In part one of this series, Sarah Walker examines some of the pain points faced by C-suites in the wholesale & distribution Industry. Do these challenges sound familiar? Read on with part two of our series, highlighting solutions for the C-suite.
The wholesale and distribution industry represents an enormous of the global economy, bringing in an estimated $5.7 trillion. But it’s not all smooth sailing for businesses; they face some huge challenges. International economic and political uncertainty, fluctuating customer demands, and the pressing need to digitize operations are just some of the hurdles that wholesale and distribution businesses need to overcome in order to stay one step ahead.
While technology is a key enabler for businesses looking to stay competitive, the industry is actually struggling to adopt technology quick enough. Efforts are often redirected to address other, more pressing issues. The fact of the matter is that it’s sometimes the incumbent technology (or lack thereof) that is causing these pain points, with corporate-level staff, in particular, struggling to optimize operations in line with current requirements. So what are these pain points for C-level staff and how can they be addressed to guarantee that all-important competitive edge?
One of the main causes of C-level issues is the sheer number of disparate systems and solutions often involved in a business. A myriad of legacy and often highly customized systems make it impossible to secure a true picture of the whole organization. With multiple reports having to be pulled together (often manually) to try and establish a view of the entire business, processes can not only be time consuming, but error prone as well.
The need to amalgamate multiple reports leads to a lack of confidence in the data that’s presented to the C-level team. The time taken to bring all the data together, not to mention the inevitable errors that occur in transferring and transporting data, means that information is not only incorrect but also out of date by the time it makes it to the desks of the relevant people. This inability to get an accurate, timely picture of the business stands in the way of effective decision making, hindering the ability to identify and address existing problems, let alone identify future trends and opportunities.
Data inaccuracy has a further effect on inventory numbers too, with an ability to ensure inventory numbers are accurate, making it extremely difficult to keep up with demand and successfully fulfill orders. Inaccurate and ineffective inventory has a huge knock-on effect on the rest of the business, not just in terms of inefficiency but also in terms of cost. For such a crucial area of the business, accuracy is paramount. With multiple systems in place across the business, accuracy just isn’t possible.
With so many systems in place, inefficient processes are commonplace throughout the business. Too many manual processes increase operational expenses and hinder business agility, with the inevitable factor of human error and the sheer time it takes to carry out tasks putting the entire business on the back foot. For the C-level team in particular, aspirations of increasing business agility are frustrated by the presence of manual processes, which make for an inflexible business that’s often too slow to respond to changing customer demands and market dynamics.
All of these issues ultimately damage the profitability of a wholesale and distribution business, which for the C-level team is very worrying indeed. The combination of multiple legacy systems and manual processes simply does not fit with the times in which we’re all operating. More and more businesses are learning this lesson the hard way, with profits continuing to slide in spite of increasing customer numbers.
For more information on how Sapphire can help your Wholesale and Distribution business increase its competitive advantage, contact us.
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