3 New Year's Resolutions for Your Distribution ERP Project

How do we want to improve our distribution business in 2015? What resolutions will really make a difference? What resolutions could actually be accomplished profitably? Here are a couple of ideas using your ERP data.

1) Optimize your warehouse layout

Study your movement transactions in the past and try to predict future moves. Look at all moves, not only shipping and put away transactions. Each one costs money and an optimum layout will yield the fewest movements. Use your ERP to find picking routes that can collect the items most likely needed with the least steps. You might group items by customer or most frequently transacted. With some creative thinking, you probably can find ways to combine picking of similar orders and deliver multiple orders on the same pallet.

Pay attention to the incoming transactions with your ERP. Can you direct certain deliveries to a dock door closest to where the products need to be stored? Can you cross dock some deliveries and avoid storage completely? Find what helps your business now and resolve to check the layout frequently so it will match your requirements tomorrow too.

2) Are you charging your customers enough?

Your ERP can review the transactions for all your major customers. Do some require a lot more effort to purchase, move and ship their items? Does your pricing reflect the cost of that effort? A customer that always orders at the last minute will also require more effort to purchase and deliver with short notice than another customer who places orders well ahead of his requirements. A customer who demands complete delivery of every item on his shopping list costs more than a customer with less stringent requirements.

You might also find you charge too much for some customers who are very easy to do business with. Whether to reward them with a lower price is your choice. But you certainly want to ensure you keep that customer happy.

3) Is your quality control up to snuff?

If you deal with foods or pharmaceuticals and you already have controls over lots and expiration dates. Using your ERP data look over your systems again. Are they still adequate? If you had an audit, could you pass today’s requirements? In the event of a product recall, how long would it take to identify every customer who had the recalled product and notify them? This notification process could have life and death consequences. Is your process good enough? Is every product stored in its proper environmental condition? Can you prove it? Are you tracking the temperature and humidity in those areas?

New Years are a traditional time for resolutions. But improving your business with ERP data should not have any seasonality.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller