The dynamics of consumer buying behavior, both in business and commercial sectors, are changing dramatically. This is leading to a shift in shipping and procurement processes. Change can be attributed to a growing number of buyers making purchases online. The added convenience is driving demand for countless new distribution software functions, features, and abilities.
For distributors, aggregate market demands have become widely personalized. This requires the movement of highly specialized inventory straight to the consumer rather than conventional bulk shipping to stores. For many, this is causing a lot of logistical and distribution shifts that are realigning the way many companies are doing business today. This means a change in distribution software and technology is is on the horizon for many.
The infographic above illustrates the agenda of many modern distributors. In a recent study by Modern Distribution Management — a market researcher for distribution enterprises — over 200 distribution enterprise executives were asked to discuss industry expectations for 2015. The majority of respondents expected the industry to grow at least 10 percent in the next 12 months. The study also suggested that many also required new technologies, a highly skilled labor force, and more capacity in order to meet demands.
The Datix Top Five Executive Priorities:
Increase Revenue through Automation
Distributors everywhere are consistently pinching margins as a result of high direct costs and smaller inventory delivery. Many distributors are shipping at capacity, making smaller runs, more frequently. In addition, several federal mandates require additional log information from carriers. Regardless of shipping size, variable and administrative costs still run at a premium. Streamlined automation of processes will eliminate many manual compliance-reporting steps and revamp logistical routings; which lessens the impact of volatile shipping frequency and drastically improves capacity.
To keep up with an increasing online market share, distributors will need to invest in ecommerce if they expect to take part in any of the 10 percent growth this year. This involves developing a highly functional, easy navigation center-point of purchase for B2B and retail prospects. It also entails making the site sophisticated enough to host an array of operating platforms, as more consumers move through the buying process from separate smart devices.
Drivers work remote and need access to real time supply chain information from smart devices. This added functionality improves route planning, handling credentials, shipping modifications, and inventory management. Properly configuring an ERP system and other distribution software to meet these needs can eliminate many inefficient processes; which cause capacity to shrink and nonconformance to occur.
Distributors have begun to revise business processes in their distribution software to streamline procurement and shipping information directly to the buyers. This visibility increases customer retention and improves satisfaction ratings overall.
Tech-Smart Labor Force
The majority of distributors are experiencing an aging labor force, with limited to no qualified replacements. The lack of a skilled workforce —coupled with a minimalist number of applicants for job openings and high employee turnover —are adding intrinsic costs to bottom lines. Automating cumbersome processes, such as manual entry or re-entry of SKUs, compliance logs, and account look up can improve job requirements and attractiveness. It also allows employees to focus wholly on the tasks at hand rather than increasing downtime and loss of capacity.
Interested in distribution software can be deployed or integrated into your environment to increase distribution capacity and prevent revenue loss? Contact our Datix distribution software implementation and business process modeling experts today.