Stay Modern: How to Eliminate Manual Entry and Become More Productive - Modern Distribution Management

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Stay Modern: How to Eliminate Manual Entry and Become More Productive

Karthik Chidambaram explains what distributors can expect from integrating sales process automation and the risk of relying on old-school methods.
Marketing automation, growth marketing strategy concept. Digital marketing automation tools used for all in one, email marketing, social media, customer journey, pricing, advertising, and loyalty.

Many distributors still key in orders. Even though old habits die hard, it’s time to catch up to keep up.

You’re wasting valuable time if your support or financial teams manually enter orders and generate invoices. As your business grows, your order volume will too. Eliminating manual processes becomes essential for maximizing workflow efficiency and accuracy.

Distributors need to switch to automated processes that integrate across their entire system. Don’t keep keying in orders manually. You’ll be left behind.

How Buyer Expectations and Technology Drive Process Change for Distributors

There’s been a drastic uptick in digital transformation over the past few years to drive efficiency, productivity and competitive advantage. Most distributors who adopt new technologies see positive outcomes. However, distributors who hesitate to adopt new technology will fall further and further behind the competition.

While adopting eCommerce used to be seen by distributors as too complicated, today 65% of B2B companies offer eCommerce. B2B sellers are now more likely to provide eCommerce than in-person selling, according to McKinsey, making it a top revenue-producing channel.

However, just investing in the bare minimum for your eCommerce platform isn’t enough. According to a whitepaper by MDM, the top two priorities for distributors when investing in eCommerce were to:

  1.  Increase efficiency and operational cost savings
  2.  Improve sales productivity

Along with eCommerce, distributors can benefit from using new technology to automate sales processes to generate more time for your reps to spend interacting with customers.

A McKinsey report shows that nearly one-third of sales and sales operations tasks can be easily automated with today’s tech. In addition, the report showed that order management has the most potential (50%) to be highly automated with the available technology.

Additionally, the interest in direct-to-consumer and disintermediation in the distribution industry requires breaking down silos in your organization to deliver best-in-class eCommerce and process automation.

With the uptick in available technology that benefits businesses, a central component to success is fully integrated systems.

What Distributors Can Expect from Integration and Automation

Distributors require in-depth tools that can eliminate data silos, increase productivity and eliminate errors. Investing in integration and automation can offer distributors an opportunity to better their businesses.

Automating your business and integrating your system provides your company with benefits, such as:

  • Streamlining order procurement
  • Eliminating data entry errors
  • Improve workflow efficiency
  • Real-time visibility
  • Cost savings

Distributors who use and adopt new technology to advance their businesses will set their organizations up for success in the long run.

For example, when you integrate your ERP system and eCommerce platform, critical data from both systems are shared in real-time. System integration prevents manual and duplicate data entry, errors and wasted time. One source of truth allows you to glean powerful insights about your business and gives your team access to those insights wherever they are.

Old-School Methods Have Costly Implications Today

Sticking with the old-school methods of keying in orders and generating invoices has clear and direct consequences for distributors. In addition, distributors who are late to adopt new technology face potential pitfalls, such as:

  • Slower processing times
    • This directly impacts your company’s ability to perform excellent customer service and keep your customers happy.
  • Data errors
    • When data is wrong, your business makes bad decisions. This can affect your relationship with customers and your business’s bottom line.
  • Lack of productivity
    • With your resources stuck on manual tasks, this can affect the motivation and execution of your teams.
  • Minimal growth
    • From new hires who expect fully automated and integrated systems to customers who expect the same, your business can experience slow or no growth without adopting new technologies.

Distributors who hesitate to integrate their systems or adopt automated processes will continue to fall further behind the competition. And the changes aren’t stopping. Digital transformation and new technologies will continue to force process change for distributors.

Stopping manual order entry by integrating your systems is the first step to catching up – and keeping up.

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