of the supply chain

Distribution ERP programs allow users to look at the status of the supply chain from the time a sales order is entered to the time a product reaches a customer’s doorstep.

This is done through data collection, graphical analysis and the tracking of physical movement.

Here are some of the basic tools often included in these systems:

  • Financial reporting
  • Inventory management
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Warehouse management
  • Vendor relationship management
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Customer relationship management
  • Sales order management

Track the physical location of materials and products

Distribution ERP often enables users to see the locations of their items and materials in real time through elements such as RFID tracking. This allows for the visualization of objects as they move throughout different warehouse processes and when searching for misplaced items. Some vendors offer the ability to see geographic locations through a map view or world view. This reduces misplaced items and, when coupled with a notification system, can even alert customers as to when to expect a delivery.

Streamline order processing

With distribution ERP, the process of entering and processing sales and purchase orders can be automated and facilitated more quickly. These tools help speed up the processing of transactions and often include standardized document formats to make the process of entering information easier than before. Here are some other order facilitation capabilities to look out for in distribution ERP systems:

  • Order status retrieval
  • Automated payments
  • Automated order processing
  • Return management
  • Advanced shipping
  • Self-service customer and vendor portals
  • Order promising and inventory commitment

Optimize warehouse operations

There’s a huge variety of tasks occurring in a warehouse at any given time, and it can be difficult to ensure that you’re using all of your resources such as labor, machinery, and floor space in the most efficient way possible. Here are some of the warehouse management functions you might consider with distribution ERP:

  • Shipping
  • Kitting
  • Inbound processing
  • Outbound processing
  • Container packing
  • Pick-to-Light (PTL)

Predict inventory needs

Forecasting and demand planning tools give businesses a huge leg-up over their competitors. Some distribution ERP vendors offer planning tools to optimize workflows and reduce factors such as spoilage that can bog down a business. This is especially helpful when coupled with elements such as automated reordering of materials based on user-specified inventory levels. For example, if you predict that you will need 20 cases of toothbrushes in the next two weeks and it takes one week for them to arrive at your facility after placing an order, your system would create an order request in a week to meet the anticipated demand.

Communicate with business partners

Many distribution ERP systems include functionality that allows suppliers and vendors to communicate directly in a centralized location. This reduces transmission errors and ensures that company goals are aligned. Some programs include vendor relationship management functionality that enables users to build and maintain beneficial partnerships with other companies through reminders, shared visualizations and other capabilities.

Manage transportation

Some distribution ERP vendors enable users to visualize the location of vehicles in real time. This may also include a geographic interface that lays over the visualization to provide a more accurate and clearer view of the area in which your vehicles are located. Additionally, some programs include route planning features that determine the optimal driving directions for delivery drivers to get from point A to point B while using minimal gas and minimal time.

How Do I Select a Distribution ERP?

Choosing the correct distribution ERP for your business can greatly optimize your current operations. However, it’s important to keep in mind factors such as your company’s budget, current bottlenecks, and requirements when looking for the program that’s best for you. It can be difficult to determine if a distribution ERP vendor meets all of your needs, which is why we created this distribution ERP requirements checklist to help you keep track of what you’re looking for in a distribution ERP. Or, check out our comparison of some of the biggest names in the game when it comes to distribution ERP: IFS vs. SYSPRO.

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Distribution ERP articles are written and edited by:

Hunter Lowe

Team Lead Editor and Market Analyst

Hunter Lowe is a Team Lead Editor and Market Analyst at SelectHub. He writes content for Construction, Inventory, Warehouse, and Supply Chain Management.

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Distribution ERP Software Features and Requirements Checklist

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Did you know four out of five consumers change their mind about buying a product after reading a negative review online? And since there’s not a lot businesses can do to take down bad reviews, providing great service is one of the first lines of defense against them. This makes distribution support, a core type of ERP functionality, even more important in the digital age. Distribution software is critical for getting products out to your customer base in the most efficient and accurate way possible.

These systems manage the supply chain operations that support the final distribution of goods. But what should you be looking for when shopping for a new system? To help you answer this question, we’ve created a checklist of popular distribution ERP software features and requirements. Use it to create your own list of requirements to help you find a solution perfect for your company.

SelectHubDistribution ERP Software Features and Requirements Checklist
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IFS vs Syspro: Which Distribution ERP Software Is The Winner?

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Your distribution ERP should unify your network, increase visibility and improve efficiency to reduce costs. So you might’ve thought to compare IFS vs SYSPRO, two leading vendors that supply enterprise software for distributors. And while they’re both excellent systems that can provide the benefits listed above, they have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the needs of your business, one distribution software vendor will be more effective for your business than the other.

We know software selection can be complicated, so to save you some time we’ve gone into detail comparing these two solutions and identified which has the advantage for each feature. As you get closer to making a final decision, the margin for doubt gets slimmer and slimmer. With our comparison, you can be confident the software you choose is the right one for your business.

Kim O'ShaughnessyIFS vs Syspro: Which Distribution ERP Software Is The Winner?
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Best Cloud Distribution Software For The Next Year

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Distributors have a tough job — whether it be coordinating with vendors, measuring inventory or preparing efficient shipping methods, the process is extremely detailed and is prone to human error. Fortunately, there are cloud distribution software options available to help coordinate operations among your staff, vendors and customers.

Lindsey JenkinsBest Cloud Distribution Software For The Next Year
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Future of Distribution ERP Software for 2020 and Beyond

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Disruptions within the supply chain industry are growing in number and size. If you think you haven’t already been affected by disruption, you haven’t been paying attention. The problem with combatting disruption is that distribution requirements rarely stay still — they’re never static. As economies shift and develop, so too do the most efficient methods of delivery. While distribution software can end up contributing to this frenetic pace of change, it’s also a secret weapon for warehouses and distribution centers.

Lindsey JenkinsFuture of Distribution ERP Software for 2020 and Beyond
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Wholesale Distribution Software: The Best Recommendations For Your Business

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For wholesale distributors, the benefits of implementing software can feel like going from struggling to make instant noodles every night to delivering a five-course meal with ease. I’ll state the obvious — distributors have a tough job to do. Implementing wholesale distribution software can make the range of workflows that you deal with daily much simpler, so you can go from working extra hard to complete a smaller amount of tasks to automating functions and conducting more business than before. Sounds pretty great, right? It is. However, choosing the right solution and determining the functionality that you need out of your software program is key in order to actually reap the benefits associated with these systems.

Lindsey JenkinsWholesale Distribution Software: The Best Recommendations For Your Business
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Distribution Strategy: Choosing Among The Cutting Edge Distribution Strategies

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So you’ve sold a product or service. Congratulations! Sales are key to revenue and happy employees. However, you will only gain repeat customers if you effectively deliver a product and ensure that users can receive item information easily. This is done by using a distribution strategy (while effectively leveraging distribution software) that aligns with your business needs.

There are two main distribution strategies: direct and indirect. In this article, we will explore the intricacies related to both of these methods, how to choose the best strategy for your business, and some ways to improve the selection and distribution processes.

Lindsey JenkinsDistribution Strategy: Choosing Among The Cutting Edge Distribution Strategies
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Distribution Software for Small Businesses: Benefits and Features

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Many businesses streamline their operations by using distribution software. Small business use of this technology was historically minimal due to the robust abilities and the high cost associated with distribution ERP tools. Fortunately, as software industries have changed and more solutions have become available, distribution ERP software has become a viable option for small businesses.

Distribution software for small businesses can help clients get orders out on time, track shipments and follow-up with customers. Many solutions allow you to customize your program with your specific business needs in mind. Changes in available pricing models and deployment strategies are some of the factors that are making this tool more readily accessible to small businesses.

Lindsey JenkinsDistribution Software for Small Businesses: Benefits and Features
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Import and Export Compliance with Distribution ERP

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For any company that distributes goods internationally, import/export compliance is a top concern. Import/export laws, standards and guidelines in various countries around the world add to complexity for these types of business processes. Customs work, accommodation of international taxes and tariffs, and significant documentation requirements often make importing and exporting rather labor-intensive.

SelectHubImport and Export Compliance with Distribution ERP
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