People who run distribution businesses share a secret about supply chain management that few people outside the sector understand: the supply chain doesn’t stop at the receiving dock. There’s a misconception that the supply chain is only about suppliers. Not so. The supply chain runs from your suppliers all the way through your warehouse intake process, procurement and accounting processes, sales and delivery logistics.

The reason for this is simple. You are part of your customers’ supply chains. As far as they are concerned, your entire operation is about delivering what they need, when they want it—at the best price. Whatever you have to do to make that happen is no concern of theirs. Thus, you need to manage your supply chain carefully to align it with your customer’s needs.

ERP software for distribution can help you stay on top of the complex product inventories, rapidly changing customer demands, and supply chain fluctuations that characterize the business. Acumatica cloud ERP, with its Distribution Edition exemplifies this kind of solution. If you elect to deploy Acumatica for your supply chain, keep the following 5 tips in mind:

1. Automate your entire quote-to-cash cycle

While it may not seem like part of your supply chain, the efficiency of your sales management process will affect how well your supply chain functions. Acumatica enables you to automate quoting, sales order processing and shipping order generation.

2. Maintain company-wide inventory data

You can optimally serve your customers when you know what you have in stock, along with what’s heading in and out of your business. To do this, you have to set up Acumatica to establish real-time visibility of inventory that’s available, in transit and in the reorder process. The data reporting needs to include pricing, quantities and ordering parameters, e.g. minimum quantity for reorder.

3. Create proactive, responsive replenishment operations

It’s a good practice to avoid reacting to stock outs. Instead, you can configure Acumatica to automate replenishment. This has the side benefit of minimizing inventory costs and keeping procurement overhead low.

4. Integrate supply chain management with accounting and financial management

Supply chain management is also money management. If you have a large product catalog and many vendors, it’s easy to lose track of where you stand, financially. Acumatica makes it possible to integrate supply chain and sales order management with accounting and finance. This way, you can always know how your distribution business is doing, in cash flow terms.

5. Set up rules to manage multiple warehouses, returns, credit limits, drop shipments and more

If your business has multiple sites and personnel distributed geographically, it’s wise to set up rules-based workflows to stay on top of returns, credits and so forth. This way, you can have confidence that the work is being performed the way you want it—and avoid surprises about how issues like returns and restocking were handled in places that are outside of your line of sight.

Automation and integration are two of the main factors that give Acumatica Distribution Edition the ability to improve your supply chain management. We have worked with many distribution businesses on the implementation of these capabilities. If you want to learn more about how Acumatica Distribution Edition can help you with your supply chain, contact us for a free consultation and product demo.