In an increasingly digital world, customers want to shop online to easily compare products. If you’re stuck doing things the same way as ten years ago, you’re missing sales and providing a poor shopping experience.
Most building supply companies spend a lot of time and resources capturing data, in a variety of formats. There are a lot of moving parts, and it is all important. But how much insight do you really have from that data? Is it available real-time to the people who need it most?
Some of the biggest challenges faced by building supply companies today include:
- Little to no automation. Too many manual touches per transaction.
- Lack of mobile, real-time information, available through multiple channels, by phone, on the web, and any device.
- Spending $$$ on implementing, managing and maintaining a variety of software that isn’t connected, or is connected poorly.
- Slow in-store and online access to product, pricing and buying information
- No investment in inventory tracking and optimization. Distributors focus on so many other areas of business that they can often miss the value that data analytics has for their inventory.
It can be tempting to throw software at the issue, “just pick something” and hope it works out. And while technology will allow you to scale your business and empower your team to make better decisions, it takes more than tech to be successful.
Choosing the right technology isn’t always easy. Do you go with an industry-specific solution or something more horizontal? There are arguments to both. The good news is that all of these challenges can be addressed with a comprehensive, single solution that won’t break the bank.
We recommend the following steps to finding the best ERP for your growing building supply company.
- Take Stock: Where are you now?
Take stock of where you are. It’s unreasonable to expect go from Excel spreadsheets to full automation in a few months. You could do it, but the cost would outweigh the benefits and morale would plummet. Too much change, too fast can be a culture killer. Ask yourself:
- What information do I currently collect?
- How much of that data is captured manually? Where are the points that we could add digital capture, if any?
- What is the quality of my data? (Bad data quality is common, so don’t feel bad if you’re in this camp. The key is to acknowledge it and set a plan in motion to clean it up.)
- What pieces of data are missing from what we collect, or are not collected consistently?
- Who inside the company needs this information?
- How will all of these data points get funneled into reports that help us meet client expectations and grow?
- Features & Functions. How much automation and technology do you need?
After you determine where you are, dive into the desired outcomes – what reports and insights would help each functional area of your business make better decisions. When you have a wish list, you can work backwards to clearly outline what info, people, and processes are needed to get the snazzy dashboards, scorecards and KPI tracking that you ultimately want.
These two steps help create the blueprint for you to start your technology search. Trying to evaluate software without doing this homework sets you and your team up for delays and unmet expectations.
Your ideal system should let you:
- View real-time, actionable information.
Productivity and customer service suffer when your staff has old info. The software that runs your building supply business should allow you to drill into details, proactively spot issues, and answer customer questions as they come.
- Easily let you determine gross margins.
Gross margin data tells you how well specific products or departments are performing and helps you maximize turns and profitability. It’s also key for protecting cash flow.
- Provide mobility tools to stay connected 24/7.
Put the tools in your team’s hands so they can answer customer questions with confidence anytime, anywhere. Truly mobile-enabled sales teams are more productive and sell faster. Bonus: managers can view up-to-date metrics and critical business information on the go.
- See full, accurate views of your inventory.
You need inventory data that updates in real time across all locations. Use timely, accurate inventory information to make strategic decisions about performance, turns, dead or slow-moving items, and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Streamline dispatch and delivery
Getting the right materials delivered to your customers on time—at a reasonable cost has never been more critical. To do that, you need modern tools that allow for better prioritization of orders.
Acumatica & CAL Business Solutions, the Right Combination for Building Supply Companies
In a transforming marketplace, companies who are disrupting win. Construction is the biggest industry in the world, representing 13% of global GDP. But it is slow to disrupt.
The right partner pushes you to the front of the line by offering insights, advice, and capabilities to help you navigate digital transformation.
Acumatica affords a seamless experience with familiar interfaces, easy to customize screens and dashboards, automated insight delivery, KPI monitoring, scorecard creation, and more.
Using Acumatica for your building supply business means you don’t have to restrict access or pay more to enable all of your users to get the data they need. The unlimited user licensing model is unique in this fashion, making it affordable and scalable as you grow.
Empower your staff to do more. Talent is hard to find these days and there seems to be little relief in sight for the skilled labor shortage. Data helps mitigate this, allowing you to do more work with less staff. You can empower virtually any employee to get on-the-go answers. With Acumatica, you can create role-specific dashboards populated with tasks lists, messages, alerts, issues, and scorecards to keep employees focused on their top priorities.
Get time-critical information such as low-margin alerts, special order receipts, and credit holds messaged to the users who need it.
Save time by integrating into software you already use so you can reduce redundant data entry.
- Time it takes to report on job costing reduced from a couple days to mere minutes. Now managers continuously monitor profitability rather than waiting until the end of a project.
- Shortened the time it takes to set up new offices, and has reduced their infrastructure costs to zero.
- Automated renewal process saves 20+ hours a month.
If you are a small or mid-sized distribution company looking for similar benefits, see Why Others Choose CAL Business Solutions for their ERP needs . We can help you evaluate your current systems, business processes, and goals to determine the right solution for you.
Have questions? Contact CAL Business Solutions, 860-485-0910 x4 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By CAL Business Solutions, Inc – Acumatica Partner – www.calszone.com