Distribution ERP

What Is Distribution ERP?

What is Distribution ERP?

Distribution ERP Helps You:

  • Visualize the entirety of the supply chain
  • Track the physical location of materials and products
  • Streamline order processing
  • Optimize warehouse operations
  • Predict inventory needs
  • Communicate with business partners
  • Manage transportation

Visualize the entirety of the supply chain

Distribution ERP programs allow users to look at the status of the supply chain from the time a sales order is entered to the time a product reaches a customer’s doorstep.

This is done through data collection, graphical analysis and the tracking of physical movement.

Here are some of the basic tools often included in these systems:

  • Financial reporting
  • Inventory management
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Warehouse management
  • Vendor relationship management
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Customer relationship management
  • Sales order management

Track the physical location of materials and products

Distribution ERP often enables users to see the locations of their items and materials in real time through elements such as RFID tracking. This allows for the visualization of objects as they move throughout different warehouse processes and when searching for misplaced items. Some vendors offer the ability to see geographic locations through a map view or world view. This reduces misplaced items and, when coupled with a notification system, can even alert customers as to when to expect a delivery.

Streamline order processing

With distribution ERP, the process of entering and processing sales and purchase orders can be automated and facilitated more quickly. These tools help speed up the processing of transactions and often include standardized document formats to make the process of entering information easier than before. Here are some other order facilitation capabilities to look out for in distribution ERP systems:

  • Order status retrieval
  • Automated payments
  • Automated order processing
  • Return management
  • Advanced shipping
  • Self-service customer and vendor portals
  • Order promising and inventory commitment

Optimize warehouse operations

There’s a huge variety of tasks occurring in a warehouse at any given time, and it can be difficult to ensure that you’re using all of your resources such as labor, machinery, and floor space in the most efficient way possible. Here are some of the warehouse management functions you might consider with distribution ERP:

  • Shipping
  • Kitting
  • Inbound processing
  • Outbound processing
  • Container packing
  • Pick-to-Light (PTL)

Predict inventory needs

Forecasting and demand planning tools give businesses a huge leg-up over their competitors. Some distribution ERP vendors offer planning tools to optimize workflows and reduce factors such as spoilage that can bog down a business. This is especially helpful when coupled with elements such as automated reordering of materials based on user-specified inventory levels. For example, if you predict that you will need 20 cases of toothbrushes in the next two weeks and it takes one week for them to arrive at your facility after placing an order, your system would create an order request in a week to meet the anticipated demand.

Communicate with business partners

Many distribution ERP systems include functionality that allows suppliers and vendors to communicate directly in a centralized location. This reduces transmission errors and ensures that company goals are aligned. Some programs include vendor relationship management functionality that enables users to build and maintain beneficial partnerships with other companies through reminders, shared visualizations and other capabilities.

Manage transportation

Some distribution ERP vendors enable users to visualize the location of vehicles in real time. This may also include a geographic interface that lays over the visualization to provide a more accurate and clearer view of the area in which your vehicles are located. Additionally, some programs include route planning features that determine the optimal driving directions for delivery drivers to get from point A to point B while using minimal gas and minimal time.

How Do I Select a Distribution ERP?

Choosing the correct distribution ERP for your business can greatly optimize your current operations. However, it’s important to keep in mind factors such as your company’s budget, current bottlenecks, and requirements when looking for the program that’s best for you. It can be difficult to determine if a distribution ERP vendor meets all of your needs, which is why we created this distribution ERP requirements checklist to help you keep track of what you’re looking for in a distribution ERP. Or, check out our comparison of some of the biggest names in the game when it comes to distribution ERP: IFS vs. SYSPRO.

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Distribution ERP articles are written and edited by:

Zachary Totah

Content Manager

As SelectHub’s Content Manager, Zachary Totah leads a team of more than 35 writers and editors in their quest to provide content that helps software buyers find the right system for their company.

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Grace Savides


A digital specialist and content marketer, Grace joined the SelectHub team at the end of 2019.

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Simran Yadav

Technical Content Writer

A Technical Content Writer by choice, yogi by heart, Simran finds sanity amidst the chaos of life by meditating, listening to sufi songs and reading romantic poetries.

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The Best Cloud Distribution Software

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November 16, 2023

Distributors have a tough job — whether it be coordinating with vendors, measuring inventory or preparing efficient shipping methods, the process is extremely detailed and is prone to human error. Fortunately, there are cloud distribution software options available to help coordinate operations among your staff, vendors and customers.

Lindsey JenkinsThe Best Cloud Distribution Software
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Transportation, Distribution and Logistics: A Comprehensive Guide

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November 7, 2023
In any large-scale business, it’s important to keep track of the movement of assets, like shipments and production equipment, from place to place. Whether it’s product components being transported to a manufacturer, a completed product going to a warehouse or the delivery of a product to your customer, each leg of the journey is crucial to your success.

Peter LalushTransportation, Distribution and Logistics: A Comprehensive Guide
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Warehouse Distribution: A Comprehensive Guide

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November 3, 2023
If you’re in the business of selling and delivering goods, you know how important warehouses are — they’re the places that hold your precious cargo until it’s ready to be shipped or distributed. Having solid knowledge of warehouse distribution can help you maximize your company’s efficiency, ensuring you don’t run out of the assets you need to create and ship your products.

Peter LalushWarehouse Distribution: A Comprehensive Guide
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Distribution Management: A Comprehensive Guide

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November 3, 2023
Any business dealing with goods and materials needs to have some way to monitor where they are, where they’re going and how they’re getting there. Staying on top of these logistics — and other factors, like stock levels and reorders — is the essence of distribution management, a set of strategies that can go a long way towards improving your operations.

Peter LalushDistribution Management: A Comprehensive Guide
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Exclusive Distribution: A Comprehensive Guide

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October 25, 2023
Getting your products in front of the right audience is crucial to building a customer base and finding success. If you’re trying to grow your company’s reach, you know how important it is to consider how you distribute your goods, including what distribution strategies and channels best serve your needs. Exclusive distribution is one of many potential strategies to consider.

Peter LalushExclusive Distribution: A Comprehensive Guide
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The Future of Distribution ERP

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October 25, 2023

Disruptions within the supply chain industry are growing in number and size. If you think you haven’t already been affected by disruption, you haven’t been paying attention. The problem with combating disruption is that distribution requirements rarely stay still — they’re never static. As economies shift and develop, so too do the most efficient methods of delivery. While distribution software can end up contributing to this frenetic pace of change, it’s also a secret weapon for warehouses and distribution centers.

Lindsey JenkinsThe Future of Distribution ERP
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Best Wholesale Distribution Software

September 28, 2023

For wholesale distributors, the benefits of implementing software can feel like going from struggling to make instant noodles every night to delivering a five-course meal with ease. I’ll state the obvious — distributors have a tough job to do. Implementing distribution software can make the range of workflows that you deal with daily much simpler, so you can go from working extra hard to complete a smaller amount of tasks to automating functions and conducting more business than before. Sounds pretty great, right? It is. However, choosing the right solution and determining the functionality that you need out of your software program is key in order to actually reap the benefits associated with these systems.

In this article, we will take a look at the best wholesale distribution software on the market today, along with analyzing some of the common features and benefits of these solutions.

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Import and Export Compliance with Distribution ERP

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September 27, 2023

For any company that distributes goods internationally, import/export compliance is a top concern. Import/export laws, standards and guidelines in various countries around the world add to complexity for these types of business processes. Customs work, accommodation of international taxes and tariffs, and significant documentation requirements often make importing and exporting rather labor-intensive.

SelectHubImport and Export Compliance with Distribution ERP
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Distribution ERP Software Features and Requirements Checklist

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Looking for the ideal distribution module in ERP is similar to finding a needle in a haystack. You’re lost like Hansel and Gretel without their breadcrumb trail if you don’t know which modules you’re looking for or how to discern which vendors support your needs. Thankfully, SelectHub offers a complete rundown on distribution ERP software requirements to evaluate for your needs.

Khaleel HayesDistribution ERP Software Features and Requirements Checklist
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IFS vs SYSPRO: Which Distribution ERP Software is the Winner?

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September 20, 2023

Your distribution ERP should unify your network, increase visibility and improve efficiency to reduce costs. So you might’ve thought to compare IFS vs SYSPRO, two leading vendors that supply enterprise software for distributors. And while they’re both excellent systems that can provide the benefits listed above, they have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the needs of your business, one distribution software vendor will be more effective for your business than the other.

Kim O'ShaughnessyIFS vs SYSPRO: Which Distribution ERP Software is the Winner?
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Distribution Software for Small Businesses: Benefits and Features

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August 22, 2023

Many businesses streamline their operations by using distribution software. Small business use of this technology was historically minimal due to the robust abilities and the high cost associated with distribution ERP tools. Fortunately, as software industries have changed and more solutions have become available, distribution ERP software has become a viable option for small businesses.

Distribution software for small businesses can help clients get orders out on time, track shipments and follow-up with customers. Many solutions allow you to customize your program with your specific business needs in mind. Changes in available pricing models and deployment strategies are some of the factors that are making this tool more readily accessible to small businesses.

Lindsey JenkinsDistribution Software for Small Businesses: Benefits and Features
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