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Distribution Inventory Management Software


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NetSuite logo
 
NetSuite’s inventory management application is a hosted solution that's offered as part of an integrated suite. We typically recommend NetSuite to fast growing distributors that have outgrown Quickbooks or Peachtree.
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NetSuite’s inventory management application is a hosted solution that's offered as part of an integrated suite. We typically recommend NetSuite to fast growing distributors that have outgrown Quickbooks or Peachtree.
 
Fishbowl Inventory Distribution logo
 
Distributors looking to expand on the functionality found in their QuickBooks accounting programs can look to Fishbowl Inventory. Supports drop shipping, bill of materials at multiple stages, advanced part tracking, and more.
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Distributors looking to expand on the functionality found in their QuickBooks accounting programs can look to Fishbowl Inventory. Supports drop shipping, bill of materials at multiple stages, advanced part tracking, and more.
 
Epicor Distribution logo
 
Epicor's inventory management application can perform lot billing, track items by serial or lot number and forecast for demand based on inventory patterns.
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Epicor's inventory management application can perform lot billing, track items by serial or lot number and forecast for demand based on inventory patterns.
 
ADS Solutions - Accolent ERP logo
 
Accolent ERP by ADS Solutions is a comprehensive business management software developed specifically for distributors. It suits companies with either one location or multiple warehouses and branches, and as few as 3 or as many as 100+... Read More
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Accolent ERP by ADS Solutions is a comprehensive business management software developed specifically for distributors. It suits companies with either one location or multiple warehouses and branches, and as few as 3 or as many as 100+... Read More
 
Blue Link ERP logo
 
Blue Link was founded in 1992 and serves small and mid-sized distributors in a variety of verticals. The system has features for automated replenishment, inventory counts and backorder management to help monitor inventory.
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Blue Link was founded in 1992 and serves small and mid-sized distributors in a variety of verticals. The system has features for automated replenishment, inventory counts and backorder management to help monitor inventory.

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SAP Anywhere logo
 
SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
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SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
 
VersAccounts Small Business Cloud ERP logo
 
VersAccounts is a web-based accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed for growing small and midsized businesses looking to gain real-time financial and operational insights. This Cloud 2.0 system enables businesses... Read More
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VersAccounts is a web-based accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed for growing small and midsized businesses looking to gain real-time financial and operational insights. This Cloud 2.0 system enables businesses... Read More
 
Agiliron Distribution logo
 
Agiliron cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) solution is designed to serve both in-store and mobile businesses as well as online sales channels. The system offers a host of features that work in tandem with the point-of-sale solution,... Read More
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Agiliron cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) solution is designed to serve both in-store and mobile businesses as well as online sales channels. The system offers a host of features that work in tandem with the point-of-sale solution,... Read More
 
Pomodo Tech POS logo
 
PomodoTech Inventory Management Software delivers a solution for managing the inventory coming in and out of  businesses. Scalable enough to work with small or large businesses, this solution offers the ability add modules to expand... Read More
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PomodoTech Inventory Management Software delivers a solution for managing the inventory coming in and out of  businesses. Scalable enough to work with small or large businesses, this solution offers the ability add modules to expand... Read More
 
Decision Builder logo
 
Decision Builder ERP Software is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that serves companies in the manufacturing, distribution, and service fields. Throughout the North American continent, Decision Builder has been installed... Read More
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Decision Builder ERP Software is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that serves companies in the manufacturing, distribution, and service fields. Throughout the North American continent, Decision Builder has been installed... Read More

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SAP Business One logo
 
SAP’s Business One product is aimed at the mid-level distributor. Inventory management is included as part of an integrated suite of applications with transportation management and human resource offered through SAP partners.
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SAP’s Business One product is aimed at the mid-level distributor. Inventory management is included as part of an integrated suite of applications with transportation management and human resource offered through SAP partners.
 
Lead Commerce logo
 
Lead Commerce is an integrated order management suite that offers applications like inventory management, merchandise planning, and customer relationship management. The solution helps small and midsize businesses streamline and automate... Read More
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Lead Commerce is an integrated order management suite that offers applications like inventory management, merchandise planning, and customer relationship management. The solution helps small and midsize businesses streamline and automate... Read More
 
Entree logo
 
NECS’ entrée solution is aimed at food distributors that are small to medium-size but are growing. The package is best for distributors that have several thousand SKUs and are looking for an on-premise integrated suite.
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NECS’ entrée solution is aimed at food distributors that are small to medium-size but are growing. The package is best for distributors that have several thousand SKUs and are looking for an on-premise integrated suite.
 
Foysonis WMS logo
 
Foysonis WMS is warehouse management system for small to mid-sized warehouses interested in utilizing cloud computing technology to integrate with currently installed hardware. The iPad compatible Foysonis system can be applied to... Read More
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Foysonis WMS is warehouse management system for small to mid-sized warehouses interested in utilizing cloud computing technology to integrate with currently installed hardware. The iPad compatible Foysonis system can be applied to... Read More
 
WinWeb logo
 
WinWeb is a distribution enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite for small and midsize businesses in industries such as retail, wholesale, manufacturing, franchising and health care. Cloud-based and on-premise deployments are available. The... Read More
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WinWeb is a distribution enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite for small and midsize businesses in industries such as retail, wholesale, manufacturing, franchising and health care. Cloud-based and on-premise deployments are available. The... Read More

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Geneva Business Management Systems (GBMS) logo
 
Geneva gives distributors a choice between buying inventory management as part of a suite or as a stand alone system. Distributors using Quickbooks for accounting can integrate this accounting package with the system.
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Geneva gives distributors a choice between buying inventory management as part of a suite or as a stand alone system. Distributors using Quickbooks for accounting can integrate this accounting package with the system.
 
Exact Macola logo
 
Exact Macola contains several inventory management features for distributors such as reorder point tracking, serial number tracking and order placement. The system is available as web-based and on-premise.
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Exact Macola contains several inventory management features for distributors such as reorder point tracking, serial number tracking and order placement. The system is available as web-based and on-premise.
 
SYSPRO logo
 
SYSPRO is offered as either an on-premise or web-based system, which means that buyers can access the software from a web browser. The software can balance inventory across multiple locations, integrate with accounting and more.
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SYSPRO is offered as either an on-premise or web-based system, which means that buyers can access the software from a web browser. The software can balance inventory across multiple locations, integrate with accounting and more.
 
Aquilon ERP logo
 
Aquilon Software offers a combined supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, and financial management system that is deployable either on the cloud or on-premise. All modules integrate with each other, allowing users to gain full... Read More
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Aquilon Software offers a combined supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, and financial management system that is deployable either on the cloud or on-premise. All modules integrate with each other, allowing users to gain full... Read More
 
Abas Distribution logo
 
Abas ERP is a solution geared towards small to midsize manufacturers and distributors. Abas has three main application offerings on the market today: Abas ERP, Abas Distribution and Abas eB, a line of e-business solutions that can... Read More
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Abas ERP is a solution geared towards small to midsize manufacturers and distributors. Abas has three main application offerings on the market today: Abas ERP, Abas Distribution and Abas eB, a line of e-business solutions that can... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: August 20, 2017


Inventory management is one of the oldest uses for computer systems and it remains one of the most complex issues. As a result, we track more than 100 different systems. We wrote this buyer’s guide to help buyers shed some light on this market.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Distribution Inventory Management Software?
Common Features of a Distribution Inventory Management System
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape

What Is Distribution Inventory Management Software?

Ross Perot said “Inventories can be managed but people must be led.” Both parts of the sentence are important in understanding inventory management software. Distribution inventory management software helps companies buy, track, deliver merchandise and supplies. It tracks the on-hand, allocated and ordered quantities to show actual stock levels. It shows the current value, and provides historical and trend information for planning purposes. Inventory management software helps balance supply levels so that sufficient quantities are on hand to supply customer needs without having too much capital invested or having inventory that goes out of date or spoils.

The inventory system performs other important tasks. The first is that it produces the picking information to fulfill customer orders. Second, it provides receiving information to make sure that orders placed with vendors are completed successfully. Inventory control systems are used for tracking reorder points, managing lot number tracking, generating order advice or even placing orders automatically. Order management systems can integrate with inventory systems to check quantities on hand or lead times for out-of-stock items. Inventory applications also track important inventory value information for accounting purposes.

Common Features of a Distribution Inventory Management System

The five features below are common in most modern distribution inventory management systems:

  • Front counter operations. This feature helps handle the necessary transactional tasks, such as processing orders, calculating taxes and printing receipts.
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  • Warehouse and inventory management. These features work together to help distributors monitor inventory levels, manage receiving and shipping and determining optimal reordering.
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  • Transportation management. Users can manage the scheduling of shipments and routes to improve logistics and reduce costs.
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  • Customer management (CRM). A CRM in distribution keeps a log of retrievable customer information to improve speed and satisfaction. Users can also produce reports to identify purchasing trends.
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  • Distribution accounting. This feature helps handle all the revenues and expenditures, and offers a general ledger to track all transactions.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before evaluating different solutions, you’ll need to determine what type of buyer you are. Over 90 percent of buyers fall into one of these four groups:

Full-suite buyer. These buyers value the seamless integration of data and processes that comes from having one provider for all functions. For example, a top full-suite system for accounting, customer relationship management and inventory management can turn quotes automatically into orders and then generate picking lists, shipping labels and invoices. These buyers favor complete software suites like Oracle, SAP, Sage ERP or Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Multiple warehouse operations buyer. These enterprise buyers run multiple facilities and need to track and balance inventories over a geographical area. The buyers require software that can balance inventory between warehouses while strategically placing it closest to the probable customers. Finally, the software must determine the best choice between drop shipping split orders between warehouses or centrally receiving inventory and then shipping to warehouses.

Departmental buyer. These buyers are distribution specialists for firms that have an internal distribution network. They may only sell to their own outlets, but they must contend with multiple suppliers, inventory issues, competing corporate customers and transportation decisions similar to commercial distributors use.

Small business buyer. These buyers may work for distributors or wholesalers or may have a distribution component as part of their company. They usually have smaller numbers of clients, suppliers and inventory and may include some assembly or production components but still face the same basic issues as large-scale distributors. They may be using dedicated systems or an integrated solution.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Effective inventory management is a critical success factor for distributors. You can expect the following benefits from an inventory management system.

Time savings. Inventory management systems can save time in all aspects of handling inventory. Slotting analysis saves time by having frequently picked items placed where they can be quickly located. Picking systems speed the process to fulfill customer orders. Receiving systems allow for the efficient inflow and processing of inventory.

Capital savings. Inventory management systems can help business reorder stock and supplies at economic reorder amounts. 

Integration with accounting systems. Integration with the rest of the accounting system is hugely important. Information shared with the general ledger keeps balance sheets current. Inventory reorders trigger entries in purchase order and accounts receivable. Pick information and shipping information is shared with accounts payable.

There are two key issues with general ledger systems. The first is the cost of implementation and maintenance. The inventory must start from a clean physical inventory, which can be time consuming and labor intensive. Periodic inventories must be conducted to ensure that the physical count agrees with the system count.

The second challenge is discipline. It is very, very easy to grab a piece of stock from a shelf for a customer and “catch up on the paperwork later.” It is easy to do and, as a manager, it is easy to excuse. But it can have a devastating effect on an inventory management system. And when it is part of a integrated system, the errors spread all the way through.

Market Trends to Understand

Inventory systems continue to evolve and are one of the most dynamic parts of ERP and supply chain systems. The following are trends to consider when selecting a system.

Pick to light technology. Pick to light (PTL) is a paperless picking technology. Instead of printing a pick list, arrays of lights on the ceiling and shelving indicate the location of the items to be picked. Digital displays on the shelf give the quantity to pick. 

Intelligent inventory tagging. The use of one-dimensional bar coding for equipment and inventory tagging is well established in manufacturing programs. Recent systems use radio frequency identification (RFID), which can be read remotely to check inventory levels and to confirm equipment availability. Other systems use two-dimensional bar codes which contain descriptive information in addition to an identifier like a part number.

Advanced slotting analysis. Advanced slotting analysis uses historical inventory information, picking trends and warehouse shelving layout information to determine the most cost-effective placement of supplies. Slotting analysis can also ensure that dangerous items are not stored together, for example, ammonia next to chlorine, which could violate government regulations, insurance restrictions and common sense.

The Vendor Landscape

Inventory management systems vary greatly; buyers need to understand their scope and scale while evaluating inventory packages.

This type of buyer... Should evaluate these systems
Full-suite buyer SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics
Multiple warehouse operations Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Infor
Departmental buyer Exact Globe, Geneva, ADS, Oracle, SAP
Small business buyer Blue Link, ADS, Infor, Abas

Free Download:
Distribution ERP Software Feature Checklist

Free Download:
Ten Steps Guide to Selecting Distribution ERP Software

 

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