Eight Wins for Wholesale Distribution with Digital Transformation

Manufacturing - manufacturing software - Kinspeed Limited

Brexit disruption, pandemic disruption, political disruption, environmental disruption, digital disruption.  Today’s landscape is ever-changing, much of it disruptive and mostly outside our control.  As a wholesale distribution business, the area where we can influence control to avoid or minimise disruption is in digital transformation.

Here’s eight considerations for managers to smooth the path to digital transformation:

  1. Drive executive understanding
    To deliver digital transformation across the business, the leadership team need to create and commit to a framework for success.  Technology will play a significant part and it’s the role of ALL leaders, not just the IT team, to understand how tech can improve the status quo.  If there are knowledge gaps within the team, seek to fill them with training, consultants, solution providers or new technical recruits.

  2. Review and reduce existing silos

    It’s usual for departments to operate to their own objectives but this dynamic can cause problems for a business wide digital transformation solution.  Full collaboration between departments is essential to remove any silo working and replace it with a digital solution that benefits all.  Sales, marketing, product, inventory, warehouse, fulfilment, shipping – all improve with a fully integrated digital solution and all for customer benefit.

  3.  Update and integrate legacy applications

    It’s rare for an existing business to adapt with the luxury of a blank sheet approach.  Legacy solutions are in place and fine-tuned technology manages business process, operations which cannot be ignored.  The optimal approach for distributors is to embrace new digital transformation systems alongside legacy applications, updating and integrating as appropriate.  Most leading solutions enable add-ons as and when appropriate, enabling a tiered approach to new technology implementation.

  4. Make the most of data

    Historic data is extremely valuable and will form the core of any business transformation project.  But real-time data is the beating heart of any new system, enabling the wholesale distributor to operate with accuracy and deep insight to meet productivity and efficiency demands.  Accessible data that is easy to analyse, enables distributors to plan better and forecast demand, and can inform workflow changes.  The ultimate benefit is improved customer service and reduced cost.

  5.  Own the metrics and customer outcomes

    For a successful digital transformation project, key metrics must be identified and owned by the management team.  This should inspire each part of the business to see where their role is reflected in the strategic goals.  With measured and owned metrics, results are transparent, and the business can aim for continuous improvement, supplemented by digital business process.

  6. Assess digital maturity and fix gaps

    Understanding the current state of digital capability across every department in the distributor business, will provide insight on where to focus attention to embrace the digital culture.  In turn this will drive resource, investment and an understanding of how the customer dynamic steers the next step.

  7.  Encourage a strong and strategic relationship with IT

    Technology plays increasing importance at the business table.  Every distributor has multiple departments who influence customer experience, and technology pulls all this together, integrating and improving process that helps customer satisfaction.  Whilst marketing or sales may hold responsibility for the customer, it’s the IT department who identify how technology and digital transformation can result in positive customer outcomes.

  8. Understand the investment required and the ROI expected

    Digital transformation can deliver some quick wins with visible improvements and business benefits.  Investments in hardware, software and wholesale distribution solutions are integral to making cost savings in productivity and efficiency which benefits the customer experience.  Innovation is key but should be undertaken with understanding and engagement from the management team to prepare the distributor strategically for the future.

Interested to read more?  Download the eBook: A Leaders Guide to Digital Transformation

Prefer to talk?  Call 01246 437000 for advice on business transformation. Or send an email requesting a callback

Need a perfect-fit solution?  Book a free business consultation with Kinspeed.

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