Helping SMEs keep pace with customers

In an increasingly automated and highly-connected world, it is not easy being a small or medium sized enterprise – you need more than just a simple CRM application to remain competitive.

Yes, you need to look for a fully integrated CRM and ERP system which helps you streamline your business from pre-sales all the way to after-sales service.

Your customers hold more power than they ever have

Nowadays your customers exercise significant control over the buying decision with more information, more knowledge, and more choice than ever before. They can go online and find the best deals at the click of a button. Social media alone offers a wide variety of in-depth information about products and services, as well as ratings and reviews of businesses like yours that provide these products and services.

So how do you differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack? By knowing your customers and their needs better, and before your competition does.

A CRM solution which is integrated with cloud ERP will set you apart from your competition. You will have critical customer information including past purchases and service history at your fingertips. Add to this mobile CRM and ERP functionality, and your ability to customise products to specific customer needs increases immensely.

You don’t have to build a solution of your own

With a wide range of choices available for ERP solutions, you don’t have to invest time, resources, and money to write code to satisfy your business needs. Configuration options allow you to pick and choose the services or features that fit your business, and shed those that don’t. Such configuration helps you acquire a lean ERP solution without the bloatware, while addressing the key challenges for your business. Solution providers now offer cloud-based solutions that allow you to add on more access and functionality as and when necessary. Scalability becomes implicit and effortless.

Enterprise-wide collaboration becomes a breeze

An integrated CRM and cloud based ERP system enables the seamless flow of customer data and product information throughout the sales and service process. Your employees can collaborate with each other effectively. Pre-sales, acquisition, servicing, and operational teams will have access to the most up-to-date information at any given point in time. Achieving the best outcome for your business, your employees, and your customers becomes a far easier task.

Customer retention is easier with effective post-sales servicing that can tap into the customer’s history. This allows for customised service offerings tailored to specific customer situations. Mobile ERP enhances this experience with on-the-go capabilities, putting business critical information in the hands of your field staff.

Dashboards provide clarity

Complete integration comes with a clear advantage – you can generate integrated dashboards that provide streamlined access to information. Furthermore, your staff has role-based access to dashboards which provide them with the information they need to deliver effectively. Ultimately, the sales team can manage forecasts, collaborate on quotes, and track results in real-time.

By creating dashboards that cover key deliverables for each discipline from pre-sales to servicing to returns and refunds, you can monitor your business performance online. Empowered with real-time information, you will be able to direct your business operations better, making iterative adjustments to your operating model and streamlining workflows daily.

Hear it from the experts

In a recent study commissioned by Acumatica, the research team identified the top three challenges for SMEs as follows:

  • Growing revenue
  • Attracting new customers
  • Maintaining profitability

Being an SME in a world that sees more and more consolidation every day is challenging enough. Add to this that growing revenue, increasing your customer base, and turning profit are now more challenging than ever while you also try to keep costs down and your existing customers in-house.

Their recommendations are clear – optimise processes that connect your business end-to-end with your customers. Mobile, cloud based ERP systems integrated with a complete CRM solution will provide your business the best chance to compete effectively.

Take your CRM related ERP requirements seriously. Consider solutions that are modular and allow you to use the features most relevant to your business. Give your team the best tools to succeed. Arming your business with a vertically integrated ERP solution will help you raise your competitiveness to a whole new level.

4 key components of ERP software for your wholesale distribution business

ERP solutions for manufacturing or retail operations don’t always cover the needs of wholesale distributors.

Two of the most crucial parts of your distribution channel are the wholesalers and distributors. Forming an intrinsic link between manufacturers and retailers is of a great importance to the whole supply chain, but this doesn’t mean that they get the level of specialist recognition that they require from software vendors.

These days, there are quite literally thousands of different software solutions out there which are designed with the needs of manufacturers and retailers in mind, yet the needs of the wholesale and distribution industry seem to have been somewhat left behind.

Wholesalers and Distributors

The business of wholesalers and distributors is to sit somewhere between manufacturers and retailers in the supply chain. To put things simply, a wholesaler is responsible for fulfilling orders that come from the retailer, via an inventory that is acquired in bulk from other industry suppliers.

A distributor acts as a sort of intermediary while offering additional services such as added product value, promoting sales of the product, and processing any returns.

The reality of the industry is that the distinction between wholesalers and distributors is a little blurred, and there are often overlaps in the services offered and the tasks carried out for each. A good example would be that there are times when a wholesaler will provide distribution services, and there are times that a distributor will provide wholesale services. This has resulted in many companies choosing to call themselves “wholesale distributors” in an effort to bring the two areas of the industry together in synchronicity.

An ERP for manufacturing or retail-only purposes, usually doesn’t cover the needs of either the wholesalers or the distributors, as it requires in-depth functionality that is not usually a requisite in the manufacturing and retail industries. As such, there are four main areas of business that every ERP for wholesalers and distributors should consider.

Learn more about Acumatica ERP

1. Distribution Process Management

This component can be divided into an additional six areas as follows:

  • Distribution Requirement Planning (DRP) which is a planning engine that is designed to handle the specific needs of wholesalers and distributors.
  • Sales Management which automates customers’ orders and status tracking and provides management of complex pricing agreements, support for returns, and inventory allocation processes.
  • Purchasing Management which manages the purchasing of raw materials, partly finished, and completed products as well as tracking contract compliance of suppliers.
  • Quality Management is the set of actions or the process that ensures a company produces and then delivers top-quality products. A company must comply with national and international regulations, as well as internal requirements for quality control.
  • Customer Relationship Management is the way in which campaigns, leads, sales force automation, customer service, and support are handled and processed.
  • Barcoding and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) are very important parts of the ERP. All products must be packed properly and labelled with barcodes to ensure an efficient movement through a supply chain.

2. Supply Chain Management (SCM)

SCM is the way in which all business operations between every part of the supply chain is managed for optimum efficiency. ERP for wholesalers and distributors aim to provider a much more in depth SCM functionality than a standard ERP.

In particular, it should cover these four key areas of the supply chain: Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Transport Management Systems (TMS), Global Trade Management (GTM), and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM).

3. Retail and E-commerce

In order to sell goods and services to business and clients, a company needs an effective retail and e-commerce software solution. A truly comprehensive software solution should include Web-Based Multichannel Commerce and Retail POS software.

4. Back Office Operations

While back office operations can include a vast number of different components, there are three areas that are particularly applicable to a wholesale and distribution company. These are:

  • Financials application – this manages the financials and resources of an organisation including reporting, accounting, payments, budgeting, risk management, etc.
  • Contract, rebate, chargeback processing – these are particularly important to wholesale and distribution companies as such companies often need to manage multifaceted contracts as well as a complex network of buyers and sellers. 
  • Human Resources – HR applications are needed to manage personnel, benefits, payroll, health and safety, and employee self-service.

If you are in the business of wholesale and distribution, you really should be considering these four key components when you are looking for an effective ERP solution. Find out how Acumatica ERP can take your wholesale distribution business to the next level.

Why the distribution industry is better off with Cloud ERP

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software solutions are being used by a growing number of commercial organisations to manage their day-to-day business functions such as distribution, procurement, and project management.

As a sole collection point for all an organisation’s data from multiple sources, ERP software solutions act as a “single source of truth” – eliminating data duplication, enhancing data integrity, and enabling users to drive growth, manage costs, and be more productive.

Now, some readers might be thinking My internal processes are great. They’ve worked for years.” That’s great and it may feel like it is true, but without re-examining and improving those processes, business owners can become very dependent upon employees, and increasingly at risk of serious mistakes happening when personnel changes occur.

Three critical ways Cloud ERP software helps distribution

The distribution industry is a cut-throat one, and the technology chosen to run systems and processes can make or break a company’s bottom line. If you can’t deliver your orders on time and at the best price, another distributor certainly will be more than happy to do so.

Cloud ERP software is one tool that can streamline and scale many processes to meet customers’ demands and manage the unpredictability of the distribution market by empowering distributors to streamline processes from quote to cash, optimise the supply side of distribution operations, and make better financial decisions.

Learn more about Acumatica ERP

Quote to cash

Distributors who want to serve their customers from “quote to cash” (and every step in between) are turning to Cloud ERP in growing numbers. Excellent customer service processes require information such as customer order history, shipping schedules, product return protocols, archives for recall processing, etc.

Knowing the customer makes them feel valued, and to know them, businesses need access to critical information at every stage of the process. Cloud ERP software makes this possible without needing to upgrade existing IT systems.

Optimised supply chain

In today’s marketplace, it’s becoming more and more necessary to connect the supply chain from beginning to end. Inaccurate inventory information hurts efficiency – therefore an exact understanding of your stores, stock, and orders throughout the supply chain is needed for effective decision making.

True supply chain automation, through Cloud ERP software such as Acumatica, enables you to keep a detailed eye on the entire supply chain – as well as taking care of ordering and inventory tracking. This provides full, consistent visibility of critical information to all users, and eliminates headaches for supply chain managers. It also cuts down on unnecessary and often inaccurate data entry, resulting in a faster and more reliable supply chain process.

Make better financial decisions

Cloud ERP can take your business decision-making to the next level, as well.

It’s relatively easy in this day and age to gather terabytes of information about any given set of data subjects. Powerful analytics collect eye-watering amounts of raw data that can be used to inform a business’s decisions and direction, but the problem lies in how all this data is transformed into something of value – data is only as useful as the information it delivers, otherwise it’s just noise.

Intelligent reports that give meaningful insights to collected data are on their way to becoming a critical requirement in the distribution industry. Dashboards showing the high points and that dig deep into the data, allowing users to find detailed information about almost any area of interest are an important part of filtering the information from the noise.

There is a substantial amount of effort involved in changing systems and processes, and the decision to do so shouldn’t be one taken lightly. However, companies that invest in improving their technology have a clear long-term advantage, and are more likely to end up ahead of the competition. Start making the shift to Acumatica Cloud ERP today.

How ERP software can help your business grow

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software is being used by a growing number of organisations to manage their day-to-day business processes, such as accounting, procurement, sales, distribution, manufacturing, and project management.

As a sole collection point for all an organisation’s data from multiple sources, ERP solutions act as a “single source of truth” – eliminating data duplication and enhancing data integrity, which enables you to drive growth, manage costs, and increase productivity.

But not all ERP solutions are created equal. Check out Acumatica Cloud ERP.

Take control of your business

Businesses need to ensure that the ERP solution they choose contains a solid, scalable, user-friendly platform which can grow as requirements evolve.

The ideal financial management module should be paired with an end-to-end distribution management function which runs right through from the requisition process to purchasing, order management, inventory tracking, and automated inventory replenishment suggestions.

For even better results, an integrated customer management module is necessary. This type of application provides real-time sales data and marketing functionality. A self-service customer portal capability would also allow your customers to access the relevant information you want them to see.

And while you’re at it, you might want to look for an ERP software solution that also has project accounting capabilities. A good project accounting module makes it much easier to meet project objectives on time and within budget, manage complex reporting requirements, and to include projects in company-wide financial reports.

Play to your strengths

An effective ERP solution will allow you to concentrate on the people who really matter – your customers. By providing a picture of what is working and what isn’t, an ERP solution can dramatically increase your insight into marketing effectiveness, allowing you to efficiently funnel people into your sales pipeline.

Marketing automation with ERP takes care of the mundane and repetitive tasks like promotional emails and social media, allowing you to focus on following sales leads and better aligning your teams. Combing sales and marketing with financial management gives you a true picture of where you should be investing. Learn more about Acumatica’s CRM with integrated Financials.

Empower your people

Take a look back at your past week. How much time did you spend on your mobile device, compared to your PC or laptop? Probably a significant amount! Mobile capability is essential in today’s business world. Your business isn’t confined to one building, so why should the people that manage your business be?

A quality, well-designed ERP solution will allow your your people to stay on the ball wherever it is they need to go – anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The last bit is particularly important, unless you want to be replacing all your employees’ phones with the same model of mobile device.

Boost productivity, cut processing time

Scheduling capabilities allow businesses and individuals to manage calendar systems for appointments, bookings, human resources data, and other time-critical information. Efficiency is enhanced by ERP software which automates these basic aspects of your business – working in the background while you get on with other important tasks.

But that’s not all. The top ERP solutions allow you to access the information you need, three times faster and slash the navigation time between records in half. AME Corporation, a mid-sized manufacturer with operations in the US and China, registered an astounding 400% increase in productivity just by using Acumatica Cloud ERP. That same ERP solution cut online payment platform provider Payza’s payroll processing time by 35%.

The future of business

So you need instant access to your financials anywhere, anytime no matter what browser or device you use; you want to save time by automating key processes, you’d also like real-time visibility into how your business is performing, and of course you need your people to work together with the same information in real-time. Who doesn’t?

And because nobody wants to laboriously document their business’ every transaction, send the same email a zillion times, spend hours on the phone with their accountant, or perform time wasting tasks like scrolling up through infinite email chains to make sure it’s been seen by the people who need to see it – the shift to utilizing an ERP solution becomes less of a decision, and more of a dawning realisation.

5 steps to achieving financial process automation for your business

Financial institutions operate in a very complex and intricate network of competition, regulations, and a very dynamic market.

With recent technological advancements, some companies may be struggling to keep up with ever-changing demands, as well as mitigating rising costs. Such issues can be overcome through financial automation, which is achieved by implementing a financial management solution such as Acumatica Financials.

Start by standardising

The first step in achieving financial automation is through the standardisation of overall financial and reporting procedures and processes. It is very common for some companies to be plagued with over the top protocols which may easily be remnants of past procedures and policies. By regularly standardising overall processes, companies can get a better overview of where their time is being wasted.

In addition to saving time and money, standardisation also benefits the reconciliation process, which ensures more accuracy of loan accounting. In turn, this also enables the company to easily provide auditors with the correct documentation when required.

Optimise your transactions

The amount of transactions and associated paperwork should come as no surprise to anyone that has ever dealt with a financial institution. The sheer amount of reconciliations, transfers, and transactions can take up a lot of precious time on a regular basis, which detracts from other important work such as customer satisfaction and business development.

Optimising transactions can save countless hours of manual work every month. This is possible with Acumatica Financials, which can also interface outward payments with other payment services such as SEPA. In addition to this, Acumatica can integrate with other internal banking applications in order to retrieve accurate customer information and conduct the necessary bank account transfers.

Keep track of asset balances

The ability to balance assets is a central process for most companies. However, this can be a very difficult task for accountants to handle, especially when one considers the balances of key bank accounts, credit card accounts, lockbox accounts, etc.

By automating reconciliations, companies have the ability to continuously verify such asset balances in order to ensure that the process is seamless. This is possible with Acumatica Financials, which allows a user to configure various payment checks and validations including standard IBAN and BIC checks. Additionally, Acumatica can also conduct validation checks and flag any inconsistencies so that accountants can review these before confirmation.

Adopt an automated approach across the board

It is quite common for tasks to be distributed amongst different teams within the finance department, so a single process will generally pass through multiple channels and individuals. This can create a considerable number of issues related to human error, however an automated approach can provide a centralised mechanism of closely monitoring tasks at every stage.

In addition, this allows workflows to be easily configured to better manage various accounting and finance processes, as well as other tasks connected to reconciliations. Automation with proper software can also allow a user to have a real-time snapshot of the workflow, identifying potential bottlenecks and other pending tasks.

Integrate to existing systems

While it is true that new software applications tend to be more technologically advanced, a complete overhaul of existing programmes is often an impossible task for most companies. In fact, the most popular software solutions are those ones which can easily be integrated into existing systems. This is a cost-saving exercise, as companies can improve on their existing platforms and retain vital information such as POS data, credit statements, or any other customer information that they require.

The automation of financial processes is a necessity in the current business climate, as it provides accuracy, control, and visibility. By combining technical automation and process optimisation, companies can modernise their approach to accounting and financial services. Learn how Acumatica Financials can help achieve financial process automation for your business.

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