Productivity Is NOT Restricted To Operations
Whenever I speak with wholesale and industrial distributors, I’m almost always asked to provide assistance in improving their productivity.
Nonetheless, when I ask the next question as to what they have done to achieve it so far, an immediate response follows, which is – initiatives have been taken only to the level of operational functionality in warehouses with TMS and WMS approaches.
This is not incorrect and there usually is improvement in productivity using appropriate tools available from analytics, to improved inventory management, to mobility, and transportation management with a revision in workflows that have also been simplified.
However, this is only a part of the potential underlying the opportunity to increase your (distributors’) productivity.
Before any kind of transaction reaches business operational areas, there is plenty of work required to get it there as much as there is to pick, pack or ship.
Here are some areas that need consideration:
- Product catalog or website:
- Is your product catalog up to date with the latest product lines you carry?
- An outdated product catalog could prove very dear in terms of number of sales, for companion/additional products on the order because the customer usually doesn’t prefer to place multiple orders, (chiefly to different vendors) to meet the demand required
- Lengthier order processes to correct or avoid errors
- A significant amount of time on the phone to explain changes to customers
- Having to procure a particular item you don’t carry to satisfy a customer
- Is your pricing current?
- Are all vendor and customer rebates included in your pricing?
- Is all the current pricing information held in a system, providing the apt pricing at order entry and which doesn’t require a group of employees to check orders for pricing to avoid errors or customer dissatisfaction?
- Are your prices supporting margin expectations?
- Are you accumulating all vendor rebates as is agreed (timing and dollar amt)?
- Are you paying all customer rebates as is agreed?
- Are your invoices containing the correct amount the first time?
- Are supporting documents provided to both vendors and customers automatically?
Of course, what is listed above is limited and there are a multitude of areas where customer satisfaction and productivity can be improved.
Using the appropriate digital platform allows you to completely improve productivity across your Company – and not only your operation processes. The pertinent software system improves it overall and will apply the “ultimate” approach to ensure that the rules you have negotiated are respected and applied – with regard to pricing, rebates, product catalogs and more. The correct system will be adaptable enough to allow for improved productivity any which way in your process, improve customer experience and manage margins as soon as today, and far better tomorrow.