Are You Using the Right Distribution Technology Combination?

Have you ever wondered what tools and technologies the top distributors are using to improve their service and operation? While it may seem like they are using specialized technology to maintain their impressive shipping turnaround times and capture market growth, the truth of the matter is they are most likely just using tools within your reach to make the distribution process more efficient and streamlined. The top distributors don’t need fancy technology or equipment; they don’t have the money to waste or the time to spend learning it.

Distribution “must-haves” aren’t complicated or hard to get. In fact, when it comes right down to it, the success of a distribution operation begins and ends with these three things: access to important data and information, automation, and quality inventory management. That’s all distribution’s need to run a quality, high-performing distribution center.

Really, that’s it.

Incorporating the Three Distribution “Must-Haves” into Your Operation

The idea of having access to important data and information, automation tools, and quality inventory management strategies is nothing new. What is new, however, is the technology used to sustain these 3 core areas. Take a look at how distributors are using three key technologies to improve their service and operation:

1. Business intelligence. Business intelligence can pull and manipulate your data in ways your customized reports and Excel spreadsheets never will. With easy to use dashboards that inform you of your distribution status in real-time, business intelligence provides distributors with the ability to see what’s going on and plan ahead for the future. Whether you are interested in what order should be picked next or how your productivity is running, the answer can be found in business intelligence. Add this to your distribution ERP software package, and you will have all the information you need to move your company forward.

2. Automation Technology. The key to fast and accurate ship times is directly tied to your efficiency. If your distribution process is riddled with duplicate and manual processes, they are holding up other areas of the operation and contributing to longer order fulfillment times. With automation technology, either in the form of barcoding, mobile solutions, or voice picking, distributors can eliminate bottlenecks in the process, improve their efficiency, and deliver products to their customers much faster.

3. Quality Inventory Management. In the area of inventory management, you cannot afford to skimp. Inventory is one of the most complicated and costly areas of your business, and lack of attention to detail can hurt your company more than you think. Overstock and understock situations are more harmful to your business than you thinking, leading to higher inventory costs and delayed order fulfillment. In order to have the insight you need to know what products to have on hand and when, you need a quality inventory management solution that can be integrated directly into your ERP software.

Quality inventory management solutions, along with business intelligence and automation tools, can transform your distribution operation. With a little time and devotion to these three areas of your operation, you can build a top-performing distribution center in no time.

Interested in learning more about the technology you need to manage your distribution company well? Give us a call at (803) 252-6154 or send us an email today. Our distribution experts would be more than happy to discuss your needs.

Lacking the basic software you need to run your distribution operation? Download our whitepaper, “How to Choose a Distribution System.”