Top Considerations for 2021 Business Planning

January 6, 2021

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a whirlwind for everyone on many different levels. The pandemic and its related disruptions have caused widespread impacts on businesses and its people physically, mentally, and financially. With 2020 behind us, business leaders must plan for an uncertain 2021—a challenge that balances the hopeful emergence from this COVID cloud while at the same time combating its lingering effects.

Business forecasting is crucial when coming off such an unusual year with the ups and downs of an unpredictable supply chain. Need some help in planning a path forward into 2021? Here are a few areas to consider:

Collaboration
Staying aligned with customers to drive business decisions is crucial in an ever-changing market.

  • Are your still prioritizing your top customers and are they staying profitable?
  • What demand challenges are they facing, and how can you help them overcome those situations?
  • Specifically, what information can help you understand how to combat those challenges?

Data & Analytics
It’s not always what data you have, but how you leverage that data that drives results.

  • Is your sales team proactive or reactive? Are they simple order-takers, or can you equip them with analytics on customer buying trends to help them sell the right products at the right time?
  • Does your purchasing have insights to better handle supply shortages? Can they consistently recognize gaps in inventory and pivot towards alternative strategies and vendors to meet demand?

Full E-Commerce experience
Distributors are aware of the necessity of having an E-Commerce presence. However, simply having a site built just to take orders isn’t enough. Your customers expect more, and so should you.

Similar to how we prefer to make personal purchases online, your E-Commerce solution should deliver a user-friendly experience to customers. E-Commerce solutions should be mobile responsive, offer customer pricing, display real-time availability, and present information on invoices, order history, purchase history, back orders and more. Your E-Commerce should also be thought of as a knowledge center for the products you sell. By providing informational resources like spec sheets, manuals, videos, and even reviews, your E-Commerce pages will better educate customer which significantly helps them make buying decisions.

 

The pandemic continues to shine the light on performance gaps and the daily struggles they create. This is not the time to limp to the finish line. If you are experiencing performance gaps in any of your processes, now is the time to re-evaluate and fix those struggling departments and systems. No matter how long your business “to-do” list is, the fact remains that embracing technology can help your business build a solid foundation for 2021.

Here at Distribution One, our team is committed to solving distributor challenges by applying proven technology, industry expertise, and live support that will drive company-wide change and improvements. Want to get started today? Contact us with one challenge on your 2021 planning list, and we’ll head into the new year better together.

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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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Intercorp

“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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