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Margins are critical in every business. For a distributor, healthy margins are the difference between success and failure. Vendor costs, inventory control, sales pricing and delivery expense all directly affect your margins. Properly managing all these areas while delivering outstanding customer support is the key to driving business growth.

Therefore finding the best ERP software is crucial to ensuring that every aspect of the distribution process goes as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. Here’s a quick look at a few of the most crucial aspects of distribution and how the ERP software Microsoft Dynamics GP approaches it.

1. Purchasing Inventory

Having the correct inventory levels is vital. Balancing just in time inventory maximizes cash flow and avoids wasting capital. Microsoft Dynamics GP’s inventory module allows you to identify which vendor has the things you need across multiple locations. It also allows you to cross-reference a vendor’s SKU number with yours. This makes coordinating purchases much more simple, decreases the likelihood of miscommunication and makes certain you get the right products.

Dynamics GP can also analyze purchasing trends. You can be prepared for when sales spike and avoid being out of stock. This data will also help you to scale back inventory during slow periods preventing you from having capital tied up in unused inventory.

2. Purchase Orders

Microsoft Dynamics GP includes a field that not only tells you how long a specific vendor takes to supply goods but also converts this data into a chart that is easy-to-read. Having this lead time information at your fingertips makes it much easier to select a vendor with the ability to supply what you need at the time you need it. GP’s inventory module also looks at what you have on hand and recommends purchase orders. As a bonus, it will check your database of primary vendors to ensure they have what you need. This streamlines the entire purchase order process.

3. Warehouse Assembly

Some assembly work may be needed for special promotions, such as Kitting and Bill of Materials (BOM) assembly. Microsoft Dynamics GP’s inventory module allows your warehouse to identify assembly of products at the time the order is received. For example, you may sell party plates, cups, and forks separately, but offer a special price when all three are purchased together. When this order is placed at the special price, GP’s kitting process will ensure your warehouse sees a list of all three items, making the assembly process easier and reducing the chances of errors. Dynamics GP also supports handheld scanners to ensure quality control.

4. Fulfillment Process

In some cases, fulfillment includes more than order entry and shipment. For example, it may require crating, special packaging, or gift wrapping. Microsoft Dynamics GP includes an advanced distribution option so that you have complete insight into each step. This allows managers to identify and fix potential issues, as well as make crucial business decisions that could affect workflow.

5. Invoicing

Ordering and shipping a lot of products is great but only if you get paid. Dynamics GP not only helps with invoicing but it also assists in making sure those invoices are collected. It can automatically generate an invoice when the order is placed or shipped. Customers with recurring invoices or shipments are easily managed. If a customer exceeds their credit terms or extends beyond their payment limit, Dynamics GP will automatically halt shipments and deliveries. This protects you from customers who are credit risks.

6. Returns

Returns are a fact of life. Microsoft Dynamics GP’s Returns Management Process simplifies this process by creating accounts that show the types of returns coming in, whether it’s a repair and return, advanced exchange, full credit or etc. The system is also responsible for all the paperwork, meaning it automatically adds it back to the inventory and automatically credits the customers. In other words, returns have never been easier.

7. Pricing

If you are involved in the business to business transactions, you may offer customer specific pricing options. For example, you may want to discount prices or have contracts that are renegotiated yearly. GP’s extended pricing function makes it easier to manage this date sensitive reporting.

Of course, customer service remains a crucial part of your business. Integrating your sales department in with your inventory control is an excellent idea. This makes it easier for your sales team to quickly answer questions, avoid backorders, and know which vendor has a product on hand. This results in a seamless experience that is sure to please every customer.

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