Ah, the world of wholesale inventory – a realm where the words 'out of stock' can send shivers down the spine of even the most seasoned wholesaler. Wholesale inventory management is often akin to piecing together a complex puzzle, where each piece represents a crucial part of your business. On top of that, wholesalers sell to multiple marketplaces nowadays, which adds to the complexity of managing inventory.
Moreover, today’s customers, whether B2B or B2C, expect convenience, instant response to queries, and consistent experience across all channels. To meet these expectations, wholesalers need access to real-time inventory updates, balancing supply & demand, avoiding overstocking & stockouts.
Say goodbye to the days of drowning in a sea of spreadsheets or playing hide and seek with your stock levels.
The right ERP solution can address your inventory woes. Companies that integrate their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with inventory management functionality have a competitive advantage.
But you need more than just adopting an ERP to solve your problem. You need to set it up so that it can share information within different parts of their business in real-time to help you generate meaningful insights.
In this blog, we will understand what an ERP is, what benefits it brings to your business, and how you can set it up for success.
Before we dive deep into ERP and how it solves your inventory problems, its crucial to understand the problems wholesalers face with inventory.
Wholesalers using outdated inventory management software or manual methods are prone to errors and may find it difficult to meet the evolving demands of the market. Often, they find it challenging to :
Now that we have identified the problems, lets dive deep into ERP and how it can solve these problems.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a system that allows businesses to manage all aspects of their business on a single platform, including inventory, finance, planning, logistics and operations.
An ERP inventory management system offers real-time inventory insights to the entire organization. This is crucial for companies looking to grow, manage intricate workflows or supply chains, seek sophisticated automation, operate with a "just in time" approach, deal with a wide range of products, or aim to optimize their inventory investments.
But before we dive more into how an ERP can help with your inventory issues, let’s find out if you need an inventory management system?
ERP systems integrate with multiple data sources, enabling companies to gain a deeper understanding of different SKU performance trends, among other critical insights. This wealth of data aids businesses in making well-informed purchasing choices and developing more precise demand forecasts, helping to avoid stockouts and overstocking.
Furthermore, ERP's enhanced inventory management contributes to greater efficiency across the supply chain. Centralizing operations reduces the repetitive handling of goods and streamlines processes like daily restocking.
Additional advantages of integrating ERP into inventory management are:
To guide you in this process, here are steps to follow, along with additional considerations:
Step 1: Define Your Goals and Outcomes.Start by understanding the objectives of your stakeholders and crafting a business case. Analyze trends, external opportunities, and internal resources to align the ERP purchase with your long-term business strategies. Consider the insights and advantages the new system will provide in shaping your inventory strategy.
Step 2: Determine Project Scope.Identify the necessary data sources and partners, like suppliers, that need to integrate with the ERP. Compile a detailed list of required features and capabilities essential for achieving your desired outcomes.
When wholesalers are looking for ERP options, they should opt for a system that at least provides the following functionalities.
Step 3: Ensure Open API Integration.
Select an ERP system that is hosted on the cloud and has open APIs to facilitate seamless integration with other systems in your technology stack. This step is critical for ensuring flexibility and adaptability to future technological changes and evolving business needs.
At WizCommerce, we integrate ERPs with APIs so that whenever an order is created, your inventory and order details are updated in real-time.
Step 4: Conduct ROI Analysis.Look beyond mere cost-cutting. Focus on how the ERP will enhance profitability, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Check if the system will enable profitable growth through better inventory management.
Step 5: Create a Shortlist of Vendors.Assess which ERP systems align with your requirements. Review case studies from similar businesses and ask critical questions about flexibility, integration, scalability, industry endorsements, training support, trial availability, costs (both initial and ongoing), and implementation timeline.
Below, we present an overview of leading ERP solutions for small and medium sized wholesalers, that you can explore. Make sure you do an thorough research on which ERP can best tackle your business use cases and make informed decision.
Step 6: Future-Proof Your Decision.Examine the long-term plans of your potential ERP vendors. Ensure their product development roadmap is in sync with your future business needs. This step is crucial for a sustainable, long-term partnership.
For a business to thrive, it's essential to set up a strong, unified system that integrates financials, inventory, order management, and CRM, ideally on one platform or with easily integrable software.
Real-time, flexible, and transparent integration between inventory and back-office systems is key. This ensures up-to-the-minute visibility for customers and partners and keeps financial reports accurate. ERP systems with inventory management features simplify this integration, offering comprehensive data visibility.
Upon establishing a solid system of record, take it a notch higher by incorporating ecommerce, procurement, rebate management, and warehouse operations, along with advanced HR and payroll functionalities. Integrating ecommerce and other omnichannel features significantly enhances the company's ability to offer a superior customer experience.
After streamlining core processes, aim to excel operationally further. Explore advanced inventory management tools, embracing mobile technologies, quality control, integrated financial and operational planning, efficient supply chain execution, as well as comprehensive project and asset management strategies.
Once you have the core foundational capabilities in place, strive to integrate more advanced capabilities like IOT, and AI so that you can dominate your industry and significantly increase efficiency for various business processes.
Businesses using disjointed systems often lose out on crucial inventory insights, hindering their operational efficiency. However, a solid ERP system equipped with advanced inventory management features can elevate inventory handling from a basic operation to a key competitive advantage.
It's important to choose an ERP with integrated business intelligence that merges data and visual analytics, aiding managers in making more informed decisions. Opt for a system with a flexible design that can evolve alongside your business, allowing for the addition of resources and features as required.