Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice helps small businesses select the right CPG software that can streamline the production, distribution and marketing of their products.

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Fishbowl Inventory Distribution

Fishbowl is a hybrid manufacturing and warehouse management solution designed for small and midsize companies. Key features include inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP), job shop floor control, work order management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 79 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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NetSuite

NetSuite is a provider of SaaS-based business solutions. NetSuite offers a web-based application for midsize wholesalers and distributors, offering a complete suite with features like ERP, inventory, e-commerce, accounting, fulfillment,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 75 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Agiliron Distribution

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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Recent recommendations: 41 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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FOCUS9

Focus is a cloud-based enterprise software suite that includes modular enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relations management (CRM) solutions. Users can also choose to use individual modules such as warehouse management... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 29 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Skulocity

Skulocity is a cloud-based ERP system for manufacturing and distribution businesses. It offers functionality for warehouse management, inventory planning, manufacturing management, payroll, shipping management, and financial analytics. Skulocity’s... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Lead Commerce

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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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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SalesPad

SalesPad offers small to midsize distributors on-premises and cloud-based business management software that optimizes the order-to-cash cycle without requiring a full-scale ERP deployment. The software tracks inventory movement across... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Zangerine

Zangerine is a cloud-based distribution management solution for small to midsize e-commerce businesses. Key features include inventory management, order management, quotes, purchasing, customer relationship management (CRM), point... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Omnna ERP

Omnna is a cloud-based ERP that allows businesses of all sizes to manage processes for the supply chain lifecycle, point of sale, warehousing, customer relationship management and more. Omnna's complete B2B and B2C warehouse management... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Distribution One ERP-ONE+ - Distribution

ERP-ONE+ is Distribution One’s ERP solution for wholesalers and distributors. Featuring Cloud or On-Premise deployments, this 64-bit turnkey system supplies all the functionality required to automate distribution processes including... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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WinWeb

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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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Epicor Prophet 21

Epicor Prophet 21 is a cloud-based business management solution for distributors powered by Microsoft Azure designed to streamline the various distribution processes in today’s dynamic supply chain. Key capabilities include: inventory,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Kechie

Kechie Distribution Management efficiently manages internal and external resources. Suited for businesses with $1M+ in revenue, the management tools provide control of replenishment, warehouse management, picking, packing, and shipping.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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AcctVantage ERP

AcctVantage ERP is an agile ERP solution that includes functions for accounting, warehouse management, CRM, supply chain management and business intelligence. The solution is developed for inventory-based manufacturers, wholesalers,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On premise
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Acctivate

Acctivate is an enterprise resource planning and inventory management system created for small to midsize organizations. Key feature include purchasing, warehousing, sales, marketing, shipping and customer service. The solution provides... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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AdvancePro

AdvancePro offers a cloud-based inventory management solution for a variety of industry verticals to help them manage buying, warehousing, selling and shipping processes. The solution closely visualizes the stock levels at all time... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Priority

Priority is an on-premise and cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution suitable for midsize to large businesses in many industry segments including manufacturing, apparel, electronics, food and beverage, industrial machinery... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Blue Link ERP

Blue Link is a cloud-based ERP, inventory management and accounting solution that caters to small and midsize businesses. The solution helps businesses handle the back-office needs as well as logistical and operational requirements.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: Cloud
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aACE

aACE offers on-premise and cloud-based business management software for small and midsize businesses. Modules include accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), inventory management, order... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Infoplus

Infoplus WMS is a web-based warehouse management software solution for small to midsize 3PLs, eCommerce Retailers, and Wholesalers focused on taking control of overall inventory, warehouse operations and shipping.  Key features include... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: July 4, 2020

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is one where small businesses and startups are doing better than big brands. Small players have benefited from the e-commerce boom and new marketing channels, such as Amazon Go Store, that have disrupted the CPG market. This has lead to a shift in customer demand from traditional packaged products to local and healthier alternatives.

While the market trends are favorable, small CPG companies still face the challenges of keeping logistics costs low, ensuring on-time delivery to retailers, improving product marketing, managing product recalls, tracking inventory and more.

This is where consumer packaged goods software comes in. If you're not leveraging CPG software, your operations will suffer and you'll have a hard time seeing your business grow. In this Buyer's Guide, we will look at how CPG solutions benefit SMBs and the key considerations for first-time buyers of the software.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Consumer Packaged Goods Software?
Common Features of Consumer Packaged Goods Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Key Considerations
Market Trends

What Is Consumer Packaged Goods Software?

Consumer packaged goods software helps businesses manage and monitor products as they move along the supply chain: from manufacturing to sales.

CPG solutions boost transparency and simplify the production, warehousing, distribution, marketing and sales of consumable goods.

Here's an example of how CPG software can give users added insights into their business processes:

Purchase order entry in Epicor

Purchase order entry in Epicor

These tools are essential for small manufacturers and distributors of consumer packaged goods, who need to track and monitor their products for quality compliance. Besides that, these tools help in financial planning, product shipping, pricing management and much more.

Common Features of Consumer Packaged Goods Software

CPG solutions offer functionalities that help SMBs streamline production, optimize the distribution and manage sales of consumable goods via online or brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Here's a quick look at the common features of CPG tools:

Lot tracking Track products along the supply chain by lot numbers to manage quality control and compliance.
Inventory management Access centralized, real-time records of customer orders, shipped products and warehouse stock.
Financial accounting Manage the general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable to generate profit and loss statements.
Electronic Data Interchange Transfer files such as bills of lading, payment documents and more securely via built-in EDI systems.
Pricing management Create sales quotes and handle product discounts as well as rebates.
Customer management Maintain a repository of customer profiles segmented by their preferences, purchase history, loyalty programs and other details.
Trade promotion Plan, evaluate and track return-on-investment (ROI) of product marketing and promotion efforts.
Forecast and demand planning Build product demand forecast reports by analyzing historical sales, pricing variations, customer demand and market share.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

The ideal CPG software for you depends on the requirements and budget of your businesses.

Most CPG solutions are designed to help you manage the production and distribution of products. However, some tools also offer a full-suite of features that help in product marketing, sales management and customer management.

Here are two of the most common types of buyers and their concerns:

  • Small business buyers: These buyers are looking for ease of use and affordable tools, instead of full-featured solutions. That makes cloud-based solutions ideal, as they come with a subscription based pricing model with small monthly payments. Since the pricing is tiered according to different plans, buyers can choose the one that fits their budget. Also, cloud-based software vendors typically offer support services for bug fixes, software updates and data-backup, which is ideal for small businesses who don't have a large IT team and dedicated data centers.
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  • Large enterprise buyers: These buyers are typically looking for full-suite software. The ideal solution should have product performance monitoring and data collection as well as built-in e-commerce and customer management tools. Also, integration with popular third-party accounting tools, customer relationship management (CRM) software and product life cycle management (PLM) solutions is necessary to ensure that data transfer is seamless across the different systems that an enterprise is using or intends to use.

Key Considerations

Aside from the size and scale of your business, there are a couple of factors that should determine your software purchase decision. Let's have a quick look at what they are:

Manufacturer vs. distributor: Whether you're the distributor or the actual manufacturer makes a difference in the choice of software. For instance, small distributors of food products will find niche food distribution software more relevant and cost-effective than a full-fledged CPG solution. Likewise, those who are strictly manufacturers will benefit more by opting for food manufacturing software.

Retail management functionalities: Small CPG companies that handle retail by themselves need certain add-on functionalities. For instance, if you run a retail outlet, then you need a POS solution to transact and track in-store payments. Additionally, if you want to showcase and sell your products online, you should look for a built-in e-commerce platform.

Integration: While CPG tools offer many functionalities that help companies manage different business processes, these tools are part of a larger software ecosystem consisting of tools such as PLM, CRM and more. The CPG tool you buy must offer built-in integration with this closely-related family of third-party tools. A benefit of this, for example, would be the ability to extract business insights and pricing guidelines from tools such as a CRM.

Market Trends

The consumer packaged goods industry has a love/hate relationship with technology disruptions. On one hand, studies reveal a rise in logistic costs for CPG companies owing to the e-commerce boom. On the other hand, small CPG startups are holding their own in an industry dominated traditionally by large players.

Here's a quick look at a few tech trends and their benefits:

E-tail: According to studies, about 70% of US consumers will purchase groceries online by 2020. This means that the internet will be a bigger destination than brick and mortar retail stores for shoppers in the near future. Businesses selecting CPG tools must look for e-commerce capabilities that will help them market products online.

Robotic Automation: Robotic automation has hit the supply chain and retail industry hard and fast. With Amazon's trailblazing warehouse robots that the company claims cut its operating costs by 20%, more companies have followed suit—including FedEx, which introduced “tugger" robots that lug freight at its shipping hub. While the technology is not yet widespread enough for SMBs to start leveraging it, robotic automation is here: be it lugging freight in a warehouse or assisting shoppers in a retail store.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT): At Software Advice, we have published reports on how AI and IoT impacted supply chain management. These technologies primarily benefit CPG companies in compliance and delivery management. For instance, products can be constantly monitored in an IoT-enabled transportation environment consisting of “internet-connected" sensors, which improve product traceability and prevents loss of goods in transit. Similarly, AI, which is an amalgam of computer vision, natural-language processing and many other technologies, helps CPG companies automate different business processes, such as demand planning, forecasting and pricing optimization.