Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence

Distributors today are pulling data from different sources, but may not be getting the whole picture if that data isn’t integrated with their ERP software. In this educational i-Report, you’ll learn: • The value that business analytics can provide distributors
• Things to consider before you shop new solutions
• The value of integrating analytics data with your ERP

Epicor
Epicor
Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence Produced by: Sponsored by: i-Report ® 2Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence Distributors today are pulling data from different sources, but may not be getting the whole picture if that data isn’t integrated with their ERP software. In this educational i-Report, you’ll learn: • The value that business analytics can provide distributors • Things to consider before you shop new solutions • The value of integrating analytics data with your ERP What Is Your Data Telling You? Why Distributors Need Analytics Now Markets today move faster than ever. Distributors have to understand all facets of their business, end-to-end, in real-time just to keep pace with the competition. Traditional data management solutions, or “the way it used to be done”, just won’t cut it anymore. Utilizing the latest technology, whether for tracking and monitoring, or for centralizing processes in the cloud, is a necessity. According to an annual survey by the National Association of Electrical Distributors, 100 percent of respon- dents identified the need to “ensure that data in our business system is accurate and up to date” as a top priority. Can you afford to miss out on all the things your data could be telling you about your business? For example, can you quickly and accurately determine: • Your company’s top 10 products that haven’t sold in 30 days? • Which customers you’ve sold more than $10,000-15,000 of products in the last fiscal period but whose sales are declining month-to-month? • Customers whose sales are up but whose profits are down? • The total value of slow-moving stock in each of your branch locations? 100% of respondents identified the need to “ensure that data in our business system is accurate and up to date” as a top priority. 3But even if all your data is accurate and up to date are you using that information to its fullest extent? And if not, is it possible your outdated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution isn’t up to the task of gleaning insights from all that data it’s collecting? The right ERP solution should not only collect data, it should also allow your business to integrate a modern Business Intelligence (BI) solution that can provide actionable insights by leveraging the information you have on everything from sales to purchas- ing and inventory. The right combination of ERP and BI solutions will help management glean how to reduce costs and identify new opportunities in the market, while simulta- neously offering on-demand, 360-degree visibility of the entire company. The executive committee is typically made up of C-level officers and shouldn’t get into the nuts and bolts of how to implement the software, but should be there to listen to those working on the implementation to provide advice and resources that will contin- ue to drive the project forward. The committee should plan to meet with everyone in- volved in the implementation at least once a month to identify surprises, budget issues, risks, or anything else that has come up, and review where things are at — especially at the end of each phase. How Old Is Your System? If you’re looking for actionable analytics, you might first want to look at the age of your existing platform. The more traditional, fami- ly-owned business might be using an outdated ERP or ‘home-grown’ system and, as such, one that is incapable of turning all that raw data into information that can drive that business going forward. An older system may be able to keep track of data, such as sales and inventory, but it’s likely deficient at integrating data and making sense of it. For instance, you might know that a sale was made but not what was purchased. Or worse yet, reports can only be run on a monthly or annual basis instead of in real-time. A dated solution might also be fragmented, requiring employees and management to sign into multiple pieces of software to get their jobs done. In the worst case scenario, your system was installed pre-2000 and still uses floppy disks! Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence A report from Capgemini and co-sponsored by EMC, Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business, has put a microscope to the topic: 36% said that, due to the strategic importance of big data, they have had to circumvent IT teams to carry out the necessary data analytics required to gain business insights. 64% indicated that big data is changing traditional business boundaries and enabling new providers to move into their industry. 4Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence Don’t despair, there’s good news. The benefits of upgrading to a new, modern integrat- ed ERP system are many, and in most cases they’ll pay for themselves, while also taking your business to the next level. vendors have hotlines and resources that a company can turn to, the vendors can only talk about how the software works. They can’t necessarily talk about how the customer does their business in the software. What Do You Need? Implementation of any BI or analytics solution should serve very deliberate intentions. You’ll want to ask yourself what you need from the system and what you’re currently lacking. In an article posted to Industrial Distribution’s website, Kevin Beasley noted that identifying exactly what you need from business intelligence is imperative. “In order to successfully take advantage of all the benefits big data has to offer, companies must first determine how they will use big data in a competitive landscape,” Beasley wrote. “In other words, what big data benefits will help them stay ahead of their competitors?” All of these and more are possible when the right BI solution is tied in with the right ERP system. It’s this kind of data that can lead to actionable insights and in turn, increased revenue. Examples of what an analytics solution can offer your business include: • Data frequency/currency • Faster reporting • Product mix, pull-through, and cross-selling opportunities • Identify margin enrichment opportunities • Seeing beyond Gross Margin Return on investment reports • Dead/slow moving stock management • Granular-level analysis of customer and product data • Visualization of data “What big data benefits will help companies stay ahead of their competitors?” 5Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence A report from Capgemini and co-sponsored by EMC, Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business, has put a microscope to the topic: 54% reported that their big data investments over the next three years will outstrip past investments. 43% already have or are currently reorganizing in order to exploit new big data opportunities. Some Thing to Consider Before Upgrading Before shopping around for an analytics solution, you’ll want to do a little research by checking with your existing vendor (if they’re still around) on a few items. Some things you’ll want to know include: • Does my existing system support an analytics solution? • If so, what kinds of solutions can you offer? • Will this information be available in real-time? • Can my sales staff and management access this information from the cloud on mobile devices? All of these and more are possible when the right BI solution is tied in with the right ERP system. It’s this kind of data that can lead to actionable insights and in turn, increased revenue. The Costs of Upgrading When considering the purchase and implementation of any new software platform, cost is always a consideration. However, when looking at upgrading to a new ERP system with an effective BI component, the question might be whether you can afford not to proceed. As of 2016, fully 68 percent of respondents to a Panorama Consulting survey said that they had recouped the costs associated with the implementation of an ERP system in less than four years. Fully 15 percent of respondents said they had recouped all costs of implementation in less than a year. 68% of respondents to a Panorama Consulting survey said that they had recouped the costs associated with the implementation of an ERP system in less than four years. 15% of respondents said they had recouped all costs of implementation in less than a year. 6Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence The question you should be asking yourself is whether you can continue to compete with companies who are acting on accurate, real-time data. In a recent article on Industrial Distribution, supply chain expert Tyson Leal phrased it this way when talking about how analytics can help distributors get ahead. “Put simply, live and predic- tive analytics provide distri- bution management with the ability to know where product is located in the supply line at all times, and more accurately predict where product will be at any given time,” Leal said. “For the first time in supply chain history a technology exists that applies deep math and real-time event-based analytics against structured and unstructured data points that deliver not only answers to difficult questions, but also has the capability of au- tomating the decision process—adding further velocity and efficiency—and turning distribution scapegoats into predictive superheroes.” It goes without saying that we all want to predictive superheroes, so what are you waiting for? A report from Capgemini and co-sponsored by EMC, Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business, has put a microscope to the topic: 61% acknowledge that big data is now a driver of revenues in its own right and is becoming as valuable to their businesses as their existing products and services. 24% of companies reported disruption from new competitors moving into their industry. “Live and predictive analytics provide distribution management with the ability to know where product is located in the supply line at all times, and more accurately predict where product will be at any given time.” 7Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence About i-Report Advantage Business i-Reports present fresh research and analysis on compelling and timely industry topics.“Why Distributors Should Focus On Analytics Intelligence” was prepared by Advantage Business Media Manufacturing Group Editorial Director Andrew Berg. About the Author Andrew Berg is the Editorial Director of Advantage Business Media’s Manufacturing Group. Previously, he was the Executive Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine. About Advantage Business Media Advantage Business Media (www.advantagemedia.com) is a data-driven marketing solutions company leveraging content, technology, and business intelligence to match its audience’s job performance needs with its clients’ solutions. With a diversified portfolio of highly focused websites, e-newsletters, print publications, specialized direc- tories, vertical search databases, conferences, ancillary media vehicles, and associated web-based services, ABM serves more than one million industry professionals in the manufacturing, science, and design engineering markets. About Epicor Distributors need to have a modern ERP system with robust business intelligence capabilities in order to get 360⁰ insight of their inventory management, and overall business health. Capturing data is not enough, your system needs to be able to report it in ways that enable analysis and strategic decision-making, and Epicor business software can do just that. For more than 40 years, Epicor has been known for deliver- ing solutions that meet the distinct, and evolving needs of the wholesale distributor – with more standard functionality for distribution than other ERP providers. And Epicor continually invests in their technology - with robust Business Intelligence and analyti- cal tools, state-of-the-art integrated eCommerce solutions, mobility, web-enablement, flexible deployment options, and much more - enabling growth today and for many years to come. About Advantage Business Media Advantage Business Media (www.advantagemedia.com) is a data-driven marketing solutions company leveraging content, technology, and business intelligence to match its audience’s job performance needs with its clients’ solutions. With a diversified portfolio of highly focused websites, e-newsletters, print publications, specialized direc- tories, vertical search databases, conferences, ancillary media vehicles, and associated web-based services, ABM serves more than one million industry professionals in the manufacturing, science, and design engineering markets. For more information visit www.advantagemedia.com.