The systems along your supply chain are fundamental to organisational success. Yet, as your business grows, budgeting for technology and systems upgrades can fall to the bottom of the priority list. These systems become outdated and harder to integrate, and can no longer cope with the demands of data processing.

Sound familiar?

If your wholesale distribution business is struggling to keep up with your ongoing system demands, you’re not alone. Keeping up with technology in the wholesale distribution environment can be challenging and costly. However, consolidating and integrating your existing platforms can improve your insights,and give you the confidence to engage, service and reach more customers.

Why your business needs data automation and integration

Wholesale distribution relies heavily on up-to-date data, and your teams need reliable technology to access that data. Without the right technology, your team members can’t do their jobs efficiently, which means you could end up with unhappy customers.

In 2020, the International Data Centre (IDC) predicted that more than 59 zettabytes (ZB) of data would be created, captured, copied, and consumed in the world, with a heavy trend towards increased consumption of replicated data. That’s a lot of data to process, and doing it all manually is unrealistic.

This is why data automation is the answer, and using your available technology to simplify your processes makes sense.

Data automation
Data automation processes replace manual tasks. This is cost-effective, saving your people valuable time, and freeing them up to do more complex tasks. The right solution will also process data at a quicker rate, allowing you to provide a more efficient service to your customers.
If you’re a business that has previously manually received stock and updated your inventory levels, switching to RFID tags and sensors is a prime way to optimise your inventory management, and increase the efficiency of your business. When it comes time for you to review your current manual operations, do so through the lens of the benefits you want to gain from data automation. The questions below may help you start thinking about how this could look for your business.

Do you want to reduce human error?
Are you interested in increasing data quality?
Would you like to streamline your business processes?
Are you hoping to gain cost efficiencies?
Do you want to increase productivity?

By combining multiple data sources and systems, you can better enable your teams to access all the data they need through one source, instead of having to log into multiple systems.
Ideally, rather than running your systems independently from your other technology, you can find a solution which will completely integrate your distribution process. Your WMS would then seamlessly connect to all your other technology platforms.

Your ideal solution
Imagine having an integrated end-to-end operating solution that incorporated every business touchpoint from accounting to supply chain, communications and procurement.

That solution could:
Automate and streamline operations to improve internal systems and customer service.
Harness new technology to shift from on-premise apps to the Cloud / SaaS, which would boost efficiency and improve cost control.
Integrate with legacy systems.
Evolve with operational shifts.
Improve transparency of predictive insights for proactive planning.

How close is your business to currently achieving these outcomes? If they feel further away than you hoped, perhaps it’s time to finally consider where your business needs to change to embrace the automation and integration of your digital platforms.

The 4 phases of leveraging business data
To move your data integration and automation to the next level, you need to take four steps.
Step 1: Identify your data sources across the business
Look at all the systems you currently use, and evaluate how your data is accessed and used. We suggest categorising your systems into three areas of discovery: People, Processes and Technology.

Which teams use which data?
What do they use that data for?
Do they rely on input or output data?

Do you have manual or automated processes?
What’s the purpose of each process?
Which teams use that process?

What legacy systems are in use?
Which platforms are used?
Which platforms and systems are integrated?

Step 2: Assess and develop the level of integration and automation that your business could benefit from

Once you’ve analysed your operations, the next step is to determine which systems and technology will best automate and integrate your systems and data. Ultimately, you’re trying to achieve an automated, accessible digital ecosystem to increase productivity and cost control.
Don’t forget to look at all aspects of your applications, including physical and virtual platforms, integration tools and other technology. These will combine to provide a tailored end-to-end solution for your business.

Step 3: Develop a plan to implement and transition from your legacy systems

Implementing change takes careful planning, so this is where change management becomes critical as part of your business transformation. You’ll also need to determine the timeline that will have the least impact on your people and ongoing operations.

Change management is crucial for a successful implementation, so you’ll need to get buy-in from all of the stakeholders in your business. Your change management plan will also detail the communication channels you’ll need to use.

The implementation plan will then detail how you’ll implement the solution, and how it will be project managed, including minimising risks and disruptions to your business.
Your testing plan will cover each aspect of both system testing and user testing as you implement each change and system.

Finally, your training plan will detail the training needs for each team that will use any of the new systems.

Step 4: Measure, predict and optimise the outcomes, using insights
Before you implement your new solution, take note of your current operational performance. This will give you a benchmark to work from when you analyse your new system’s performance after you implement it.
Although you can’t predict the exact cost savings and efficiencies, you’ll probably start to see significant changes across:
More streamlined operations
Greater visibility across your business
Fewer complex, costly processes

Choosing the right partner
At Nexon, our team of innovative thinkers and industry experts have been designing business solutions to clients like you for years.

To succeed in your operational optimisation, it can be critical to work with a partner who understands every facet of your business, and who has the industry knowledge to tailor a custom solution specifically for you. At Nexon, we’re proud to offer access to some of the best trained experts in the industry, capable of taking a holistic view of your business thanks to their in-depth experience.

As your business evolves and you need to gain competitive advantage. We can support you in growing your business and maximising your bottom line by centralising your operations. This creates greater visibility throughout your business, enabling you to harness the power of analytics and dashboards to support your growth and transformation.

Are you ready to take your wholesale operations to the next level? Contact us today to speak with one of our experts.