4 Tips for Implementing Distribution ERP

Distributors must plan a distribution ERP implementation to completely avoid any down time. Service businesses can continue work away from their ERP for a while. Manufacturers can build up inventory to buffer against down time. But distributors have customers who will be out of business without their products.

Improve Outdated Processes

Still, ERP implementation can be a good time to update some of your processes. Not at go-live, but before you change your ERP. Always look for ways to improve your efficiency and your ability to deliver to your customers. Perhaps there is an improvement you put off because your old ERP did not support your needs. Make the change today and work around the old ERP and you will hit the ground running when implementation is complete.

Abolish Workarounds

Don’t try to make your new distribution ERP look like your old one. Distribution is a business where change is frequent as you support new customers and their evolving promotions. You might have developed workarounds over time because the old ERP did not support the processes or because you just did not have time to figure out how to do what was needed within the ERP. Take the time now to use the capabilities of the ERP, the capabilities you have paid for.

Keep Customers and Suppliers in Mind

Plan the distribution ERP implementation around your customers and your suppliers. What deliveries will be needed around the time of your planned implementation? What incoming loads do you expect? Bring in work ahead of the implementation time if the product is not perishable. Arrange to deliver early to some customers if possible. You have been a good business partner and most will understand and comply with short-term difficulties.

Prepare for Downtime

Your ERP might be down for a short time, but your service cannot be down. You might not be able to have product in the truck ahead of schedule, but you should be able to have the bill of loading and packing lists prepared ahead. Your suppliers can probably send data on their incoming products ahead of the delivery. Go ahead and process the paperwork early. You need the ERP for that and later you can put the products away because you have already planned where it will be kept.

Plan everything to the finest degree possible. Get the implementation done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your customers might not even know the extra work you had to do but they will know they had product to meet their needs. Next, comes another important phase of ERP – planning for the future. What can you do to continue to improve and how will the new ERP help?

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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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