The ROI of Cloud-Based ERP Technology

Cloud capabilities enable you to cost effectively extend your reach to new customers and grow.

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ERP technology is the first and most important investment that distributors need to make as they embark on transforming their business operations. By unlocking capabilities and eliminating roadblocks associated with hardware-dependent infrastructure, ERP becomes the foundation of your digital transformation. For the first time, all your departments can work and collaborate on a single, integrated infrastructure.

Make Better Decisions Faster

Through cloud-based ERP, siloes and manual recordkeeping are eliminated, especially if you’re moving from a combination of old systems, manual processes, and disconnected spreadsheets. Business managers gain a 360-degree view of their processes and operations, providing data insights that enable them to quickly identify issues, improve efficiency, and make more timely and accurate decisions.

Grow Faster Through Integrated e-Commerce

Cloud capabilities enable you to cost effectively extend your reach to new customers and grow. Integrated eCommerce and site-based sales operations enables you to transact business with your customers irrespective of in-person hours of operations at your location(s).

Customers can not only buy products 24x7, but also check inventory, product prices or the status of their orders. As a result, you can successfully compete and win against larger distributors, as well as manufacturers who may be trying to sell direct in your local area. You can also charge premium pricing or increase customer loyalty by offering same day order and shipment by implementing an automated wireless warehouse.

Add New Lines of Business

If you want to add a value-added maintenance service to your business (or already have such a service but are managing it manually), you can use the cloud ERP solution to build or scale business that includes tracking maintenance schedules, dispatch of workers, and managing warranties—just like your largest competitors.

Streamline Back Office Operations and Improve Customer Service

Advanced capabilities in inventory management, warehousing, and pricing optimization allow you to provide more value-added services to your customers.

Optimize your inventory by identifying slow and fast-moving SKUs, and apply demand forecasts to set optimal minimum/maximum levels to improve inventory turns and reduce over/under stock. Manage and track manufacturer rep orders and scheduled sales orders (with multiple releases to align with your customers’ schedules) as a part of your standard order management process.

Cloud makes it easier for you to connect with your customers and suppliers outside the four walls of your company offices. With cloud ERP, your employees can also access the system anywhere, anytime, without the need to connect through a VPN.

Sales reps can give quotes, book orders or check order status while meeting with customers at their sites. Or managers can check KPIs or run reports to identify issues or approve invoices or discounts even when they are on the road.

Effectively Scale Your Operations to Support Growth

Scale your business appropriately and support your growth as you add more locations, increase the number of categories/products you sell, or drive a significantly higher volume of business. As you grow, you can maintain visibility across sites and not create organizational silos.

Replacing manual processes with automation makes warehouse picking and labeling more efficient and error-free. In the process, you create deeper and more service-oriented relationships with customers while reducing your cost of operations.

Maintenance users can easily check warranty or order spares while at your customer’s site. With cloud ERP, integration with tool cribs and vending machines at customer sites becomes simpler.

Connectivity with customers and suppliers to accelerate flow of information across the supply chain also becomes simpler. For example, you can import demand and supply data as XML or CSV documents from your customers or suppliers into the system and completely bypass the complexity and expense of an Electronic Data Interchange.

A cloud ERP system contains embedded capabilities that help distributors drive growth by enabling them to extend their customer reach, deliver value-added services to their customers, as well as provide superior customer experiences.

Reduce IT Costs and Improve Productivity

If you’re running your ERP system in the cloud, you don’t have to continually spend time and resources upgrading your hardware and network capacity to take on more workload, or to to ensure your hardware and software are running on the latest versions.

Cloud-based ERP systems are more reliable and secure than hardware-based IT platforms, have a lower total cost of ownership, and allow your employees, customers and partners to access information that they need to access - securely, anywhere, any time, and on any computing device, including mobile devices.

Cloud enables you to reduce your IT burden, so you can refocus your resources on higher-value initiatives. Right now, your IT department can get bogged down with administrative tasks, analyzing and justifying technology upgrades, updating hardware, and sifting through bugs, patches, and fixes. When you’re on a cloud ERP, your software can be easily upgraded by your vendor, so you can take advantage of their latest innovation, without needing to justify an upgrade expense.

Cloud ERP solutions typically offer greater than 99.5 percent or higher uptime, a number much higher than if you ran the system on your own premises. These systems come with highly redundant designs that offer continuity and disaster recovery, so you can avoid business interruption.

Cloud ERP providers also ensure that security is maintained through taking the ownership of patching any vulnerabilities that might have been discovered in the operating system, database or ERP application, ensuring the most robust environment for you. Cloud ERP vendors use encryption technology as well as a dedicated database, so that no unauthorized person can access your data.

Summary

Implementing or replacing your cloud-based ERP system is no light matter. It may appear to be a difficult and painful process, but, if executed correctly, it can pave the way for nothing less than fundamental business transformation. The cornerstone of this effort is finding the partner that can show you how to make this transition work—a partner with clear and demonstrable history of helping other distributors successfully reach their goals.

Selecting the right ERP software provider for your business can be a daunting undertaking. No one wants to discover too late that they’ve invested in the wrong technology and chosen the wrong vendor partner. With so much positive ROI on the line, it pays to arm yourself with information and references from prospective solution providers to ensure the choice you make is one that will help your business compete and grow well into the future.

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