Wholesale enterprise resource planning (ERP) and sales order management have undergone many changes in the past few decades - some of which have changed the face of how wholesale distributors do business. Sales order management software is becoming more advanced than ever, and the future holds improved streamlined communications like never before. Additionally, the introduction of new data storage methods like the cloud change the way that businesses in every industry look at ERP systems. While wholesalers have earned a reputation of being slow to implement new technologies, the motto of the next five years is, “Look, then leap!”
Of course, researching options and possible effects to business are always necessary, but the biggest trend is that wholesalers who want to stay ahead of their competition need to understand the need to implement changes - and to do it quickly. That means not in 18 months or next quarter, but whenever line-of-business managers truly need that functionality. Think days. For many wholesalers, it can be difficult to keep pace, but changing the way you look at implementation will show you how important it is to your business. Here are just a few predictions for where wholesale ERP and sales order management are headed in the next five years so you can be ahead of the curve.
Despite what you’ve heard, the cloud may not be a necessity
There’s a lot of buzz about businesses switching over to the cloud, and it’s for good reason. The cloud options incredible data-storage options and IT savings that enormously benefit tons of businesses in many industries. However, making the move over to the cloud for worried wholesalers may not be a necessity. With the introduction of ERP and sales order management systems that offer options for both cloud-based and non-cloud-based systems, it’s possible to pick and choose whether to make the switch or not, depending on your business needs. This is good news for those who still want to the power to make a choice in how their data is stored.
Global teams make remote support necessary
Gone are the times when wholesalers could rely on local relationships with manufacturers and sales reps. Now, globalization is changing the way we sell. It’s vital to invest in remote support options, train staff in proper online meeting etiquette, and ensure your sales teams have the proper software to communicate with each other no matter where they are. Prepare to look at your business as one that isn’t tethered to the ground - your employees should be able to work no matter where they are.
Online ordering is no longer optional
Every wholesaler must invest in an online wholesale ordering software that not only offers product information, but high-quality photos, details such as inventory in stock and time to ship, and options to contact the wholesaler directly if needed.
The threat of disintermediation will change everything
As disintermediation becomes a bigger threat to wholesale distributors, it’s necessary to offer more than just providing products. In order to set themselves apart from the retailers who are at risk for going straight to the manufacturer, wholesalers must provide more services to handle logistic fulfillment, customer service, and value-added services. ERP systems that allow clients to access important product information so they can serve themselves will make this easier on wholesalers and make the experience better for buyers. Additionally, investing in ERP systems that can accommodate exceptions and include extra services is necessary to wholesalers.
Today’s technology will lead to streamlined workflow through increased transparency on every level of the supply chain. By making it possible to see all customers, suppliers, and operations data at a moment’s glance, work will be less fragmented and more effective. Overall, the changes to come are resoundingly positive as long as wholesalers prepare to make the moves necessary to advance.