If your business is in warehousing and distribution, you’ll know that keeping everything on track is no mean feat. With large sku counts, multiple locations, multiple warehouses and round the clock stock movements, it’s easy for things to unravel.
All of the above is made that much harder if there aren’t robust systems in place to take care of key processes. It’s commonplace to find warehouse and distribution management being carried out across a range of disparate systems, which don’t communicate with each other, or even via antiquated spreadsheets.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the challenges faced within warehouse and distribution management, and how an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) like Sage 200 can streamline key processes.
Making Sure Stock Meets Demand
If your stock levels can’t match demand, sales opportunities and inevitably customers will be lost. On the other side of the scale, failure to accurately match demand to stock levels can also restrict cash flow, with large volumes of cash tied up in excess inventory.
Sage 200 offers real-time access to inventory, from anywhere, at any time and on any device, allowing you to make strategic decisions based on an accurate view of the business. It can tell you how many units shipped last month, which lines were most popular, and who are your most valuable customers.
From this information, Sage 200 can then look at sales order processing (SOP) to predict future demand, and inventory can be matched accordingly. Sage 200 can even suggest purchase orders required to meet future demand, as well as identify purchase orders which need to be pushed back to prevent over-stocks.
With a 360-degree view of current and future demand, sales and purchase orders, inventory levels and locations, minimum stock levels and customer and product trends, Sage 200 allows you to maximise all sales opportunities and avoid disappointing your customers.
Maintaining Stock Traceability at All Times
Another challenge faced within warehousing and distribution management is traceability. From incoming purchase orders to outgoing sales orders, internal stock movements to returns, there is always stock on the move. Keeping track of this across multiple locations and sometimes warehouses is essential to avoid orphaned stock, stock in the wrong locations and booking too little or too much stock in or out.
With a Barcoding and Warehousing module in Sage 200, the problem of traceability is more than taken care of. The module is accessible on any android device, meaning you can choose the most suitable portable device for your business, on which warehouse employees can process real-time stock transactions on the shop floor.
The ability to process stock transactions in real-time at stock locations ensures inventory movement is full tracked and accurate. Below are some of the key features of the Barcoding and Warehouse module;
- Book in purchase orders to existing locations, or create new ones.
- Pick and despatch sales orders and receipt returns back into stock.
- Pre-allocated stock on incoming purchase orders to existing sales orders.
- Pick stock to be transferred internally between locations in the warehouse.
- Book in “found” stock and write off damaged and quarantined stock.
- Transfer allocated stock between locations in the warehouse.
- Perform stock takes both traceable and non-traceable inventory.
- Print barcodes for goods in, stock bin locations and goods out, with multiple barcode formats supported.
- Track and record all stock movements at serial and batch number level.
- Perform all of the above transactions in real-time, on wireless mobile devices.
The Warehousing and barcoding module is integrated with all of Sage 200 Commercials including Sales Order Processing (SOP), Purchase Order Processing (POP), Stock and Bill of Materials (BOM). It also integrates with a variety of other useful modules including Job Costing and Works Orders (used predominantly in manufacturing and construction).
Improving Customer Interactions & Relationships
Customers are at the core of every business. With competition fierce, it’s essential that businesses offer the best possible product and service to their customers, and warehousing and distribution is no different. Happy customers are returning customers, which is why it’s essential that businesses make customer interactions positive ones.
With Sage 200, your sales teams have access to a real-time view of inventory, allowing them to confirm current availability during a customer interaction. Because this information can be accessed on mobile devices, from anywhere and at any time, your remote sales teams have everything they need to seal the deal. This also avoids customer disappointment when promised stock is reneged on, because sales teams were using out of date inventory numbers when selling.
The ability of Sage 200 to forecast future sales demand also benefits the customer. By taking into account currency inventory levels, incoming purchase orders, current and future sales orders and historic trends, Sage 200 can suggest future purchase orders in order to meet future demand. This greatly reduces the chances of non-fulfilment of sales orders to customers, making for a much better customer relationship and experience.
Sage 200 can even alert you when delays in purchase orders will cause delays in fulfilling sales orders to your customers, allowing you to navigate the issue or notify the customer in advance. Ultimately, Sage 200 allows warehouse and distribution businesses the ability to work in a more agile way, responding efficiently at pace to meet changing customer demands.
Increasing Sales, Margins & Profitability
With margins often tight within warehousing and distribution, it’s important to have a clear view of profitability at all times. Sage 200 provides an accurate central location for all costs and revenue, through all stages of a stock items life cycle. Powerful reporting and analytics also allow you to analyze costs and profitability by the stock attributes that you decide.
It can track the costs associated with a stock item from the purchase order landing, through the warehouse and distribution process and into a completed sales order. Understanding the final profitability of a sales order, and the ability to track all costs along the way, allows businesses to identify areas in which they can reduce costs.
Sage 200 also allows you to easily track cash flow on a daily basis, looking at all purchase orders, sales orders and associated costs, allowing you to identify areas that are choking cash flow. An easy drag and drop cash flow planner lets you plan your cash flow, allowing you to get a real-time and future view of your businesses liquidity.
With margins low within warehousing and distribution, growth can often come from volume. It’s essential that sales teams are securing large volumes of sale orders in order to increase top line revenue. Sage 200 provides sales teams with cross-sell functionality, suggesting additional sales opportunities based on the original sales order. Sage 200 can also suggest alternative products when stock availability will collapse the sale.
Sage 200 also provides teams with an easy way of managing complex pricing structures, allowing them to secure sales orders at the best possible price and increasing profitability. The Sage 200 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software also monitors potential future deals, allowing sales teams to maximise on the opportunity.
It’s clear that Sage 200 provides an efficient way to increase revenue and profitability. Through effective cost tracking and management across all warehousing and distribution processes, and the ability to maximise sales opportunities, the sky’s the limit.
It’s clear that warehousing and distribution businesses face a wide range of challenges, not only logistically, but in maintaining cash flow and profitability. Stock visibility is at the core of the business, with maintaining strong supplier and customer relations equally as important.
Sage 200 provides a solution which brings every aspect of a business under one roof. From this central location, businesses can manage costs, streamline processes, maximise sales and manage customers and suppliers, with the end result an increase in profitability.
If your warehousing or distribution business is struggling to reduce costs and maximise profitability, Eventura can help. As Sage Partners, we have been delivering robust and bespoke, industry specific business solutions for almost 20 years. Our business analysts can help you identify your requirements to facilitate growth, and our talented team of developers, consultants and technicians can deliver your Sage solution.
Because we also provide Managed IT services, we can also help to identify any additional requirements, scoping your project as a whole. From conception, to delivery and then ongoing support and training, we can guide you through the journey to your new business solution.
If you would like to speak to one of our Sage experts, you can request a free call back here.