2021 Action Items: What’s Next?

March 2, 2021

We’ve all heard it before, time equals money, right? And in the distribution industry, saving time on processes that occur hundreds if not thousands of times per month really adds up. Distribution leaders need to understand the efficiency of every business process in order to maximize profits. Bottlenecks in workflows and outdated manual methods can truly hamper the overall productivity of a team, affecting your bottom line.

If you’re using a legacy ERP system, an accounting system with 3rd party applications, or still completely rely on manual methods to run your business, you’re falling far behind the competition. Each day you continue these inefficient ways of doing business is another day you miss out on growth opportunities. And in times like these, as many businesses are recovering in the middle of a pandemic, missing out on potential revenue is not an option.

Here are some quick examples of manual processes that could use a modern upgrade:

Customer Pricing and Availability/Quotes
If you have an inbound sales team that takes calls from customers all day, it’s likely that a vast majority of those calls are simply for pricing and availability or for quotes as customers shop around for the items they need. Many sales reps at distributors are still capturing these requests manually by writing them down on paper: who is calling in, what do they need, and looking up how much they have of it and what it costs. When the same customer calls back days later to follow up, reps are scrambling through similar pages of notes trying to find what they previously scribbled down.

Instead, these requests could be quickly and easily captured by your ERP software system and associated with a customer to be retrieved at a later time. A simple price and availability check could be turned into a quote, or a previous quote could be turned into an order. No more wasted manual time by reps digging through handwritten notes to find what they talked about days ago. Reducing the amount of time it takes to recall this data and turn it into a sales order can greatly increase the productivity of your team which leads to more revenue.

Decreasing Unintegrated 3rd Party Applications
One of the main benefits of modern ERP systems is having everything you need to get business done in one place. However, this can be tricky for distributors when customer demands are continually being raised. With businesses needing more complex solutions for customers to add value and maintain key relationships, distributors are now expected to have solutions for E-Commerce, VMI, EDI, Amazon, and more. Obviously, such expectations can be concerning for modern distributors as they try to figure out ways to integrate with all of these different solutions.

This example demonstrates why having disjointed systems is a recipe for diminishing returns. There will be significant time spent re-entering data from these systems back into the ERP and vice-versa due to manual interfaces. Fortunately, using these types of tools to help drive business for customers doesn’t have to be complicated with the right system in place and expertise in implementing it. Make sure when you are considering a new ERP system that it has ways to seamlessly integrate with these types of solutions to reduce keystrokes and keep your business moving quickly.


If your company handles any of these manual processes similarly, do not wait any longer to begin your search for distribution ERP software. Modern ERP systems such as ERP-ONE+ are robust in functionality, simple to use, and cover your most important distribution processes under a single interconnected application. Gone are the days of spreadsheets, legacy systems, and pen and paper. High performing and growing distributors rely on powerful technology to run their critical tasks and navigate the daily challenges of supply and demand.

Want more on reducing manual methods for your distribution business? Be sure to read our next article with even more tips on how to do this. Or if you want to start a conversation about how you can get started now, contact our team today.

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Highlighting distributor successes

Customers share their ROI achievements. Click each testimonial to read the full case study.

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Empire Bolt & Screw

“Out of the gate, our first cost savings occurred in accounting. What was previously a full-time job went down to just 2 hours a day. This change alone saved us $40,000 in year-over-year labor costs.”

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Patlin Inc.

“Distribution One has allowed us to deliver 30% more orders without having to increase our labor force.”

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The Nut Place

“ERP-ONE actually helps our business be more productive. We operate more efficiently because our software performs like a world-class product. And that’s not marketing hype. We trust in its reliability. It is one of the best decisions our company made.”

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Colorado Industrial Packaging

“ERP-ONE tracks product costs and sales margins for us… that benefit alone has added 4% to our bottom line after the first year of implementation and has more than paid for the cost of ERP-ONE.”

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A-Jax Fasteners and Tools

“Enhanced productivity, lower operational costs, higher service levels, and stronger customer relationships—it’s all been attained through our ability to provide continuous real-time data generated through the myriad of programs within ERP-ONE.”

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VLC Distribution

“Having spent 30 years on the operations side of distribution using SAP and AS400 software, I have not encountered a better system than ERP-ONE. The efficiencies and expandability has allowed us to improve our sales by $500,000 per employee in a year.”

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On Time Supply

“We had immediate visibility into which sales representatives were performing and which product lines were providing the best return for our business.”

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Cathy’s Concepts

“The ability to manage orders online has created greater efficiency in their business and has delivered more flexibility in modifying and tracking orders. Changes to an order instantly cascade all the way through the terminals and the processing stations cutting production time by at least 15%.”

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“I’m excited about the future. We processed hundreds of orders in the first week and project our webstore will be handling over 10,000 orders per year.”

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