ERP Insights

Why the Future of Distribution is in the Cloud

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Distribution and the Cloud 1

Cloud ERP can offer a distribution business competitive advantages in the market by exceeding the capabilities of an on-premise ERP software package. If you're striving to outshine your competitors, Cloud ERP could be the solution you've been searching for. In this article, we provide a benefits analysis to help you decide if it aligns with your business requirements.

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The distribution industry is undergoing massive changes, unlike anything it’s experienced before. Budgets are being squeezed, labor shortages are severe, and supply chains are under fire. At the same time, the distribution industry is learning to adapt at lightning speed to stay competitive in the market. The changing landscape of the industry means Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems should be a part of any small-to-medium-sized distribution company’s long-term growth strategy. ERP systems allow a distribution company to get a 360-degree view of the business, bringing together sales, inventory, marketing, finance, and more. They’ve become an integral part of the distribution landscape and have been the main driver in the digitalization of distribution.

Many distributors have already integrated an ERP system into their workflow. If they haven’t, it’s likely in their budget for the upcoming year. But growth-minded companies are looking beyond the basic ERP software. They’ve turned their focus to the benefits of adopting cloud-based ERP software. Moving beyond the basic capabilities of an on-premise ERP software package, the cloud can give a company distinct competitive advantages in the market. Learn what they are, why you should care about them, and how to find the right cloud-based ERP software for your distribution company

The Benefits of Cloud-Based ERP Software

Data is king. That’s now the mantra of almost every industry, including distribution and manufacturing. Access to data matters because it can provide a business with key insights on areas of weakness, strength, and opportunity. Using the right data, you can analyze what’s working – and what isn’t – within the company and take immediate action on those numbers.

ERP systems are excellent at providing a comprehensive view of that data, showing you how one area of the company is directly impacting another. Cloud-based ERP systems take it a step further by providing instantaneous data, so you can respond even faster to issues or customer demands. Powerful tools within the ERP software can also help you analyze that data, giving deeper insight into all levels of the business.

Plus, when everything is in the cloud, it’s easy to get these data updates from every department, no matter their location. That means an off-site team can keep the home office updated just as easily and quickly as an on-site team. Below are more specific features as to how the right cloud ERP System can help your distribution enterprises move forward.

1. Reduce your operational costs.

Cloud-based ERP software can provide you with detailed reports on the business. You can track your expenses, losses, and ROI – with reports that are updated to the second. You’ll also be able to create KPI reports, giving you a chance to analyze performance and make decisions about what is and isn’t working.

Some ERP systems offer data visualization using real-time data sets, meaning you can react in real-time to what’s happening within the company. This allows you to address issues right away instead of allowing them to drain your budget, without your visibility to an issue. Artificial intelligence can even take the data from within your ERP software and help you predict trends, allowing you to further minimize the financial impact of events.

Most cloud-based ERP software companies offer a better-than 99% uptime rate, too. That means you end up losing less money (and customers) to expensive downtimes.

2. Provide a higher standard of customer service.

When you have access to instant data, you can share that information with your customers. Your team can check on the status of an order, access CRM information, and ensure payments from anywhere. An ERP system will combine the back-office information with customer-facing departments, getting everyone (including your customer) on the same page.

When your ERP software operates in the cloud, that data is securely available anywhere you have an internet connection. Your team can check information from a mobile phone out in the field as easily as they can access information from their PC on-site. That means customers never have to wait to get the information they need to make another purchasing decision.

Cloud services are more secure and more reliable than on-premise software, too. You’ll experience less downtime and won’t have to make customers wait for a service to come back online before they get the answers they need. 

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3. Scale your business as and when you need to.

One of the greatest strengths of cloud computing is easy scalability. Scaling on-premise software often means more licenses, more hardware, and more output of capital to make it happen. Cloud ERP software allows you to easily scale without draining your budget. As your company grows, your software can grow, too.

That goes the other way, as well. If you ever need to scale your business back because of a lack of industry demand, you can do that without wasting any time, money, or internal resources. The software can grow or shrink to meet your needs, and it can do it almost instantaneously. 

It’s easier to scale streamlined processes, too. ERP software allows you to automate many of the processes used in business. Thanks to the cloud, you can then share those processes company-wide. That keeps everyone on the same page in terms of process, reporting, and data.

Want to learn more about the benefits of cloud-based ERP software? Check out Digital Transformation in Distribution now. 

How to Find the Right Cloud-Based ERP Software

As more small-to-medium-sized businesses embrace cloud-based ERP software, ERP system companies are creating cloud-based software solutions. That means there are a lot of innovative software options out there for distribution companies. While choice is always a welcome thing, it can make the process of choosing the right ERP software difficult. 

To find the right software solution, you’ll need to consider what your company really needs. Is CRM an absolute must-have? Do you need materials management like BOM or MRP? Would you prefer an integrated payroll system? 

Start comparing cloud ERP software solutions for Distribution, and see what makes sense for your business. Or let us help by providing customized ERP System recommendations based on your exact needs. With the right cloud system in place, your enterprise will be ready for growth and success in the years ahead.

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