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Make sure you are using all of the functions of your current IT package before buying a new one, former Prophet 21 executive Doug Levin told MDM in Distribution IT in Transition. "Investigate the cost of getting your existing technology to do something that you might think, 'I need to buy a whole new system to get that,' because it probably will be less expensive to take your existing technology and make it do what you want," he said.
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For example, Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group says that distributors may see a strong payoff from identifying a critical constraint or recurring problem in their order process and diving into their existing package to see how it can be used to fix the problem.
If you have never seriously looked at updating the technology that runs your business, do an audit of your current systems and needs, and research your options. The industry is constantly changing. Some options have become much more affordable for small distributors. Start with MDM's comprehensive list of distribution technology providers at the MDM Technology Provider Directory.
A few questions to ask, according to Levin: Which technology provider is going to be around for the long haul, and who is going to provide the best implementation and support services long-term?
And remember there is no silver bullet, but there are best practices to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment. "Focus some resources in using the systems, getting the data to be optimal, getting the data set up properly and getting everybody trained on the best way to use the technology," Levin says. "That approach will produce the biggest ROI with the least amount of dollars spent."