Worldwide, distribution and supply chain management are straining as never before to meet customer demand and allow companies to remain viable predictably. In this series of six blog posts, we discuss distribution issues that you can address with the right technologies, refined and deployed by industry experts at Sikich.
Earlier, we discussed supply chain challenges, how Sikich helps address them, and how our HEADSTART methodology makes a difference. Then we took a closer look at key areas of distribution and supply chain management that are often top priorities for Sikich clients, starting with inventory and vendor management and going on to the customer experience and ecommerce. In today’s post, we consider two areas where adherence to standards and business rules is paramount for distribution—sustainability and regulatory compliance.
Practicing and demonstrating sustainability
For many distributors, recalling the history of their business may bring back memories of siloed data sources and disjointed processes. Sustainable practices, too, often used to be isolated in certain domains. Maybe the company had a great sustainability message for its customers and was environmentally responsible in its office environment, but extending this effort to production and logistics may have been more difficult and costly. Some businesses found that their customers and employees were enthusiastic about sustainability, but it was challenging to have vendors join the green momentum.
Today, many business customers and personal consumers prefer to do business with a distributor that matches their environmental values and can demonstrate pervasive sustainability practices. When you distribute through online retail leaders, these enterprises may expect you to align with their often well-publicized, companywide sustainability initiatives and values.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you advance sustainability throughout your supply chain. For example, you can make environmentally sound production, packaging, and shipping part of your vendor evaluations. Reports based on these findings can be invaluable for planning procurement weighted toward the vendors which meet your standards and provide transparent disclosure of their accomplishments in sustainability. Similarly, you can plan engagements with shipping and logistics providers based on their track record of minimizing their carbon footprint and using energy from renewable sources.
Conversely, when trading partners or customers ask you about your company’s sustainability programs and progress, you can rely on data and insights based on data in the ERP system to show them how you achieve the benchmarks and KPIs that drive your environmental performance.
Customers and suppliers may be ready for you to assist them in becoming more environmentally responsible. Some distributors offer recycling of products at the end of their lifecycle or of bulky packaging and containers that they cannot reuse or store. In Microsoft Dynamics, you can manage this as a valuable, profitable service that, currently, can still create a powerful competitive distinction for your company.
Easing compliance with regulations and business rules
Complying with the business conditions of your retail trading partners may be demanding enough. When you also have to follow regulatory mandates for financial management, sustainable sourcing and distribution, end-to-end tracing of components and materials, or product safety, compliance can become a risky, costly undertaking. If you extend your distribution to other countries, compliance conditions can become yet more complex. For example, many countries have requirements for managing sensitive customer data that are more strict or differ from U.S. practices.
Your Sikich team can work with you to review the strength and resilience of your compliance processes and make adjustments before we implement Microsoft Dynamics 365. Hundreds of clients in compliance-intense industries have collaborated with us to mitigate compliance risks and efforts. While compliance typically requires an additional layer of reporting and control, we know how to create this in such a way that the business as a whole benefits from it. Improved efficiencies, faster workflows, and better visibility can serve compliance as well as the company’s overall goals.
When we deploy Dynamics 365 for your distribution business, we maintain the integrity of compliant processes in the ERP environment. Compliance and quality management dashboards and analytics tools can help you gain assurance that the company’s activities meet the required standards, or else allow you take corrective action.
The next step
If it’s time to take your distribution and supply chain management to the next level, we should talk. If you are still exploring your options and want to learn more, this eBook is perfect for you: What’s Next for Distribution Management: 7 Key Areas for Modernizing Distribution.