Encouraged by changes in the retail space as well as technology advancements in supply chain management, wholesale distributors are in a state of transformation. A baseline driver is the fact that like B2C customers, B2B consumers are expecting more from their partners in terms of service, transparency, and value. Organizations are challenged, as ever, to do “more with less” and find innovative ways to meet more rigorous customer and business goals simultaneously. Embracing new technology simply has to be part of the equation.
For many wholesale distribution companies today, this means transitioning over to a cloud-based IT environment, where it’s easier to keep up with changes, scale for growth, manage data and costs, and (so much) more. Let’s take a closer look.
Customer-Facing Functionality: In the Cloud
As more B2B companies—including wholesale distributors—start to manage parts of their businesses online, such as inventory management and selling, there’s an increasing need for web-based business software to “bring it all together.” While updating and unifying systems brings significant advantages to the operational side of the business, it’s the customer-facing side that demands it.
Consumers’ interactions with big brands like Amazon are shaping the way they expect to interact with B2B brands: they want seamless experiences. Your customers likely go straight to your website with any number of needs. That’s why you’re seeing your competitors roll out new functionality to accommodate everything from price negotiations to chatbot customer service.
In order to become more customer-focused—to ensure that your customers and even vendors are getting what they need from your website, sales team, customer service reps, etc.—your back office software needs to automate key processes and support your internal teams’ need for timely access and insights.
Cloud-based ERP and CRM systems help solidify your position in a competitive environment by arming you with the right tools and processes to deliver on exacting, ever-rising standards.
Real-Time Business Intelligence: In the Cloud
Yes, you’re operating in a competitive marketplace and need to stay on top of opportunities across the supply chain. Decision makers need a 360-degree view of every business driver connected to customers (and their customers) so they can plan to better meet their needs with new products, better price points, faster service, and higher levels of satisfaction. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Outlook, more business will be enhancing their supply chain visibility for right place, right time availability. What’s more, the 2017 MHI Annual Report reveals 80% of supply and manufacturing industry leaders believe the digital supply chain will be the norm in the next 5 years.
In other words, to achieve agility, adopting automation and a BI focus will ensure the right people get the right information at the right time. This requires next-level data management, integrated systems, and sophisticated yet easy-to-use reporting tools. Compared with legacy on-premise systems, today’s cloud-based business software is built on highly flexible APIs enabling unparalleled system interconnectivity and, ultimately, end-user insights.
Evolution-Ready Tech: In the Cloud
Change happens fast, as they say, especially in an industry driven by consumer demands and preferences. Your IT environment needs to keep up. Yesterday’s on-premise business systems are costly to maintain, update, and customize for evolving, increasingly digital, business requirements. Aside from complexity of legacy software development, adding new users isn’t necessarily simple or cost-effective. To sum it up: scaling up is an ordeal.
On the other hand, cloud-based systems are built to accommodate change. The platforms and APIs are developed on a flexible foundation. Vendors expect customers to add functionality—and users—and they make it easy (and affordable) to do so.To find out about what else to expect, read 3 Reasons To Put Your ERP System in the Cloud.
If your wholesale distribution company is ready for a transformation, contact us to learn more about our cloud computing solutions.
And don’t miss How Strategy Can Ensure a Secure and Efficient Move to the Cloud.