Successful ERP reporting is an important step toward the success of any distribution business. How well do you know your business? What did you do today to make it better? How did you measure the improvement through your distribution ERP system? What should you work on improving tomorrow? Successful reporting is the key to answer these questions.
Inventory reporting is important to most businesses but it is especially so in the distribution industry. You don’t just want the right product in the right place; you want to know it was transported to that place only a second ago and is already on its way toward the outbound dock door.
At the executive level, distribution ERP reporting should be monitoring inventory turns. Look at overall turns and the top and bottom 10% of your inventory. The bottom slowest movers might be candidates to wean out. Can you return them or push your customer to ship them as a fire sale item? Don’t wait for dust to settle on the box. The fastest movers are the stars. What can you do to get the next 5% to that rate? Who are the customers? How can you get more like them? How can you get more of their products? Sales, warehousing, and finance all need to see the data at macro and micro levels.
Order Management Reports
Incoming orders are important. They represent tomorrow’s paychecks. How many orders per day do you get? Is the flow regular or erratic? How much effort is needed to input an order? Do you need clerks to receive orders or can your customers enter them directly to your distribution ERP. When the order is in place, what reports are needed to get that order to your pickers? What would it take to have orders automatically placed by your customers and no changes accepted because the order is already on the FedEx truck? Sales ought to be watching these metrics along with top management.
Shipping is the reason your business exists. Measure lines shipped over time. Measure perfect orders shipped rate. Measure the throughput time from order to ship. Now use ERP reporting to disseminate all this information to the right departments. The warehouse needs this ERP data to manage throughput. Sales can use it in market distinction from the competition.
How about customer relationship management? Do you have a metric for customer satisfaction? Not just if their order shipped on time but are they really happy to do business with you and will they recommend you to their friends? The C-level folks should know. Sales should also watch for prospecting, marketing, selling rates, customer retention. Find simple metrics such as calls per rep per day and use them in targeted reports – that is the key to unlocking the potential of ERP reporting.
Don’t forget profit. What do you earn per account? How about earning per order or per day? You are in business to make a buck. Pay attention to how many you have left in your wallet.