At the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas earlier this month the Deskera team learned more about technological needs specific to the promotional product industry. We put ourselves in the shoes of promotional product business owners, and now have a better understanding of key functionalities and must-haves around software to run their business. As we spoke with business owners on the show floor, we kept hearing thematic challenges around integration and functionality. While these pain points can be obstacles to the success of promotional products companies, they are absolutely surmountable with the right technology.
Challenge: “My back-end ERP system doesn’t interface with SAGE and ASI’s supplier databases.”
To connect with suppliers, promotional product distributors can spend time building their own networks of suppliers, or work through a partner, like SAGE or ASI, who have exclusive databases with up-to-date information on stock levels, minimum order quantity, quantity pricing schedules, and lead times. However, SAGE and ASI’s databases do not integrate with back-end systems to feed these data points into a distributor’s ERP. Keeping this information up to date is a full-time job.
Solution: Integrating these databases with a distributor’s ERP streamlines back-end operations for distributors, reduces time spent in spreadsheets, and shortens the time from initial conversation to branded product delivery.
Challenge: “I export orders from each webstore I manage, then import them into my ERP by hand.”
In today’s distribution landscape, a growing quantity of B2B companies are transacting online. However, few web stores natively connect ecommerce orders back into a distributor’s ERP. Some distributors have built this integration out manually, but it is labor-intensive to maintain.
Solution: A native integration between your web store and your ERP seamlessly automates the order-to-cash process for promotional product companies, eliminating order mistakes, excessive man hours, and countless excel spreadsheets.
Challenge: “I’ve used on-premise and industry-specific software, but neither has the agility or functionality I need.”
In the highly transactional promotional product industry, most legacy systems serving distributors lack speed, modern UI, and customizability, while industry-specific systems lack the technological expertise to be effective in the industry. This forces promotional product companies to rely heavily on makeshift spreadsheets and disorganized general ledgers.
Solution: Integrated cloud solutions, in contrast to software available today, bring agility and functional depth to the promotional product industry, providing rich reporting, a better user experience, and allowing distributors gain the efficiencies they need to scale volume of daily transactions.
Technology Should Help, Not Hinder
The current solution landscape in the promotional product industry lacks crucial integration, flexibility, and functionality to allow distributors to operate at their fullest potential. Cloud-based technology, on the other hand, appeals to promotional product companies due to ease of integration, support of high volume transactions, and company-wide visibility. This gives these distributors the opportunity to enhance operational efficiency and grow margins at faster rates.
We’re excited to continue partnering with the promotional product industry and we hope to see you at the ASI show in Dallas this week. Tweet @Deskera if you’re at the show, and stop by to say hi at Booth 1349!