Lumenia Guest Post from James Mitchell, Managing Director, Kerridge Commercial Systems.
Recent decades have seen rapid technological change. Digitalisation, automation, and other technological advances have been identified as one of the major trends changing business and are transforming industries globally. The use of digital technologies has enabled companies to not just sell extra, but to reshape the business by optimising resource, increase staff productivity, work more efficiently, and optimise supply chains. This not only aids in reducing costs and increasing profits but provides businesses with greater flexibility and reactivity that contributes to an increase in customer loyalty and satisfaction, offering a better all-round customer experience.
As we enter 2024, James Mitchell, Managing Director UK & Ireland at Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) has identified the ERP trends he anticipates being key for the Distribution industry in 2024.
1. Efficient inventory management
The triple supply shocks of Brexit, Covid and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have begun to fade easing the restrictions on demand and reducing the costs of inventory. While this is positive news for the industry, it does bring potential challenges for businesses who have purchased items at increased costs during times of higher rates of inflation and when supply was restricted. “Keeping a tight rein on your stock is essential, with a strong ERP system, such as K8, a business’s entire stock is opened up to assessment and analysis. It’s simple to rebalance supply and demand, purchasing and sales, movements, and replenishments, allowing business to significantly improve their ability to respond to changes within the market. Prices can be electronically uploaded from suppliers to ensure they’re always up-to-date, customer prices are based on purchase prices to ensure you retain a profitable business. Being able to gain full visibility and track stock movements, transfers, and availability in an instant allows you to take any corrective action if required. You can even source stock at the quotation stage to ensure it will be available for your important contracts.” Explains James Mitchell.
2. Cloud and security
Businesses are becoming more and more vulnerable to the threat of increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks than ever before as cyber criminals harness the power of AI. Attacks can lead to complete loss of systems and data, exposure to hackers and poor performance. Data security should never be overlooked, selecting a reputable ERP provider will ensure that best practices are followed with regards to data authentication, access control and encryption.
If you aren’t already using cloud software, then it’s time to mitigate these risks and make the switch. Running your business solution on-premise, your hardware and the operating systems used to run it could be outdated and be at risk of failure – especially if you haven’t upgraded in the last few years.
“At KCS, all our solutions are available as SaaS in the cloud,” says James Mitchell. “This offers you enhanced data protection and real flexibility in how you work. Additionally, we run our cloud system called K-Cloud. Fully certified for security and quality, you can increase capacity without a large investment and smoothly scale your business as required.”
3. Advancements in ERP intelligence
As ERP solutions continue to evolve, they’re incorporating technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and robotic process automation (RPA). Once fully integrated, the ERP system performs tasks for the business that once required manual operation, “for example, in K8, a business can increase forecasting accuracy by analysing sales history and building in seasonable variables, safety stock and planned growth, avoiding overstocking or running out of stock. This development saves costs while freeing up time for employees to focus on the business areas that generate more revenue.” explains James Mitchell.
4. Maximising opportunity in times of low economic growth
Economic growth in the UK is predicted to be low in 2024, however the business sectors that we operate in are resilient and they constantly seek new and innovative ways in which to serve customers and ensure a positive business model. As a key provider of software and business solutions to the distribution industry, KCS understand that ERP software is the driving force behind our customers business. Here are just a few ways K8 and digitising your businesses can help maximise opportunities and keep your business on track in 2024:
- Sell for the right price every time
Selling prices can be linked directly to cost prices to protect your margins, K8 has in-built functionality that highlights exceptions should this drop below acceptable levels or into a negative.
- Optimise your stock holdings
Don’t let stock gather dust on your shelves. K8 highlights excess stock and can suggest internal sourcing and redeployment to ensure stock is never left on the shelves for too long.
- Easy upload of data
Stop manually regularly uploading new supplier cost prices, you can schedule these to update on a specified date and time and avoid the hassle of late-night data maintenance.
- Dynamic stock maintenance
Keep on top of changing customer buying patterns, minimum and maximum stock holdings are calculated on the most up to date figures to keep you ahead of the curve in today’s volatile market.
- Keep your customers in the loop
Provide your customers with instant access to price and availability with an integrated online web solution that allows your customers to access your products and services when they need them, together with their own account details such as invoices, balances, and payments. You can also reduce time spent searching through prices and reports by emailing price lists directly to the customers you want.
“Most ERP providers can – and should – keep up a continual level of investment in new features. Product development and ongoing investment help you thrive in today’s challenging marketplace. But the same also applies to your organisation. From your ERP software to your web presence, finance and accounting, optimising your systems and processes through digitalisation strengthens your business model and improves customer service. By giving your staff the digital tools to stay ahead of your competitors, you can use the latest technology to streamline tasks and gain greater efficiencies in 2024.” Concludes James.
Kerridge Commercial Systems is excited to participate in the ERP HEADtoHEAD event on 13th & 14th of March. It offers attendees a unique opportunity to meet the leading ERP vendors and explore their products while providing us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our world class ERP Solutions.
Kerridge Commercial Systems provide businesses with highly scalable and robust industry specific ERP software solutions that are designed for their continued growth and long-term success. It serves 34,635+ customers across the globe, with 253,810+ Users accessing KCS solutions daily. Its team of 1,205+ people support customers worldwide throughout offices in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, The Nordics, North America, Australia, South Africa and Kenya.