Distribution ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software has found a home in SaaS (Software as a Service). Distribution is a function or critical importance to any inventory- based business regardless of size. For smaller businesses, this function has remained among the most labor intensive activities with the business transactions associated with distribution being less automated due to the costly nature of distribution ERP. Accessibility of distribution ERP to smaller businesses with lower capital reserves has grown in recent years as SaaS has come into its own.
Distribution ERP Success in SaaS
SaaS is an acronym for Software as a Service. Cloud-computing falls within this realm and due to its very structure, is much more attainable for those companies that do not have the deep IT pockets of larger businesses. Saas distribution ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems allows for the easy flow of information and speedy transactions. An order gets fulfilled and shipped (distributed) and that kicks off the billing process which brings actual revenues into an organization.
Done electronically, these transactions take seconds. In addition, with the distribution system accessing data from within the business systems, electronic transactions (payments) can be both pushed out and accepted. Shipping info is stored in the database upon which the distribution ERP relies. Distribution ERP is also a great tool for managing inventory and setting up auto-replenish accounts where purchasing contracts and pricing are in place.
Pick lists can be generated, shipping labels printed and shipments scheduling and requests sent to the shipper (UPS, FedEx, etc.) through EDI (electronic data exchange). This automatic scheduling is generated to schedule pickups and deliveries with accurately. Customs regulations, shipping fees, vat taxes, import/export fees – all are automatic. Direct lines of data flow make it possible to provide customers with real time delivery updates simply by providing the shipping id number with the order.
This functionality was once reserved for large companies alone but with the advent of the SaaS model, small and medium businesses are now able to provide their customers with high level customer service that would not have been possible in the past.
Even small companies routinely ship overseas or receive parts and materials from international suppliers. The internet has transformed business in a way that has changed the market and grown it to global proportions. All of these offerings are capable of multi-national transactions and with the definition of “local” encompassing a much larger market than ever before, multi-national functionality is no longer an option but has become a necessity.
Large software developers have recognized the earning potential in this niche market and now offer truly robust SaaS distribution ERP functionality to companies who cannot afford, do not want or would be overwhelmed by a traditional erp implementation of overkill software.
Epicor provides leased and subscription based solutions to this target market. While Microsoft, NetSuite, Oracle and SAP have introduced products designed to meet the requirements of this specific niche with SaaS versions of their mega products. Like anything else, technological advances have impacted small and mid-sized business functionality and the distribution ERP requirements of small and mid-sized businesses have grown in direct response to those advances.