Best ERP Inventory Management For Growing Distributors

Zangerine was built to focus on the needs of growing distributors in the United States. We’re not focused on solopreneurs or enterprise level behemoths. If you are successful, but want to break through your bottlenecks to the next level of growth and profitability you’ll find us a powerful partner. So why is Zangerine the best ERP system for growing distributors? We focus on solving your type of business challenges at your growth stage AND we are expert consultants who use software among other methods to get you to your goals. 

To see how the best ERP system has helped distributors in various industries reach their growth and profitability goals select an industry below:

  1. ERP for Small & Mid-sized Businesses (SMB)
  2. ERP for Consumer Goods

What Is An ERP System?

Glad you asked! An ERP system is a set of processes in software meant to create efficiency, data and reduce errors as you run your distribution business. Most small distributors think of ERP in terms of inventory management and yes ERP is that and more. An ERP for small or midsized businesses might do all the following:

  • Automate purchasing
  • Manage inventory in real-time
  • Organize and manage multiple warehouses, 3PL or dropshippers
  • Generate picking and packing lists
  • Synchronize inventory across multiple channels like Amazon & e-Commerce
  • Generate & manage orders and quotes
  • Process orders for payment
  • Manage financial and accounting information
  • Manage customer communications (CRM)
  • Provide reports and business intelligence (BI)
  • Manage shipping
  • Integrate barcode scanning

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Yes, ERP was originally designed for really big manufacturers but over the decades has become standard operating software for even small and mid-sized businesses. Why? Because it creates efficiencies that can far outweigh the costs. Here are a few benefits the best ERP systems provide when matched well with a company:

  1. Automation that reduces work
  2. All data connected in one place to prioritize opportunities
  3. Best practices made into software procedures
  4. Real-time data that informs better decisions 

 

ERP systems were meant for planning as well as efficiency and by keeping all data in one place then it was possible for executives to forecast, keep a finger on costs and revenues and spot opportunities for growth. 

 

We use ERP system Inventory Management System interchangeably here as small and mid-sized companies typically start with inventory management software that includes some aspects beyond the managing of inventory. Some of these ERP inventory management solutions have just about everything a traditional enterprise level ERP would have without the need for the complexity. If you can run your whole business in it and it provides reports that can guide your purchasing and forecasting then it qualifies. 

Criteria for Choosing the Best ERP System

Most articles talk about how to choose an ERP system as a large enterprise. We’re going to talk about the criteria that a small or mid-sized business should use so yes it’s very different! If you’re wondering how to choose from the many different ERP inventory management systems, here are the criteria you can use to choose the best ERP as a small or mid-sized distributor:

  1. What is the monthly cost of the inefficiencies and errors?
  2. What features do you use now that you would like to improve?
  3. What features do you want to add that you don’t have now?
  4. What is the most important benefit you hope to achieve?

 

Did you notice that we didn’t mention budget? You only do that if you are planning on getting an ERP inventory management system that will be an expense, and if you are small or mid-sized we don’t recommend that! Instead look at how much your errors and inefficiencies are costing you in shipping costs, time/labor costs, and lost sales or customer goodwill. Get a rough value for that and then you know how much an ERP system could save you. That’s a much better way to choose the best ERP system. Then you can evaluate how well your ERP system delivers over a few months and see how much it is making you rather than costing you.

All ERP inventory management systems have a lot in common as far as features so fix your attention on the ones that you would like improved, or would make a big impact if you added them. Perhaps you have a pick list feature, but it only lets you print a list and you’d rather find an ERP system that will give you a pick list on a mobile device. Focus on that. Perhaps you realize that errors from manual data entry is your biggest cost, so a new feature you want is barcode scanning to reduce that. By focusing in on these two areas you won’t get overwhelmed trying to compare all the features each ERP system offers.

Finally look at the benefits you want to achieve. What’s the most important? Focus in on the best ERP system to deliver on that benefit. Is it ease of use? Efficiency? Business intelligence? Error reduction? Access to more sales channels?

Use these 4 criteria to focus-in, and choose the best ERP inventory management system for your needs and growth stage.

Would you like 30 minutes to brainstorm with one of our ERP system experts about these 4 criteria and how an ERP could help? Schedule a brainstorming call here.

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