The multi-channel distributors’ guide to surviving Christmas

12 December 2016 | BlueBridge One

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the warehouse, not a creature was stirring, not even a worker mouse…

Now, we’re hoping that for your wholesale distribution business, your warehouses are quiet with the satisfied calm of a job well done by the time Santa heads off on his rounds. But if you think you may still be frantically trying to catch up with a backlog of orders that should have long since been received, it’s time to take stock of why your processes are struggling this festive period… and how your Christmas Eve can be more silent night, and a little less sleepless night this time next year.

The countdown is on

For wholesale distributors and multi-channel retailers, Christmas can stand as the culmination of a year’s work and planning – and it’s only now, as stock rapidly flies off the shelves in the run up to the big day, that you can really gauge how well the effort has paid off. It’s also the time of year when you can really measure the effectiveness of the systems you have in place; dramatically increased demand for stock and a sharp rise in the number of orders that need to be fulfilled can really highlight any weaknesses in your operations. And any unwelcome weakness in your inventory, supply, logistics, and administrative chain can cause havoc with the performance of your business, during the very period that everything needs to be running at its best.

Make sure your business is on the Nice List

Picture the struggling business behind our frantic warehouse scenario; that company was unable to fulfil its orders and obligations accurately across its multiple channels of wholesale, online, in-store and third party marketplaces. This was because a myriad of inefficient manual processes and a failing legacy of disparate practices and insufficient IT systems had obscured its view of inventory; with this fragmented approach, there was no real time vision for stock control and order fulfilment. Data reports produced were inaccurate, in-store staffing levels were inadequate, assortments were incorrect and safety stock was set too high.

Ultimately, customers and stores were not able to receive the goods they had ordered within the specified timeframe, and customer service levels and brand integrity plummeted. What’s more, our warehouse worker elves were still desperately trying to rectify the problems long after their stockings should have been hung up.

Making the right New Year’s Resolutions

To avoid another nightmare before Christmas, the company decided to automate its end-to-end processes. With one single overview in operation, reliable data could be delivered to front-end systems, with customer, inventory and order information being fed from one central platform to Point of Sale and E-Commerce software. A cohesive and trouble-free customer experience and true multi-channel approach was now in sight. And the system that saved Christmas? NetSuite!

If this cautionary tale has inspired you to improve the productivity and effectiveness of your systems in preparation for next year, BlueBridge One is on-hand to help you with NetSuite implementation, seamlessly.

Let your business hear Christmas bells, rather than alarm bells, next December.

BlueBridge One can help you to improve your festive distribution strategy.

If you’re ready to develop or improve your multi-channel strategy, we can help. Visit BlueBridge One online to see how ERP business management software can help you to scale your processes, manage your back office activities, integrate systems and improve working efficiencies.

Do you need some advice?

Request a call back from one of our NetSuite consultants today and we’ll be happy to help.

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