Elf-ficiency – The Festive Guide to ERP for Ho-Ho-Wholesale Distribution


It’s the time of the year when many small-medium-enterprise manufacturers and distributors (retail and wholesale) see demand for their products hit an all-time high.

Christmas can put a massive strain on any business, not only when it comes to the people that work there but more often than not their Business Management Systems or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). Business owners know that an ever-changing economic climate, evolving demands of customers, and potentially unreliable suppliers are just a few of the common disruptions that effect their supply chain.

It could be the most wonderful time of the year (for your profits)

Businesses these days need to meet the demands of their clients faster or run the risk of losing them to a competitor. For this reason, identifying weak links in your supply chain and addressing them swiftly will result in greater customer satisfaction and an increase in profit margins.

Understanding your supply chain and avoiding disruption is easy with a business solution from Microsoft. The right ERP can help provide the control and business insight required to manage an efficient supply chain. It can also prepare you for inevitable interruptions but allow you to manage them proactively. We think we’ve found the perfect example of a businessman who’s clearly using an ERP system at maximum efficiency.

The ultimate wholesale distributer

Who would you think of as the world’s most famous and busiest manufacturer/distributor of gifts?

That’s right, Santa Claus.

He manages to deliver globally, on time, every year! Let’s face it, he’d have a long list of unhappy customers to respond to on Boxing Day if he didn’t.

His customer base is vast, their demand is incredible and his window of opportunity is tiny, so Santa has to be able to have accurate data, complete visibility of order status, levels of stock, and delivery schedules on-hand in real time.

Efficient Reindeer Planning

It may not be what ERP really stands for, but Efficient Reindeer Planning is exactly what Santa and his elves would need to do such an amazingly successful job. Which is why, as far as we’re concerned, we’re convinced that he must use Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP to manage his workshop in the North Pole.

Let’s look at the stats; with Dynamics NAV Santa has:

  • Better Customer Satisfaction – Keeping track of buyer trends, anticipating children’s Christmas lists and delivering on time
  • Faster order processing – accuracy in picking and packing is critical in making sure that the right items are batched together. Vastly reducing order-completion times.
  • Elf-ficient Supply Chain Management – Santa is able to understand all aspects of the supply chain, from knowing his best vendors and supplier, negotiating better terms and getting best value. His elves also benefit from knowing when goods will be delivered to plan effectively.
  • Leaner inventory control – Santa has real time accuracy on stock control, only ordering in what he needs to deliver. Tracking every item from point of order, its warehouse location, the quantity in stock, right through to final destination.
  • Better cost control – Even though Santa is the biggest distributor of gifts this time of year, he still has to keep a close eye on operational costs. NAV gives him visibility of all operational costs keeping him competitive and also allows him to identify opportunities to improve.

Will your 2016 be naughty or nice?

If you follow Santa’s lead, you could be looking forward to a nicely profitable New Year.

As well as gaining insight into your supply chain, an ERP solution offers predictive analysis tools. These allow you to create ‘what if’ scenarios, so you can see how certain fluctuations might impact on your ability to manufacture or distribute products to your customers. Ultimately, you’ll be able to develop strategic plans that allow you to avoid any potential risks. 

It’s unlikely that an average, non-magical business is going to reach the global capabilities of the big bearded businessman in red, but with a little help from NAV, you could improve your elf-ficiency and bring a little festive cheer to your profits and productivity.

Put ERP Central on your list this year and we’ll help you find a Microsoft partner that matches your business needs perfectly. Get in touch today to find out how.

Written by Mark Blackmore, Channel Manager QBS Group


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