Cloud computing allows organizations to implement full-featured wholesale and retail distribution ERP systems at a fraction of the cost and time compared to on-premises systems.
The time to value is much shorter in that you essentially provision, turn it on and go through the implementation. Cloud computing also makes it much easier to have all the disparate parts of any business — such as sales and inventory management — operate in a unified manner very quickly.
A cloud-based distribution ERP system is well-suited to quickly integrate a new company or subsidiaries into your existing solution. There’s no need to set up infrastructure for that. SAP Business ByDesign software solutions in particular are designed in a manner that makes it very easy to add new legal entities and distribution centers without a full-blown implementation.
Cloud computing is one of the top 10 supply chain trends to watch, according to a recent post on the Logistics Viewpoints blog. Here’s a list of nine other important trends to keep an eye on, as highlighted in the post.
- Integration of business processes: Inefficient processes will be eliminated rather than automated. Sense-and-response solutions will take the place of internal documents like purchase orders.
- Labor costs level out globally: Countries that have traditionally had cheap labor, such as China and Mexico, are seeing costs increase.
- Lack of raw materials: Scarcity is spurring innovation. For example, many companies are replacing copper with aluminum and gold with copper.
- Specialization: New skills unique to the supply chain will fuel specialization in areas such as managing cloud-based supply chains. Master’s and bachelor’s programs in supply chain management will become increasingly specialized.
- Domestic resources: Regional and local suppliers will become more common as consumers demand local options.
- Fewer factories: Expect supply chains to become more virtual.
- Predictability: Companies that can become more predictable will be more competitive.
- Social responsibility becomes mandatory: Global norms will emerge as companies expand policies and emerging countries tighten regulations.
- Collaboration: Increased collaboration benefits everyone in the supply chain and creates more value for customers.
Wholesale and retail distributors must track these emerging supply chain trends. As these trends change the economic and business climate, distributors need to ensure that both their business processes and ERP systems are designed to help them continue to be competitive.
Source: Logistics Viewpoints, July 2013