Wholesale Distribution ERP: Five Essential Applications

March 30, 2023


In the current intensely competitive market, wholesale distributors confront significant obstacles in satisfying the constantly rising demands of their customers. With the pressure of shrinking delivery timeframes and managing intricate expectations, wholesale distributors must prioritize investing in modern technology to maintain a competitive edge.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems play a pivotal role in empowering wholesale distributors with the necessary tools to optimize their operations and enhance productivity.

Gaining comprehensive insight into the following five essential business applications can enable modern wholesale distributors to outperform their competitors and lead their industry.

Industry-Wide Changes

Direct-to-consumer corporations such as Amazon have revolutionized the retail industry and have extended their influence to wholesale distribution. Amazon has disrupted the conventional retail model, pushing the limits between distribution and manufacturing and emerging as the largest distributor of industrial products.

As a result, this trend has created pressure on wholesale distributors to enhance their delivery times and re-strategize their approach to the market. In this context, the selection of the appropriate ERP system can be a crucial factor, providing wholesale distributors with a competitive edge to develop and expand their businesses.

Five Essential ERP Functions for Wholesale Distributors

1. Blanket Purchase Orders (BPO)

In wholesale distribution, the ability to issue blanket purchase orders (BPOs) represents a crucial ERP function. A BPO is a contract between a business and a supplier for the regular supply of products or services over a specific duration at a fixed price. By issuing a BPO with specific details such as the delivery date and price, wholesale distributors can leverage bulk purchases to reduce costs.

This helps save money and mitigates processing delays in scenarios where a company makes multiple payments for the same goods or services. Ultimately, the implementation of this ERP function will significantly improve the efficiency and profitability of wholesale distributors.

2. Advanced Warehouse Management Software (WMS)

Warehouse management is a critical aspect of both manufacturing and supply chain operations, and Advanced Warehouse Management Software (WMS) represents a crucial ERP function for all modern distributors. WMS is a comprehensive system of software and procedures that enable organizations to manage their warehouse operations throughout the duration of their possession of goods.

The primary objective of a WMS is to ensure that goods and materials move through warehouses as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. By leveraging this essential ERP function, distributors can streamline their operations, optimize their supply chain, and deliver exceptional value to their customers.

3. B2B and B2C Commerce

The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound effect on B2B and B2C commerce. Wholesale distributors have adapted to support digital commerce, regardless of the logistical constraints. This is a crucial ERP function that can empower wholesale distributors to adjust and meet the evolving needs of their customers.

Recent reports suggest that a significant proportion of B2B managers, around 70%, are willing to engage in fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000. Moreover, 27% of managers are open to spending more than $500,000 on such transactions.

Wholesale distributors must, therefore, prioritize the adoption of the appropriate ERP system to enable them to tap into this digital trend and stay competitive in the market.

4. Service Management

Wholesale distributors are tasked with acquiring goods, storing them, preparing them for sale in smaller quantities to customers, and ultimately delivering them. Wholesale distributors must leverage service management as a vital ERP function to enhance their planning and sales strategies and improve service.

The implementation of service management as part of their ERP system can help wholesale distributors gain a competitive advantage, deliver exceptional customer service, and grow their businesses.

5. Warehouse Transfers

Managing items in a warehouse requires a broad range of activities, such as warehouse organization and design, order fulfillment, warehouse monitoring and reporting, task optimization, labor management, and resource scheduling. To meet customer demands, wholesale distributors must also have the ability to transfer inventory between warehouse locations.

This is where Warehouse Transfers come into play. Cloud-based insight is pivotal in monitoring the movement of goods to and from various sites. By leveraging this ERP function, wholesale distributors can have complete visibility of their inventory levels, enabling them to make informed decisions in real-time, decreasing costs, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Choosing the right ERP For Your Organization

Selecting the right ERP system is crucial for the success of wholesale distribution companies. However, choosing the most suitable system among the numerous available options can be daunting. Wholesale distributors must carefully evaluate each system’s capabilities in light of their business goals. 

Wiss can help identify the correct software application to address your business needs – now and into the future. Our experienced Technology Advisory team is ready to help you choose the right solution for your company. We can help you every step of the way, from reviewing your current technology stack and business processes to vendor selection, negotiation, and implementation.


Reach out to a Wiss team member for more information or assistance.

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