Distribution 20-May-2021

Forging Ahead: Steps to Operating in a Modern Distribution Environment

Modern Distribution Environment

With the groundwork laid for ERP modernization, now it's time to go live and continue to improve. Today, we explore the path to and beyond go-live day and discuss the options that you have for continuous improvement.

Nowadays, warehouses must move quickly to stay up with the competition. Modern ERP systems have tremendous flexibility and agility, but these businesses need to develop continuous improvement cultures in order to maximize their return on these investments. Here’s how.

Streamline Warehouse Operations

Moving goods from the supplier to the client more efficiently boosts productivity and profitability. So, warehouses need to respond to customer demands faster, ship goods on time, and most importantly, improve inventory turns, so products sit for less time in the supply chain.  

To meet these demands, many organizations migrated from legacy warehouse systems to connected, modern solutions, which offer many benefits. These backends are more configurable and deliver visibility in areas, like relationship management and cost. 

Data access is another improvement. As goods move through the warehouse, they generate information that can be used by different applications. Consequently, new cloud systems deliver current shipment status information at any time and from anywhere.

What is Needed to Build a Continuous Improvement Corporate Culture?

But business process improvements are a never ending quest. Once a company has a modern solution in place, they need to find new ways to leverage its features and become even more effective.

Get Top Management Support

The first step is developing a company culture that continuously enhances its business processes. The organization’s top executive leadership team must be on board if such an objective has a chance to be met. They have to understand and support each and every facet of the plan.

Deploy a Sound Technology Structure

Businesses struggle because they have older systems that were not designed to work with modern functions, like cloud. Modern systems enable rather than hinder business change, but you also need to compliment that solution with integration tools and connectivity to items. like warehouse carousels, conveyor systems, scales, and scanning systems.

Retool Business Processes

Organizations create business processes that support financial transactions starting with collecting transaction information and follow through all the way to ensure that compliance regulations are followed.

Identify Modernization Initiatives

Companies should complete a detailed warehouse assessment to identify gaps. Then, start small and work on high priority, easy to implement modernization activities first.

Automate Manual Processes

In many cases, warehouse companies rely on manual processes, which are time consuming and error-prone. For instance, a clerk juxtaposes numbers when entering an SKU. New solutions offload an increasing number of manual tasks and dramatically reduce such input errors.

Increase Efficiency

Systems with ABC rank codes, movement classes, and calendar-dependent cycle counting determine optimal warehouse layouts for high-volume and low-volume inventory.

Remove Friction

New digital tools are intuitive and work quickly. Inventory receipts support directed put-away to preferred item stocking locations. One-step, two-step, and even three-step transfers are supported.

Keep Employees Engaged

Change breeds doubt and distractions. From the beginning of your pilot program to the eventual organization-wide implementation, managers must solicit and respond to feedback. They must ask for suggestions. When they receive a good one, they must put it into action quickly and recognize the person who submitted it. Such steps let employees know that their input matters.

Allow for Errors

When implementing a new continuous improvement plan, do not be afraid to fail. New processes involve trial and error – you do not know what works and what does not work until you try. If an initial plan is not going to effectively address a specific problem, ask for suggestions and make changes. Your employees know your organization and the products or the services it provides. They are your best resource when refining your business processes.

Put Success on Display

Sometimes, a continuous improvement plan makes changes that are relatively small and hard to discern and go unnoticed. Management needs to regularly recognize any benefits, so employees feel like what they are doing is making a positive, tangible difference. Employees become more invested if your organization’s goals are clear and they see the impact of their participation in the continuous improvement plan.

Find the Right Product from the Right Partner

Warehouse modernization projects provide the tools to eliminate manual data entry, streamline business processes, and improve visibility into warehouse and inventory. Because the technology is new, few companies have the skills to get themselves from where they are now to reaping the many rewards that these new systems offer.

Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, a Gold Certified Acumatica Partner, has extensive experience helping warehouses modernize their operations. Acumatica Cloud ERP is ready and able to handle your challenges. You can get to know more about how we workwho we’ve helped, and why we’ve been a leader in the business for nearly three decades by contacting us for a free consultation or watching our Acumatica Distribution demo.

Additional Resources

Laying the Groundwork: Three Steps to WMS Advancement

Distributors: How to Document ERP Requirements, Preferences, and Nice-to-Have Features

Warehouse Modernization: Understanding Your Level of Technological Maturity


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