Distribution ERP: CRM tools for customer service success

You go home after another hard day at your distribution facility. Your customer commitments are made and all is ready for the next day. In the morning, the order that could wait a few days is now a high priority and the incoming delivery that was due at 7 AM is stuck on the highway behind a storm. This story will be all too familiar to many of you.

Your customers expect you to be flexible at every possible moment—and some that are not possible—to meet their ever-changing requirements. That is the nature of distribution. A distribution ERP system CRM module that fits your business needs will provide the visibility you need to make real-time decisions on customer accounts. It will help you become easier to do business with and provide the tools you need to stay ahead of your competition and enable best practices.

Real-time order status

Your customer calls to ask if the delivery scheduled for 5 PM can be made at 4 PM instead. You check your ERP CRM module and see the real-time status for every line on the order. Some lines are already picked and waiting in shipping, other lines are scheduled for picking in the next couple of days. The line expected to be received today is already on hand. Two lines need to be picked earlier than scheduled, but there is picking capacity to meet this change.

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In only a few seconds, you can review the status of the entire order and reply to the customer that a 4 PM delivery will be made. Your customer is saved from a jam in his business and happy they selected your distribution business as a partner.

Order entry tailored to your processes

Customer orders come in over the telephone all day. Other customers place their orders online using your self-service portal. Your drivers call in from a customer site while making a delivery with new orders for that customer. Emails hit your inbox with order queries and bookings every day. You are, of course, happy to have all this business, but that doesn’t mean it is without its challenges.

If telephone sales are a primary source of orders, you should look for a distribution CRM module with a simple user interface that allows your customer service team to quickly go through order entry while on the phone. If your remote staff are responsible for the majority of your sales orders, then a distribution ERP with mobile CRM support and offline mobile access may be a priority.

Each of your customers has their own style and preferred way to communicate their requirements. A comprehensive distribution ERP will work with any of those styles, making it easy to place an order. Your competitors require each order to be on their internal paper order form before acceptance. Who would customers rather do business with?

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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

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