Customer-focused ERP may sound like an oxymoron, but for distribution firms looking to compete in a modern business environment, it is an imperative. As companies in the industry are finding new ways to reach customers, leaders are embracing more integration, focusing more heavily on customers, and implementing new solutions to get there.
This according to the recent Aberdeen Group Report on the future of enterprise resource planning in the distribution industry. The full report, Cloud BPM: A Platform for Continuous Improvement, looked at the differences between leaders, followers, and laggards, discovering that in order to compete in an increasingly competitive market, companies are moving to embrace technology.
Customer-Centric ERP: What Leaders Do Differently
Today’s wholesalers and distributors are faced with a competitive market, filled with demanding customers. Online sales have opened new channels that customers use to get their products, and have also enabled competitors to enter and service new markets. Therefore, in order to differentiate, top performers must get the right products, at the right price, to the right customers when they need them. For these reasons, leaders look to implement a customer-centric ERP that facilitates the use of customer information. So, what do leaders do differently?
According to the report, leaders have focused on the following concepts as they strive to improve distribution processes and improve customer interactions:
- E-commerce Integration: Leaders are 39% more likely to have eCommerce integrated into ERP
- Customer Self-Service: Leaders are 72% more likely to have customer self-service portals.
- Real Time Insight: Leaders are 31% more likely to have real-time visibility into the status of all processes and data.
- A Focus on Forecasting: Leaders are more successful in planning for demand, as they are nearly three times as likely to be able to perform demand planning and forecasting.
- Open to Data Sharing: From the supplier to the customer, leaders know how to discuss data. According to Aberdeen, leaders are 46% more likely to be able to share data with both customers and suppliers.
Get to Know the Future-Focused Distribution Firm
ERP can be your organization’s foundation for ensuring customer satisfaction, at a lower cost. As you fight for new customers, look to improve relationships with suppliers, and focus on growth in 2018 and beyond, it pays to understand what’s next.