While 42 percent of distributors identify digital transformation as a top IT initiative for their organization, what does that mean exactly? The distribution industry is changing. Organizations are becoming more global, more sophisticated, and more competitive than ever.
Although distributors haven’t always been early adopters in their technology investments, the pattern shifting with greater need for organizations to modernize business processes and IT. Distributors must be smart about their investments, however, to truly capitalize on the benefit of new, industry-specific technology, the commitment must be consistent and planned, rather than a one-time purchase with neglect to nurture and grow the investment.
What to Consider?
A top focus and differentiator is mobility. It is imperative for organizations to have a mobile strategy to remain competitive in the marketplace. Mobile devices have ability for customer-facing roles as well as operation improvement within the warehouse. Many core operation applications are mobile-enabled and integrated into the back-end systems helping to streamline business processes and empower workers to collaborate or respond to business demands in real-time. Mobile options also allow customers to work more efficiently, with ability to track orders, ask questions, and access self-service options.
By giving workers full-time access to core business applications, downtime is now productive time. Availability of mobile applications can also help draw in new top talent. Millennials expect employers to offer a digital culture, one of which they can build marketable skills.
Where to Start?
Examine your current enterprise system. If you have an ERP solution in place that’s more than seven years old, chances are your ERP is not keeping pace with the latest technology advances and industry trends. There’s also a good chance it’s no longer able to keep up with growing needs of your business. If your system doesn’t fit the growing needs of your business and speak the language of modern manufacturing and distribution organizations, it may be time to replace.
If your ERP solution does need an upgrade, is it time to move to the cloud? Cloud technology offer distribution organizations all the benefits of ERP with flexible options for scalability, reduced costs, and often less complexity. Managed services can also free internal IT resources to focus on more significant, revenue generating projects.
What’s your plan for maintaining a competitive edge?
Amar Kulkarni is vice president of Manufacturing and Distribution at Avaap. He works with leading distribution organizations to implement Infor M3, PLM and other Infor software solutions, helping customers plan the best technology roadmaps for success.