4 Qualities to Look for in a Chemical Distribution ERP System
To select the best chemical distribution ERP we must first detail some of the qualities that make said ERP the best. Best for the goose isn’t necessarily best for the gander but, as chemical distributors, we can agree on many of these qualities.
1. Integrated CRM
Your customers must find it easy to do business with you. Some will want their own view into your ERP through a portal or even their own unique LAN. Others will want to contact a customer service person who can provide quick and accurate replies. Either way, they want to know the availability of each line on their order as well as the order in its entirety. CRM is an important part of today’s ERP systems and as important for a chemical distributor as any other business that values their customers. Speed is important; customers are busy and anxious to get this order placed so they can move on to the next one. Accuracy is important; if you have 250 kg. on hand and they want to order 100, your chemical distribution ERP must be able to tell you what other orders are in place and the amount available right now for this order. Delivering accuracy and speed on customer orders relies on well integrated ERP and CRM applications.
2. Shipping Logistics & Conditions
Once the order is placed, it must move to the warehouse for picking and packaging to precisely meet the needs of this customer. The entire order must be identified to ship together and allow any mixing with another customer order. Delivering a chemical on time and the reagent late does no good for your customer. Your chemical distribution ERP can ensure the order will be routed to the correct carrier or the best route for your own trucks. Many of the SKUs require particular shipping environments and you should be able to define these within the system and then ensure that workflows are in place to meet these requirements.
3. Order Traceability
To maintain traceability, chemical distribution ERP must track the lots or batches of every product. You must be able to look back through archived orders and know the exact source of every lot. You must also be able to look forward to know which customer got deliveries from which lot. Your customers and the regulators of chemical distribution demand this traceability. You will need to monitor the storage environments of every bin to know that the chemicals stored in a bin will keep their purity and stability and your ERP should track the shelf life and expiration dates of lots.
4. Strong Financials
Finally you will want good financials that meet the needs of your investors and creditors according to your local generally accepted accounting processes. You are a chemical distributor; like any other business, you are there to earn a profit.
Look at your business and your needs. Fine tune some of these suggestions and add your own requirements. There are many chemical distribution ERP systems on the market and at least one is right for your business.
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