Historically, ERP systems for distributors have been more transactional and less analytical. That has changed dramatically with modern, sophisticated systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365. Now, technology can automate and enhance forecasting and procurement, transforming the distribution model. Add Microsoft’s Power BI (Business Intelligence) to the mix, and now distributors have a truly revolutionary approach to business planning.
How is Dynamics 365 changing the game for distributors?
The notion of “forecasting” is certainly not new. In the past, it was calculated as a way to estimate or guess possible future needs based on past behavior. That notion gets turned on its head with today’s technology. Now we can “know” exact inventory levels not just within our organization, but with third parties and even customers as well. No more guessing. We have transitioned from everyone working from imperfect information in slow speed, to highly accurate and real-time data.
Another transformational point is old forecasting models versus newer, more project-planning based models. Today’s distributor is dealing with a more complex and varied product set. There is no longer a “textbook” distribution model with highly repetitive tasks. The need for work order capabilities and bill of material systems is now shared with both distributors and manufacturers.
Meeting company sales targets and accurately forecasting sales revenue are critical to the success of any company. But it can be hard getting the right insights to more accurately predict the future and take the right actions. To make the jobs of sellers easier, we can use Dynamics 365 and predictive analytics models to better predict the future for sales processes like opportunity management, pipeline management, and forecasting. By aggregating end-to-end sales information and feeding it into predictive analytics models, the sales teams get powerful analytics-based insights and recommendations.
Procurement and sourcing cover all the steps from identifying a need for product and services through procuring the product, receipt, invoicing, and processing of payment with vendors. Procurement processes can be configured toward specific business needs by defining purchasing policies and workflows.
In Dynamics 365, purchasing professionals can create and maintain catalogs of the items and services that can be purchased for internal use in an organization. After catalogs are set up, company employees can create purchase requisitions to order from them. The catalogs can be used to enforce purchasing policies so that employees can order only the items and services that are allowed for their buying legal entity.
Microsoft’s Power BI is an easy-to-use and customized business analytics tool that lets you visually analyze data and share insights. By using Power BI, you can explore data at a deeper level and quickly create rich reports and dashboards. You and your colleagues can then access and use the reports interactively on any devices. You can integrate Power BI with Dynamics 365 and many third-party applications, giving you a holistic view across operations.
Want to learn more about Dynamics 365 for distributors? Curious how it can enhance and transform your business? Check out our recent webinar or contact us today at Western Computer to arrange for a customized demo.
About the AuthorMore Content by Ken May