Supply chain management is an integral part of any business, but for timber and builders merchants – and any other merchant business for that matter - it is crucial.
Efficient and effective management of a complex and often volatile supply chain is essential, to ensure timely delivery of goods, optimal inventory levels, and effective collaboration with suppliers and customers.
Supply chain is the backbone of the industry and to keep things running smoothly, you need the right tools.
Increasingly, cloud-based, industry-specific Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is being adopted by timber and builders’ merchants as the best way to improve supply chain management. ERP software typically integrates the core aspects of a business, including inventory management, order processing, sales management, business intelligence, accounting, customer management and so on.
It's important to note that these days, systems don’t necessarily have to incorporate all areas of a business themselves, as long as they are highly interoperable – i.e. as long as they can integrate effectively with specialist third party platforms, like eCommerce or finance platforms. By using ERP software tailored specifically to the timber and builders merchant industry, companies can improve their supply chain management in several ways.
One of the most critical aspects of supply chain management is inventory management. Industry-specific ERP software can help timber and builders’ merchants to manage their inventory effectively by providing real-time stock visibility across multiple locations. The system can also automate replenishment orders, track inventory levels, and ensure that the right products are in stock when they are needed.
Using an industry-specific stock management system for this ensures a level of accuracy and detail that “off-the-shelf” business management simply can’t match. It enables merchants to accurately track weights, lengths and volumes, not just unit products, and account for the timeline and logistics complexities that merchanting requires.
Efficient order processing is critical to ensuring that deliveries are made on time for customers, keeping communication reliable and information readily available. Industry-specific ERP software can streamline the order processing system, from order entry to fulfilment, allowing companies to process orders more quickly and accurately. This software can also provide customers with accurate delivery times, ensuring that they receive their products on time, and in the metrics or currencies that they work in themselves.
An industry-specific system also allows for additional processes, finishes or milling instructions to be added to orders, streamlining internal processes and ensuring that everyone is fully informed about how stock needs to be handled and processed on its way to the end customer.
Supplier & Customer Management
Collaboration with suppliers is essential for timber and builders’ merchants. Industry-specific ERP software can improve supplier management by automating the procurement process, tracking supplier performance, and providing real-time visibility into supplier lead times and inventory levels. By doing so, companies can optimise their supply chain and reduce lead times.
Advanced industry-specific software like Merchanter can also provide invaluable insights into supplier reliability, enable merchants to track and compare pricing changes and much, much more.
Software like Merchanter also lets you keep accurate notes on customers so you can check past pricing, see order histories and accurately assess a customer's long-term value to the business. Ultimately it lets you offer better customer service - and one of the best ways to do that is through improved supply chain management.
Effective logistics management is essential to ensure that goods are delivered on time and in the right condition, as efficiently as possible. Industry-specific ERP software can help timber and builders merchants to optimise their logistics by providing real-time visibility into shipments, automating shipment tracking, and streamlining the logistics process. This software can also help to optimise the delivery schedule, reducing the time and cost of transportation.
Reporting and Analytics
Having actionable insight into what’s happening in your business is essential. Industry-specific ERP software can provide businesses with comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities, providing real-time visibility into stock levels, order fulfilment rates, supplier performance, customer management and logistics costs. Effective reporting and analysis lets merchants make faster decisions backed up by solid data, saving time and money at every step.
Having a cloud-based ERP system means that your workforce has the information they need at their fingertips, whether they’re with a customer, in the yard or working from a home office. That level of accessibility keeps everyone informed about what’s happening in the business, giving the right people the right level of control and visibility where it’s needed, and speeding up day to day processes and operations. Ultimately, that all leads to better internal and external communication, better customer service and more efficient and profitable business management.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how industry specific ERP software can help timber and builders’ merchants to optimise their supply chain. Instant, reliable access to up-to-date information around stock levels, order fulfilment, supplier and customer management, accounts and analytics is critical for maintaining services levels and commercial success.
By implementing ERP software tailored specifically to their industry, timber and builders merchants can improve their operational efficiency, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.