As Q1 is coming to an end, it feels like time is passing us by. But, salon & cosmetic distributors still have the ability to grow their wholesale business this year with just the right amount of planning and time commitment. With online sales taking the world by storm, there is an emphasized need to streamline and connect all business selling channels including orders taken by phone, email, online marketplaces such as Amazon or your own eCommerce website. If there is a disconnect, you’ll notice a stunt in your business growth. SMBs around the world are asking the question “Is my business running as efficiently as it could?” If the answer is no, it can be difficult to know what the next steps are to grow your Salon & Cosmetic distribution business.
There are three main steps distributors can take:
- Planning For the Road Ahead
- Analyzing Your Current Processes
- Acquiring What You Need
Planning For the Road Ahead
Keeping up with change can be difficult if you don’t have the right software in place to support these changes. For example, if your Salon & Cosmetic distribution business really took off 10 years ago and you implemented introductory software, you may be missing out on what new technology can offer you such as EDI translation, Barcode Scanning via Bluetooth technology, and eCommerce Integration.
With that prediction, is your business prepared? Business owners have a lot to think about and should be focusing their time on tasks related to growing the business. Having ERP software – Enterprise Resource Planning Software – will help your team streamline manual processes prone to human error and take care of the backend while you can focus on building business relationships with customers, vendors, suppliers, and partners.
Creating a list of paint points is a great way to visualize what areas of the business need to be revitalized. Maybe it’s the warehouse that needs a better picking and packing process, accounting that needs a conveniently auditable system or maybe it’s even your retail team who needs a POS system integrated with the backend to show real-time inventory levels. Believe it or not, ERP software is the answer to all those concerns.
Analyzing Your Current Processes
Your Salon & Cosmetic distribution business is made up of many departments. Your accounting department, salespeople, and warehouse workers are just a few examples of the areas of business that make up your company. Take a look at each department and analyze whether that team is following the best processes for growth. While your warehouse team may be able to push out 10-15 orders a day, with barcode technology such as Blue Link’s Mobile Scanning App, it becomes much easier and faster for a team member to pick a sales order or receive a purchase order.
Blue Link's Mobile Scanning App Demo - watch in full screen!
There are many other areas of the business that could also benefit from automation. Management who starts their day with a dashboard full of reports have a better understanding of productivity and deficiencies. For example, with good reporting and analytics tools, you will be able to understand your inventory levels and determine if you have any dead stock. Figuring out what to do with the dead stock is the next step. You could either get rid of that stock by having a big warehouse sale, give it away for free OR include the dead stock in a new special occasion kit (combined with products that do sell well) such as a Mother’s Day Gift Basket. Kitting is definitely a feature to look out for.
Check out this blog to learn more about how kitting can help your business grow: How To Expand Your Product Line With Kitting
Acquire What You Need to Start Expanding
Earlier in the post, I mentioned how ERP software was the answer to a lot of the issues listed and it’s true. If you’re finding that your main issue has to do with automating processes, streamlining operations and finding a solution that can do it all, ERP is what you need to look for, but look for one that is suitable for your business now, and can grow with your business without the need for another switch a few years later. An ERP solution that is the right fit means that your salespeople (in-store or not), warehouse employees, accounting department, and management can all be using the same system and have access to the same information. You will have the ability to restrict certain functionality to specific people but for example, information relating to inventory levels will be up-to-date in real-time for everyone to see. No need to integrate with introductory accounting software such as QuickBooks! Implementing an ERP solution that has the ability to grow with your business means ensuring the system connects all areas of your business from Brick & Mortar stores to a B2B online order portal.
Download our Salon & Cosmetics Distribution Software Buying Guide for insight into what specific functionality you should be looking for. It also talks about how ERP software can assist your business should you have to deal with a product recall.