Your wholesale distribution business is growing. It is a chaotic time and your employees are stretched to their limits. But, before you act on your instinct to hire additional staff (or run for the woods), consider investing in wholesale distribution software instead.
Fully integrated wholesale distribution software provides automation capabilities, greater visibility of data, and increased communication making it a transformative and cost-saving investment to manage business growth and alleviate workload pressure for drowning employees. This enables a business to delay or even replace the need for additional staff.
Now, if you’re a smaller wholesale business, your employees are few and job titles/roles are frequently not clearly defined. Many employees wear several different hats – your Warehouse Manager may also take on the hands-on responsibilities of receiving, picking, packing and shipping or your Accountant may also be your Financial Controller. Wholesale distribution software gives these employees new functionality to handle multiple responsibilities without added effort.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the functionality available in wholesale distribution software and the benefits it has on these merged roles:
Role: Warehouse Manager
In a large-scale wholesale distribution business, there are numerous employees and job roles in the warehouse department. However, in a smaller setting, you may only have one or two resources available to fulfil warehouse operations resulting in them taking on additional roles and responsibilities in the areas of shipping, receiving and inventory management. With a rapidly growing business, you run the risk of exhausting these over-tasked personnel. Distribution software improves speed and accuracy by automating workflows which frees up time for employees to take on more value-adding tasks.
- Provides real-time data to show inventory quantities available, allocated and valuation.
- Uses real-time information to control costs across the entire supply chain.
- Wireless barcode scanning automates picking, packing, shipping and receiving.
- Eliminates the need for paper, reduces manual entry and errors and saves time by locating product according to bin and shelf location.
- Improve inventory management with replenishment capabilities according to minimum inventory levels for efficient order fulfilment.
- Easily create and send purchase orders.
- Ability to display future quantity availability based on items on backorder.
- Default pricing from vendor records or last purchase.
- Print, fax or email purchase orders.
- Linked sales orders with backorders are automatically updated by received POs.
- Vendor payment history – provides detailed history of payments made against invoices and discounts taken.
- Alternate vendor payments – for credit cards, and for transferring liabilities from one vendor to another.
- Consolidated picking enables warehouse workers to create consolidated pick sheets based on released orders.
- Picking is managed from a separate user interface when shipping items in an order-by-order environment.
This is another key role in your wholesale distribution business. In a small to medium-size business environment, this individual is responsible for more than basic accounting – he or she may also take on the role of CFO and Financial Controller etc.
- Streamline and automate day-to-day accounting and financial operations eliminating slow, error-prone manual processes.
- Collections screen – reduces collection period, eliminates paper and includes ability to email PDF invoice copies and statements.
- Detailed or summary aging – current or retroactive.
- Payment history report – shows how payments previously received were applied to outstanding invoices.
- Customer groups – facilitates head office / branch scenarios where head office pays branch invoices.
- Automates recurring transactions.
- Sales tax remittance screen for reconciling and paying sales taxes.
- Ability to gain a holistic view of expenditure to set realistic budgets.
- Easily oversee and provide guidance on complex tax issues.
- Flexible and automated reporting tools with the ability to live link data to Excel to gain quick insight into financial data.
- Integrated and comprehensive business intelligence capabilities.
- Prepare and record a sales budget and advise purchasing and logistics.
As the CEO or owner of your wholesale business, you know that on any given day you could just as easily take on any of the above-stated roles. You are sales, CFO, operations, shipping and receiving and more. With a rapidly growing business, it can be difficult to focus on cultivating internal processes. With wholesale distribution software, there is better alignment between departments/job functions which allows executives and employees more time to focus on revenue and customers. As an all-in-one system, it is easier to delegate tasks to the appropriate employees and develop a collaborative work environment to improve efficiency.
- Keep track of contact information for customers, vendors and prospects through a single point of entry.
- Track an unlimited number of contacts associated with an unlimited number of companies.
- Customer Relationship Management – quick search contacts by company code, company name, contact name, phone number etc.
- View centralized quotes, open orders and posted invoices.
- Lead Opportunity Management – track leads/prospects through a comprehensive sales cycle, set statuses, next action dates, appointments and more.
- Track all detailed communications.
The dizzying pace of your growing wholesale business can overwhelm even the most capable person in your organization. Prematurely increasing your headcount can cost you more money in the long run when compared to the benefits of investing in wholesale distribution software. However, additional skillsets may be required for the advanced functionality of the software such as integrated accounting capabilities. However, adopting new software will still reduce the need for hiring additional employees and creating new roles for your current processes.