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Welcome to the Distribution Software Watch Blog. My name is Steve Epner, and I will be writing on happenings in the Distribution Software space.
I have been a participant is the world of automation and software since the mid-1960s. In 1990, I started the Distribution Software Guide which has been published annually since 1991 and is available for free through many vertical market associations and online at www.software4distributors.com.
In addition to my industry work, I teach innovation and entrepreneurship at the John Cook Graduate School of Business at Saint Louis University and in the undergraduate program at Webster University. My viewpoint is from the end user’s perspective.
Over the past 15 years the distribution software market has changed significantly. Mergers and acquisitions have been the rule. We have gone from about 30 major software players to fewer than 10, as well as some niche players. Software has matured (I will tell some stories in later blogs), and the differences between packages has blurred. Best-of-breed solutions are coming back in vogue, and homemade systems are mostly gone.
Over the next year, I plan to write on all sorts of topics of interest to distributors. My greatest focus will be around technology. But do not look for articles aimed at techies. These are directed to owners, top management and the users of technology.
There will be a series of posts about the executives I know in software companies serving the market. Look for one introducing you to Donna Troy of Epicor. I will report on Andy Berry’s success at Infor. We will talk to Adam Waller about DDI’s recent expansion. Plus we’ll publish interesting tidbits from Denny Cowhey, Bob Vormittag, Joe Bennett, Larry Ward, Mike Shoemaker and others I have met in my travels.
I will be discussing various uses of technology. We will explore new ways to do inventory, manage warehouse space and improve purchasing. There will be posts on uses of Business Intelligence – including better pricing models.
I have a couple of posts showing how to use historical data to better manage “Captive Insurance” and save you money. We will look at the cost to protect yourself in case of a disaster and another blog will focus on better advanced planning – actually about four posts are already in the works.
I will report on how different distributors have used process improvement to become more effective, as well as efficient. We will provide hints and ideas of where to look for opportunities to improve everything you do.
Finally, I will look for questions and thoughts from you. Everything is fair game. I am a professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. If I do not know an answer, I will find it. In addition, Dr. Kwon, the director of the Center for Supply Chain Management Studies has given me access to his students and staff to provide some insights as to what is coming in the future.
My promise is to stay on top of the big stories in the industry and provide balanced understanding of important issues to you as users of technology, but in the language of business. If you have topics you would like covered, please write me at SEpner@BSWLLC.com. I am also available by phone to discuss any issues that are of interest. My direct number is 314-983-1214.