How Power BI Solves the Top Challenges for Distributors

Being a distributor is not easy. The list of things you have to deal with ranges from managing your supply chain to optimizing your inventory, monitoring customer demand, and improving operational efficiency. Only then can you compete with other distributors trying their best to outperform you.  


But don’t worry, there is a solution that helps you with all these challenges and more. It’s called Microsoft Power BI, and it’s a cloud-based business intelligence platform that can transform your data into insights and actions.  

Power BI helps distributors in many ways: 

  • Visualize and analyze data from multiple sources. It's highly likely that, as a distributor, you support your operations with an ERP system, a CRM system, and other home-grown systems combined with Microsoft Excel files, web services, and more. With Power BI, you can connect to hundreds of data sources and combine and transform your data into reports and visuals that reveal patterns, trends, and outliers. For example, you can use Power BI to track your sales performance, inventory turnover levels, customer satisfaction, and profitability across different regions, products, and channels. Power BI can also help you identify problems or opportunities that don't stand out from the crowd in rows and rows of Excel files. Ultimately, the tool helps you see the big picture of your distribution company while also providing the ability to drill into critical details.  
  • Monitor and optimize inventory levels. Inventory levels can make or break your success as a distributor. With Power BI, you can optimize inventory management by providing real-time visibility into your stock. Power BI dashboards can be used to track key inventory metrics like stock availability, inventory turnover ratio, fill rate, and stockout risk. You can even use Power BI to trigger email alerts when inventory levels fall below a certain threshold—helping you maintain an adequate stock without running out or overstocking. 
  • Improve customer service and retention. When you're competing with other distributors for market share, incredible customer service is a must. Power BI is a tool your customer success team can use to increase customer satisfaction and maintain steady customer retention levels. You can consolidate customer data from multiple systems and then segment your customers based on various criteria, such as purchase history, loyalty, profitability, and satisfaction. Furthermore, tracking related KPIs can give you a visual understanding of who your customers are and how you can best fulfill their wants and needs. Some would say Power BI can help turn your customers into fans and advocates. 
  • Increase operational efficiency and productivity. Who doesn't love efficiency and productivity? With Power BI, you see an increase in operational efficiency and productivity by automating your reporting and analysis processes. Reports and dashboards are interactive, available on any kind of device, and shareable with team members and stakeholders. In addition, you can embed reports into other Microsoft applications like SharePoint, Teams and Dynamics 365—allowing your teams to see the data they need in the applications they use daily. 

Power BI is a powerful and flexible data analytics tool that can make your life easier as a distributor by helping address your biggest challenges. You can gain insights from your data, make better decisions, and improve your performance.  

To learn more about Power BI and how it can help your distribution business, check out this Power BI Sales Channel Report we developed for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and other ERP platforms. And for information on how we can help your business leverage connected systems to run reports that enable you to tackle your largest challenges, contact us today

About the Author

Kayla Rohde

As a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Consultant for Western Computer, Kayla’s passions are using Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform technology.

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