In our previous four posts, we’ve looked at what Aberdeen Research has learned by surveying wholesalers and distributors about their use of ERP in the management and operation of their firms. In our series, we’ve highlighted key pressures on these firms, key decision drivers, strategic actions these firms are taking, and in our most recent post, trends that show how companies are best utilizing ERP today.
In today’s fifth and final post on the topic, we briefly reprise Aberdeen’s “Key Findings and Recommended Actions”.
Aberdeen reveals two brief conclusion sets – one for “Followers” (defined earlier as the bottom two-thirds in terms of operational performance in four key areas) and one for “Leaders” (the top third). Their conclusions…
“Follower” Steps to a Successful ERP Strategy include:
- Provide decision makers with automatic notifications. “Managing to exceptions only is not necessarily a good idea.” Immediate notification about key events and conditions allows for proactive management. Leaders are 85% more likely to do this!
- Continuously improve. It simply leads to better performance.
- Plan and forecast demand. Leaders are 1.5 times more likely to have this ability, and Followers need to attain this capability. Errors here lead to missed opportunities or increased costs, and distribution, as an industry, is particularly susceptible to miscalculations here.
“Leader” Steps to a Successful ERP Strategy include:
- Enable mobile access to ERP. It’s a 24/7, web-enabled, mobile business environment. Make agile decisions, combat adverse events and grab strategic opportunities by giving decision-makers all-the-time access to information.
- Measure returns on investment. More firms are beginning to do it, and Leaders gain profit advantage by doing so. Fine-tune your ERP by recognizing its flaws, and build improvements in. The cost-savings over time will pay for it.
- Look to wholesale and distribution specific modules and extensions of ERP. Requirements planning, warehousing and forecasting capabilities optimized for distribution enable managers to gain further operational control and greater visibility over their business – and to capture the profits that follow.
We hope you’ve profited from this series of posts. ERP today is a critical strategic tool for any SMB in the distribution business. Neglect the lessons of either the Followers or the Leaders cited in this series at your own peril.
Any way you slice it: ERP systems today are one of the best – and most mission-critical – investments any firm can make.
And one final time, to give credit where due: You can access the full report here for free (according toAberdeen, “a $399 value”)
DO YOU HAVE questions or comments about ERP in the distribution environment? Drop us your comments and questions below… we’ll be sure to respond. And thank you for your attention!