One of the main benefits, if not the main benefit, of wholesale distribution software, is the ability to automate processes, reducing manual work and decreasing costs. Moving from accounting software, Excel spreadsheets or multiple, standalone solutions to an all-in-one system is the first step in increasing efficiencies across your entire business operation. Moving from introductory software to a more robust solution requires a lot of resources, but once you’re familiar and comfortable using the new solution, there are many creative ways in which you can automate processes across all business departments. There are also a couple of obvious areas where you can automate processes from the get-go to immediately see positive results.
Accounts receivable turnover is the number of times that your company collects its average accounts receivable per year. This is important as it indicates how well you’re able to issue credit to customers and how quickly you can collect funds which directly relates to your cash flow. Automating the process of accounts receivable reduces the amount of admin time it takes to collect from customers and helps to increase cash flow and your turnover ratio. With wholesale distribution software, you can automate the accounts receivable process by setting criteria in the system based on a customer’s account. If a customer meets those criteria, the system will automatically email the customer information about their overdue account, providing details on how to submit payment. This saves your team from hours of manual work reviewing accounts and notifying customers.
If you’re not automating the process of managing website orders, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to save costs and reach more customers. Website automation starts with integration between your existing websites and back-end wholesale distribution software. For wholesale businesses, this can include integration with a B2B online order portal, integration with a customer-facing B2C store, integration with vendor portals, and/or integration with marketplaces such as Amazon. With real-time bi-directional integration, when a customer places an order online, it automatically creates a sales order in your wholesale distribution solution for picking, packing and shipping. It also automatically updates inventory levels across systems. When you receive new inventory items into your warehouse and wholesale distribution software, the information automatically publishes online so that customers can see available inventory in real-time. eCommerce integration allows you to automate various aspects of the online order process and eliminates the need to hire additional people for data entry when order volume increases.
Automating the shipping process with wholesale distribution software gives you the ability to update an account, create an invoice or another report, email a customer, and print documents all with the change of a status or other pre-determined action. This means that once you have finished packing boxes for an order, you can change the status to “shipped” and your wholesale distribution software will automatically print a packing slip as well as any box labels and email the customer with the invoice and tracking information. There are various other ways to automate the shipping process depending on your specific warehouse layout, and method for picking, packing and shipping.
Without a regular review of business metrics, it is impossible to know how your company is performing and even harder to identify new opportunities or threats. Automating the reporting process is a simple task that can have significant impacts. Not only can you automatically email reports to appropriate stakeholders regularly, you can also email exception reports showing anomalies in the system. This means that when something out of the ordinary happens, the right people will be notified immediately to address the situation, instead of waiting to spot issues during quarterly or year-end reviews.