Not long ago, it was standard practice for wholesale distribution companies to stock their warehouses with inventory and then go out into their customer base and try to sell what they had in stock. Today the story is quite different. Faced with ever-more-demanding customers on the one hand and often-dramatic product proliferation from their suppliers on the other, companies need to do all they can to keep their customer service levels high while keeping their inventory levels under control. These practices lead to a lower cost of goods sold.
For wholesale distribution companies that Inecom engage with, the key to success on both fronts lies in effectively managing inventory. That means having the right material on hand when a customer needs it, but without having dead stock sitting around costing money. You have to ensure that you maintain the appropriate amount of seasonally adjusted safety stock. And through it all, you have to be able to take advantage of your suppliers’ special offers – while keeping inventory turns as high as possible.
The challenge is not simply to have enough inventories on hand. You need to have the right inventory in the right quantities at the right time and at the right place. Every operational mistake you make in this area goes straight to your bottom line. For starters, you need to have clear visibility into your upcoming demand. And then you need to act on it by making the most economically intelligent buying decisions – which are critical to keeping inventory levels in line. The proper choices also enable you to keep “stock-out” situations to a minimum, which in turn keeps your customers satisfied and positions you as their supplier who gets things right.
So how do you go about getting your inventory right? By getting the right software! Based on extensive experience with the wholesale distribution industry, SAP has developed the Wholesale Distribution solution portfolio in SAP Business One as a state-of-the-art software solutions for small and midsize wholesale distribution businesses worldwide. Powered by the SAP Business One ERP platform, the portfolio includes software for demand and supply management that gives you the full range of functions and tools you need to manage your inventory – and much more.
SAP’s approach to demand and supply management draws on SAP Business One solutions for supply chain management and inventory collaboration that go far beyond the limits of a traditional inventory management approach. Of course you get an easy-to-use interface that allows you to perform all standard functions such as viewing your inventory levels over time for individual materials or groups of materials.
Record every sales opportunity, from lead identification of the customer through discovery, qualification, proposal, closing, and after-sales service and support. You can even enter details of the opportunity, including the source, potential deal size, closing date, competitors and activities.
Manage all information about customers, resellers, and suppliers, including e-mail addresses, profiles, sales reports, activities, and account balances. Use the calendar to track your activities and perform keyword searches to find specific items in the calendar.
Analyse opportunities by lead source, territory, industry, customer, and item. The reports show forecasts and anticipated revenue by various date ranges, such as month and quarter. You can view distribution of leads by source over time to identify the most profitable lead-generation activities.
Import thousands of prospects from Microsoft Excel files or other standard file formats, such as comma-separated value (CSV) files, and then manage and follow up on activities. Add prospects to e-mail campaign lists, contact lists, and newsletters. Target prospects or business partners with e-mail and phone-call campaigns.
Obtain a unique, time-phased view of business data with the dynamic opportunity-analysis report, which enables you to readily spot trends, patterns, and behaviors of sales opportunities and personnel.
Sales management tools in SAP Business One allows you to create price quotes, enter customer orders, set up deliveries, update inventory balances, and manage all invoices and accounts receivable. SAP Business One offers efficient document development for every step throughout the sales process,including quotations. All relevant information is moved from one document to the next - from sales quotation to the sales order to delivery note to the AR invoice - saving you time and reducing errors. The solution also gives you the flexibility to adapt the steps in the sales process to fit your needs and specific business processes.
SAP Business One provides for management of the item master data, serial numbers, and price lists, as well as define alternative items, perform inventory increase or decrease adjustments, execute cycle counts, and generate pick lists for open sales orders. The solution offers the following inventory control functionality.
SAP Business One offers a simple yet powerful planning function to help you schedule and manage items that will be produced or purchased using a variety of criteria. SAP Business One replaces informal, ad hoc, error-prone production scheduling with a more structured process using better information from bills of material, inventory data, inputs from scheduled production and purchase orders, and demand inputs from actual and forecasted orders. SAP Business One offers the following Material Requirements Planning (MRP) functionality.
By deploying SAP Business One into the Purchasing department you can manage and maintain supplier related activities, including issuing purchase orders, updating inventory quantities, calculating the landed cost value of imported items, delivering goods, and handling returns and credits.
More information on SAP Business One in Distribution?