Distributors of electrical goods can leverage new generation technology to grow and more efficiently run their operations, according to Epicor Software Corporation regional vice president ANZ Greg O’Loan.
There are increased challenges in this fast-moving industry with products getting more sophisticated and complex. Among the issues are: managing supply and demand effectively, addressing issues like obsolescence, and having the resources to remain a trusted advisor for customers who are looking to distributors to make their lives easier.
Technology can play a big part in this, helping distributors to meet the needs of customers by automating workflows and processes, increasing mobility and visibility, and speeding up decision making.
‘Digital transformation’ is a key factor in the sustainability and success of businesses in many industries.
Greg says: “To get it right, it’s important to focus digital transformation efforts on new-generation technology that can deliver better access to data and insights. A modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution provides unprecedented access to data, integrates with other business systems, and gives powerful insights that can help drive business performance.”
For example, an ERP solution can facilitate online, searchable sales catalogues that can replace printed versions which cost money and will quickly become out of date.
The next step could see a distributor add eCommerce capabilities to its online catalogue letting customers purchase on the spot. This automation allows sales representatives to spend more time with customers who have more complex requirements.
Digital transformation can also tackle the issue of obsolescence.
Greg explains: “When new versions of products are released frequently, it can be hard to keep up with the latest offerings. Moreover, if a customer has ordered a large amount of a superseded product, it can hurt their bottom lines as they struggle to move their inventory.”
An ERP system can help to forecast the amount of inventory a customer may require and recommend ideal purchase amounts. This can be invaluable for retailers who may be unsure of demand levels for certain products.
With access to accurate, real-time information in a modern ERP solution, distributors of electrical goods can improve operational efficiencies and fast realise the results in their bottom line.
Greg adds that digital transformation doesn’t have to cost the world either.
“The availability of cloud-based solutions means that these organisations can access the features and functionality they need from modern ERP solutions without having to buy the entire solution in a single, risky investment. Instead, they can pick the features they want and add further functionality to support and drive business growth.”