Distribution, More than Just an Inventory Issue
For a distributor, the key to success goes far beyond managing inventory. In a fast-paced and interconnected world, it is through customer service that a business can stand out from the competition. By using an integrated order processing system, a company can link customer service and inventory management.
First, let’s clarify what I mean by an integrated order processing system. This is simply a system that allows you to connect and automate all the actions you need to complete customer orders, from intake to supply, preparation and delivery, all while centralising information for real-time access to order status and history. This is not limited to a software integration, but also includes the hardware integration required to process orders efficiently at the warehouse (e.g., barcode readers, printers, etc.).
Here are the three main points that distinguish this system from the basic accounting system that you are perhaps using right now:
- Effective supply chain and inventory management
Reduce storage costs and avoid expensive mistakes by carefully controlling your inventory.
Of course, inventory remains at the heart of what you do. An order processing system gives you the precision and confidence your team needs to complete orders more quickly and more efficiently. It automatically captures incoming orders, eliminating manual input. This also reduces human error and ensures very high inventory reliability, which in turn leads to better purchase planning and better inventory turnover as you free up working capital.
- Workflow management
Eliminate bottlenecks in your operation to ensure that orders leave your warehouse on time.
Automating your processes through workflow is probably the biggest benefit that an order processing system can offer. This will allow you to truly be able to manage the process by exception! For example, you will be able to put an order on hold for a customer whose credit limit has been reached, while automatically letting the finance officer know to review the order and take the necessary actions. In addition, setting up more complex workflows for automated management of your exception processes will enable you to complete all your orders in the same manner, but without creating inconvenience to your warehouse staff. In sum, you will improve customer satisfaction.
- Customer Satisfaction
Track customer interactions and history to provide superior customer service.
The ability to deliver the right products to the right customers, at the right time and to the right location, contributes without doubt to heightened customer satisfaction. Having an order processing system in place will provide the autonomy required for your employees to offer a personalized experience to your customers while allowing you to easily meet your Service Level Agreements (SLAs). By optimising and simplifying order processing operations, your customers will benefit from a fast and accurate order turn-around, thus boosting their loyalty.
All in all, by putting a comprehensive and integrated tool in the hands of your sales and customer service consultants, you will truly increase your levels of customer service and stand out from your competition. As a distributor, an integrated order processing system is the tool you need to go beyond mere inventory management.