If you’re a distributor in this turbulent economy, your main concerns include proper management of your inventory, keeping good track of your vendors, and having deep insight into your warehouse while maintaining a level of service that keeps your customers coming back. With all of these moving parts, it’s critical to make each process as streamlined and efficient as possible.

Let’s take a look at just a few of these parts and see how the ERP software Microsoft Dynamics GP comes into play…

  • Inventory Purchasing: Making sure you have what you need on hand at the right time really affects every area of your business. When coordinating the purchase of inventory with Microsoft Dynamics GP’s inventory module, you can easily find which vendor supplies what you need across multiple locations. Microsoft Dynamics GP will also cross-reference the item number you use to identify the product you need with what item number the vendor uses. This eliminates the chance of miscommunication and ensures you get the right product at the right time.
  • Purchase Orders: Within Microsoft Dynamics GP, there’s a field that shows how long a particular vendor takes to supply goods and calculates this data for you into an easy-to-read graphical chart. Insight into this lead time from vendors will give you the leverage to choose which vendor can supply what you need, when you need it. The inventory module within Microsoft Dynamics GP also suggests purchase orders based on what you have on hand. It then checks the primary vendor listed in your database to see if they have what you need, completing and streamlining the purchase order process.
  • Warehouse Assembly: You may need to do light assembly work within your warehouse for special promotions, including Kitting and Bill of Materials (BOM) assembly. Within the inventory module of Microsoft Dynamics GP, your warehouse can identify assembly of products right when the order is placed. For example, you sell hammers, nails, and work belts all separately. But for a Father’s Day promotion, you are offering a special price when you purchase all three. Within the kitting process of Microsoft Dynamics GP, the order is placed with the promotional price and your warehouse can easily see a list of the three components that make up the kit, simplifying the assembly process and reducing order entry errors.

As mentioned above, maintaining a high level of customer service while managing all these moving parts is a main priority for distributors. When you are taking an order, you don’t want to waste a lot of your customer’s time and you definitely don’t want to leave them with lingering questions. Integrating your sales department with your warehouse lets your sales people see your inventory position at any given time. They can respond quickly to questions, know which vendor has the product on hand, and avoid backorders, resulting in a seamless process for your customers. Microsoft Dynamics GP can help simplify the moving parts of customer service as well…

  • Returns: Getting the product back is unfortunately inevitable in the distribution business. Of course, the goal is to touch a product once and never see it again. But it happens, so you need to manage returns quickly and efficiently, otherwise those returns gets stuck in the corner and forgotten. The Returns Management Process in Microsoft Dynamics GP creates accounts which show what type of returns come in; credit, advanced exchange, return and repair, etc. This module also takes care of all the paperwork involved. So when the return comes back, the system adds it to inventory and also automatically creates a credit to the customer. Microsoft Dynamics GP shows insight into this process while managing returns in a timely fashion.
  • Available in Stock: As you already know, you have deep insight into inventory levels when leveraging the tools within Microsoft Dynamics GP. You also have insight to a dashboard view of what is “Available to Promise” when conducting sales calls. This allows you to provide your customers with accurate information the first time.
  • Fulfillment process: There is more that goes into the fulfillment process than order entry and shipment. Additional work is sometimes involved, such as gift wrapping, special packaging, or crating. Microsoft Dynamics GP offers an advanced distribution option for these instances so you have full insight into each step. With this visibility, managers can find issues that arise and make important business decisions that affect the business workflow.
  • Pricing: Many of you are doing business to business and need customer specific pricing options. You may have a list price, but you may want to give special prices or have contracts in place that are renegotiated each year. The extended pricing functionality within Microsoft Dynamics GP helps you manage this with date sensitive reporting and insight.

We’ve reviewed many of the steps you go through on a daily basis and have discovered that Microsoft Dynamics GP plays a big part in managing inventory, maintaining customer service, and streamlining your business processes.

Note: The inclusion of guest posts on the Panorama website does not imply endorsement of any specific product or service. Panorama is, and always will remain, completely independent and vendor-neutral.

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