Doing business in a global economy demands a high degree of flexibility. It’s not uncommon for a distributor to have to manage orders and payments in different currencies, tax rates and government regulations, as well as fulfill and ship products across international borders. Additionally, most companies, regardless of size, are no longer based in one location and there is a need to provide anytime, anywhere access to real-time data on transactions, accounts and shipments. Unfortunately to meet these requirements, distributors are often forced to piece together multiple applications including order management, CRM, inventory management(opens in new tab), accounting, etc.
Distributors desperately need to integrate and automate all of the business processes and data to support expansion abroad, and to ensure cost-effective, and profitable operations. Specifically, distributors face three common obstacles that threaten to prevent growth and profitability:
Lack of intelligent demand forecasting. Without integration of the inventory systems to sales, finance and Ecommerce(opens in new tab), it's impossible to accurately predict product demand. That in turn leads to lost sales on one side, and excess inventory on the other.
Inability to manage inventory efficiently and profitably. Responding to demand requires rapid increases or decreases in inventory. This is nearly impossible to achieve without the ability for automated re-ordering, triggered by increased demand, and dynamic replenishment of items. Likewise, efficient inventory management requires the ability to analyze which products are the most profitable to stock.
Lack of differentiation in the market. To stand out in commodity markets, where price is often the only differentiator, distributors must define their market strengths and analyze which of its customers are most profitable. Leveraging that information, the business can then focus on those services and product features that its more profitable customers value the most.
Increasingly, the only practical answer is to move to unified, integrated cloud-based platforms that incorporate key systems—Ecommerce, financial management, CRM, sales forecasting, demand planning(opens in new tab), supply chain and inventory management, and warehouse systems—and enable processes and data to flow across the enterprise. Software such as NetSuite's cloud-based Wholesale Distribution Edition is the type of integrated platform that can support global distribution and the many complex processes and details that are part of every transaction.
For a tour of key functionalities in NetSuite Wholesale Distribution Edition(opens in new tab), including cycle counting, demand planning, inventory management, lead-to-cash integration, Ecommerce and reporting functionality designed specifically for wholesale distributors, watch a recording of this webinar Product Demo: NetSuite for Wholesale Distribution Companies(opens in new tab).
-Ranga Bodla, Director, Industry Marketing, Wholesale Distribution and Manufacturing at NetSuite