By Kate Fucci
DDI System, FEDA Associate Member
To compete in today’s market, foodservice equipment and supplies distributors and dealers are looking to create exceptional customer experiences. They understand that satisfying customers sustains loyalty and leads to consistent new business, but to deliver on that promise they need better tools that can minimize manual workflows and improve accuracy.
This article looks at some of the tools available through ERP systems that dealers and distributors may want to consider as they enhance their technologies and capabilities.
Increase Customer Engagement and Loyalty
Providing customers with the right information at the right time strengthens relationships, incites loyalty, and proves a business’ ability to deliver superior service over a competitor. Having an embedded CRM system allows team members to access detailed customer information regardless of who picks up the phone or meets them at the counter. CRM that includes personalized customer engagement tools, purchase and price history, and a sales opportunity pipeline keeps customers top of mind and puts valuable information at a salesperson’s fingertips; enabling teams to easily act on sales opportunities while solidifying future orders.
Also, having a system that seamlessly integrates with AutoQuotes eliminates hours of manual entry and errors that are likely to occur when re-keying. Visibility into purchasing, receiving, delivery, and invoice management, along with automatic AutoQuotes cost and price updates for stocked items drives simplified, superior daily operations.
Provide Customers with Self-Service Online Access
Successful distributors are offering a content-rich webstore that allows their customers to leverage the sophistication of a physical store with the immediacy and convenience of online buying. Today's buyer expects a unified shopping experience that supports the conveniences of modern technology, whether in-store or online.
In addition, many distributors are providing their customers with a dedicated online self-service portal: giving customers access to their account 24/7, along with visibility to the full product catalog, upsell products, pricing, previous order history, and more. A fully integrated e-commerce component delivers accurate stock levels, customer-specific pricing, and convenient shipping options, so customers can order with confidence knowing the posted information is 100 percent accurate.
Combat Variable Supply & Demand
Having an ERP that identifies sporadic, recurring, and unusual demand allows distributors to avoid overstock, balance multi-branch inventory, and achieve higher fill rates and inventory turns. Even as customer purchases fluctuate, the ability to quickly identify demand exceptions drives automated, intelligent purchase forecasts that accommodate demand swings.
Inventory management tools that are built right into an ERP system eliminate the need for manual spreadsheet management and provide a much more accurate overview of the business at any given time.
Service Customers from Anywhere, Anytime
Built-in mobile sales tools and real-time ERP data streamlined to smartphone and tablet scale equips sales teams with the information they need to take immediate action by creating quotes and orders right from a mobile device.
Having mobile access to sales follow-ups, invoices, and customer activity history enables sales teams to take immediate action and gain a competitive advantage with the tools needed to service customers on-the-go, which is key in today’s changing marketplace where remote access has become a true necessity.
Make Faster, Smarter Decisions
Real-time, drill-down reporting functionality ensures distributors remain aware of current and potential pitfalls. Having an ERP that delivers unprecedented insight into key business metrics gives teams the power to make impactful, confident decisions based on data.
Intuitive, drill-down reporting capabilities and role-specific dashboards keep companies on top of trends while diving into every aspect of their business for complete operational and financial awareness. The ability to access in-depth details and create custom reports ensures users quickly see analytics that translates into action.
In conclusion, having a single-source ERP software eliminates the need for customization, minimizes hidden costs, and enables a smooth transition experience. Software providers should have a deep understanding of a distributor’s customers, products, and the workflows that drive continued growth, and should offer industry-specific tools to meet customer’s demands – right out-of-the-box.
About the Author
DDI System is a provider of leading-edge ERP technology to equipment distributors and a FEDA associate member. To learn more, visit www.ddisystem.com or call 877-599-4334.