The Age of Amazons

How to thrive in the new competitive universe.
Today’s distribution business demands drastic customization, mobile access, and overnight or faster delivery (with distribution drones coming soon to a regional supply center near you). In this eBook we’ll discuss five proven tools to help you survive and thrive in the Age of Amazons.

The Age of Amazons How to thrive in the new competitive universe Keep up with constant change With advancing technology, shifting demographics, tight margins, and a tough economy, it’s not news that wholesale distributors operate in an era of constant, rapid change. But this time, change itself is moving faster. Pushing deeper. Opening up opportunities and introducing threats that would have been unimaginable in the early years of this decade. Gone are the days when deals were built on decades-long relationships, customers stayed loyal to their established supply lines, and “just in time” delivery still gave you a few days to move a standardized product from order form, to warehouse, and to final destination. Today’s distribution business demands drastic customization, mobile access, and overnight or faster delivery (with distribution drones coming soon to a regional supply center near you). And it isn’t just about AmazonSupply® or Alibaba®. More than ever, distributors face challenges from new entrants to the field, and from customary competitors who’ve already made the transition to business strategies that are leaner, more mobile, more social, and driven by up-to-the-instant business intelligence. The Age of Amazons is upon us, and it heralds a fundamental rethinking of the distribution marketplace. 2 Understanding the Age of Amazons It’s happening today. It’s all around you. Understanding the Age of Amazons is the first essential step in preparing for it. And ERP software should be one of the cornerstones of your effort to do something about it. We’ll discuss five proven tools to help you survive and thrive in the Age of Amazons. Sometimes, you’ll want to stand your ground. Sometimes, it makes most sense to use your adversary’s strength to reinforce your own. Either way, it takes agility, precision, speed, insight, and ingenuity to win in today’s hyper-competitive distribution marketplace. Your distribution business needs agility, precision, and insight to thrive in this hyper-competitive marketplace. 3 Agility Evolve with the market; respond to shifting customer expectations, and embrace new technologies The rate of change keeps speeding up, with e-commerce, social networks, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things transforming the buying process. Distributors that can evolve along with the technology will protect their business, gain market share, and find it easier to engage with the buyer of the future. In today’s business world, the prize goes to the most agile. To win that prize, you need to: • Align with customers and employees who expect the same functionality from your distribution ERP system that they get in their personal devices. • Recognize that you must have a social business strategy built on an IT platform that delivers on the potential of social networks. • Tap the Internet of Things to share data and deploy business intelligence in real time, for real results. Find out: • What you can do to bridge the generational divide • Why it’s time to get serious about social business • What the Internet of Things really means 4 Precision Make recommendations that anticipate your customers’ most urgent needs Your competitive advantage is to embody the value of deep customization. That means using CRM tools, recommended selling, in-context business intelligence, intuitive product recommendations, and customer loyalty programs to deliver more value than customers can get from a quick, generic transaction. To succeed in the Age of Amazons, you need to • Build a brand reputation for getting the job done by tailoring your products and every aspect of the sales process to meet your customers’ unique needs. • Develop an unerring ability to understand your customers and anticipate their needs. • Build a new level of business intimacy with your customers by positioning yourself as a trusted advisor. 5 With e-commerce giants like Amazon Supply and Alibaba transforming the market, today’s customers expect speed, quality, and low prices. In a hyper-competitive, global industry, you need any advantage that will help you attract business, boost efficiency, and meet unprecedented customer expectations. One way to build that advantage is through a seamless, omni-channel approach to sales, distribution, and fulfillment. It’s all about convenience. Using modern technology to deliver what your customers need, when they need it, and with their preferred method of payment is one way to ensure they will keep coming back. Reach more customers with omni-channel connectivity vEnDIng MAchInE BuyIng gRouP cusToM oRDER socIAL MEDIA cATALogs KIosK counTER sALEs MoBILE DEvIcEs EcoMMERcE sALEs oRDER Dramatically improve your: speed of delivery demand planning stock replenishment price competitiveness 6 Do you know: • How to thrive in a hyper- competitive environment? • What Alibaba’s rise means for your company? • The 7 steps to recovering from a disaster? Speed Speed depends on deploying real-time data to answer queries and process orders quickly. To accomplish this, you need: order processing You need an order processing system that can handle large volumes of data and information from multiple sources. showrooms A network of physical and online showrooms can build enduring customer relationships by getting inventory where it needs to go, as quickly as possible, using the most suitable distribution channel. self service Create a self-service model that allows customers to choose their own adventure through your product catalog Consistent, speedy delivery also depends on your ability to restore IT operations, quickly and seamlessly, when systems are interrupted. A recent study showed that the average business suffers at least one successful cyber-attack per week, and that each successful attack takes an average of 32 days to resolve at a cost of more than $1 million. 7 Insight organize a continuous avalanche of information and data to spot emerging opportunities and confront unexpected challenges. Your business intelligence and performance management systems must support on-the-spot decision making and give you the flexibility to forecast and adjust your planning on the fly. And that means delivering clear business insights on a variety of platforms and combining business analytics and financial data with an up-to-date view of any compliance risk. Insight is about: Find out how Gartner® defines context-aware computing. • Extending your vision and getting a finely-tuned perspective on your customers’ needs and wants • gathering data in real time, then putting it in a context to help you spot emerging opportunities and confront unexpected challenges 8 Ingenuity Integrate software tools and front-line operations to make your business indispensible to your most valuable customers. In the Age of Amazons, you need a savvy business strategy to take on competitors. You need tools that make it easier to explore new markets, expand and deepen existing relationships, deliver ever- greater value, and make your business an indispensible partner for your most important customers. Ingenuity is about committing to continuous innovation. With business imperatives becoming more difficult to predict, you need an open- architecture ERP system that can seamlessly integrate new modules and components. This will help you respond to whatever challenges and opportunities the future holds. Integrated supply and effective store room management can help you cut costs, streamline delivery, and maximize visibility across your supply chain, while turning the ingenuity of your workforce into a powerful competitive advantage. Find out: • What keeps Turtle & Hughes sharp • What manufacturers are still struggling with 9 Putting it all together To compete, established distributors need: Agility: evolve with the market Precision: anticipate your customers’ needs and wants Speed: process orders and queries quickly Insight: spot emerging opportunities and confront unexpected challenges Ingenuity: make your business indispensible to your most valuable customers As you set out to compete in the Age of Amazons, make sure you have a reliable technology partner with a deep understanding of the distribution business, which will help you stay ahead of your competition. contact us today 10 About Infor Infor is the world’s third-largest supplier of enterprise applications and services, helping more than 73,000 large and mid-size companies improve operations and drive growth across numerous industry sectors. To learn more about Infor, please visit Disclaimer This document reflects the direction Infor may take with regard to the specific product(s) described in this document, all of which is subject to change by Infor in its sole discretion, with or without notice to you. This document in not a commitment to you in any way and you should not rely on this document or any of its content in making any decision. Infor is not committing to develop or deliver any specified enhancement, upgrade, product, or functionality, even if such is described in this document. Copyright ©2014 Infor. All rights reserved. The work and design marks set forth herein are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Infor and/or related affiliates and subsidiaries. All other trademarks listed herein are the property of their respective owners. INFDTP1456360-en-US-1214-1 11