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How Aptean Distribution ERP Crushes Inventory Management

How Aptean Distribution ERP Crushes Inventory Management

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How Aptean Distribution ERP Crushes Inventory Management

Dec 15, 2021

Ken Weygand
Inventory management can make or break your business. Any ERP can help to some extent, but here’s how Aptean’s distribution ERP outstrips the rest.

Consumer goods distributors have a tough job, and it’s been even more difficult lately in the face of global supply chain issues. As a distributor, you know that you need to master inventory management processes to get the greatest profits and keep your retail customers happy. You need to keep the right amount of inventory in stock to avoid overages and shortages.

Managing inventory is all about data. You need to have accurate counts of every SKU in your inventory, and if you are tracking thousands of items, not all distribution ERPs are created equal. Aptean’s Distribution ERP has an inventory management system built right into the software. Our solution offers tools that no other ERP on the market can match, particularly if your distribution enterprise has a large volume of inventory.

Any ERP can give you full visibility of inventory across your organization. Other ERPs have integrated inventory management and will help you maintain accurate inventory data—but only if your inventory is limited to a small number of SKUs. Most of these distribution ERPs simply cannot scale with SKU numbers larger than a few hundred.

But Aptean’s Distribution ERP will give you a competitive advantage by allowing you to have thousands, even tens of thousands, of SKUs. With specialized toolsets that allow you to reserve, restrict and allocate inventory, Aptean’s Distribution ERP with built-in Inventory Management stands out from the rest. Let’s examine why.

Back Order Allocation

Most consumer goods distributors have multiple retail clients, and you want to keep them all satisfied. But there are times when they are all requesting the same products. Your inventory flow might involve processing back orders, and you need to ensure that when product arrives it goes to the right customers at the right time.

Once you have decided which customer orders you are going to fulfill first, you can build out a rules hierarchy in the toolset, letting your team know in which sequence these orders get filled. The rules can be based on attributes of the orders, such as customer, order type, order dates, ship dates, and more.

In most ERP platforms, this is a tedious, manual process. Or with some ERP solutions, you must put multiple notes in the system letting your team members know when product arrives, who gets what. Of course, that depends on whether your team is going to pay attention to these notes, particularly when it’s crunch time or the busy season.

Aptean’s Distribution ERP with robust inventory management capabilities eliminates these issues. The allocation is in the system automatically, and in the correct order (Walmart goes first, Costco second, etc.). This means that no one is sending an order out the door to the wrong client, and nobody is having to peruse pages of notes before they fulfill an order.

Inventory Reserve

Have you ever made promises to one of your customers about the availability of a product, and then been unable to fulfill it? Does your team need to reserve products for your retail clients?  This is where inventory reserve comes into play. You’ll never lose a sale again with this tool.

With most ERPs, you must create a hold order to reserve inventory items that are already in your warehouse. You must be sure your team knows not to ship that order, because it isn’t a real order. Then you have to revise the hold order once the sale comes in.

Not so with Aptean’s inventory management capabilities. The inventory reserve tool allows you to allocate goods to a customer to save them. Let’s say you have 2,000 units of a popular item. You’ve made commitments to Wayfair that you’d have 500 units for them for the promotion they are having at the end of the month. Simply mark them as sold with the inventory reserve, and everyone can see that all 500 units are spoken for. Even better is that when Wayfair submits the actual purchase order, the inventory reserve depletes automatically. With other systems, you have to manually revise the hold order to release it into the inventory.

The tool also allows for future reservations—even if the goods aren’t in your warehouse yet, you can hold 250 units for your customer. The tool automates this process, and gives you alerts ahead of time so that you’ll know to set aside more product.

Sales Restrictions

There are times in the distribution game where you cannot sell an item to a customer. Maybe it’s due to state regulations, or maybe the customer requires a product to be made with specific supplies which your manufacturer doesn’t have. Maybe they have other restrictions, like labeling.

Aptean’s sales restriction tool prevents an order from taking place with automatic alerts.

For example, maybe you know that you cannot sell product X to customers in California because it’s not compliant with that state’s Proposition 65 regulations. The system notates the stipulation that item X cannot be sold to California customers. When the order comes in through EDI the system will prevent the order if a restriction is in place, and your team will know immediately. It will also restrict any other means of creating an order within the ERP. That way, they can contact the customer and offer them an alternative or discuss why the order was stopped. This keeps you in compliance and prevents shipping errors.

Distribution Resource Planning

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could avoid overages? What about if you could complete customer forecasts? Suppose you want to integrate point-of-sale (POS) data with supplier lead times? If your distribution ERP is fully integrated with distribution resource planning (DRP), you can do all those things, and more.

Configurable workflows within the ERP enable you to set up rules and workflows based on your unique specifications for products and customers. Alerts within the ERP notify users whenever a task is created, updated, or requires attention, so that you know if there are any issues with your orders.

The system is reactive to transactions taking place. It monitors activities and lets you know about shortages or overages. For instance, maybe you are going to be in an excess inventory position. The system can validate incoming orders against what was forecasted.

Perhaps you want to forecast your sales activity. If you know that Walmart will be buying 500 units in January, February and March, it will note that and keep track of all sales history. However, if they suddenly up their order in April to 550 units, you’ll get an alert, and the system will put a hold on that order until someone on your team approves or denies it.

This helps you avoid shortages and protect your inventory. At the same time, you can decide which customers will get order shortfalls. If you have overages, you’ll know immediately, so you can plan where to offload product, whether to drop the price, or even sell to discount retailers to keep as much of the profit as possible.

The Choice Is Clear

If you want the best distribution ERP backed with the most agile, functional inventory management capabilities, the choice is clear. You need Aptean’s Distribution ERP. We also have a team of experts that know the distribution industry inside and out. We know the challenges you face in your daily operations, and we’re here to help you solve them.

If you’re tired of trying to guess what your customers want, and tired of paper-heavy, manual order processing, then an industry-specific distribution ERP is for you.

You’ll know the sales history of every customer, of every SKU, from month to month. Inventory management tools help you keep on track with your targets and with meeting your customers' inventory demands. Because you can anticipate what a customer will order, you’ll have the right inventory at the right time to fill the order.

Our distribution ERP was tailor-made for distributors like you to guarantee efficiency and productivity with your inventory management strategy.

Want to learn more about what Aptean Distribution ERP with integrated inventory management can do for you? Reach out to us today.

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