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Industrial Distribution Software


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Fishbowl Inventory Distribution logo
 
Industrial distributors looking for more functionality out of their QuickBooks accounting programs can upgrade to Fishbowl Inventory. Inventory management, demand planning, and point of sale capability included in this solution.
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Industrial distributors looking for more functionality out of their QuickBooks accounting programs can upgrade to Fishbowl Inventory. Inventory management, demand planning, and point of sale capability included in this solution.
 
NetSuite logo
 
NetSuite is a Software-as-a-Service application suited for the needs of distributors of industrial materials. This integrated ERP, e-commerce and fulfillment suite is ideal for distributors looking for a web-based application.
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NetSuite is a Software-as-a-Service application suited for the needs of distributors of industrial materials. This integrated ERP, e-commerce and fulfillment suite is ideal for distributors looking for a web-based application.
 
Systum logo
 
Systum is a cloud-based distribution management solution for small to midsize businesses. Key features include marketing, customer relationship management, sales automation, e-commerce, inventory management and quoting and billing. Systum... Read More
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Systum is a cloud-based distribution management solution for small to midsize businesses. Key features include marketing, customer relationship management, sales automation, e-commerce, inventory management and quoting and billing. Systum... 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
 
VersAccounts Small Business Cloud ERP logo
 
VersAccounts is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed for small manufacturers and distributors. The solution offers tools to consolidate data related to finances, inventory, revenue, costs and more. Within... Read More
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VersAccounts is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed for small manufacturers and distributors. The solution offers tools to consolidate data related to finances, inventory, revenue, costs and more. Within... Read More

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Distribution One ERP-ONE+ - Distribution logo
 
Distribution One has created ERP-ONE, a powerful solution for distributors and wholesalers. This solution can be implemented quickly, with minimal downtime and a dedicated support team.
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Distribution One has created ERP-ONE, a powerful solution for distributors and wholesalers. This solution can be implemented quickly, with minimal downtime and a dedicated support team.
 
Epicor Prophet 21 logo
 
Epicor Prophet 21 is a business management solution designed distributors with capabilities such as: mobility, e-commerce, analytics/business intelligence, financial management, CRM, order management, pricing, purchasing, warehouse... Read More
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Epicor Prophet 21 is a business management solution designed distributors with capabilities such as: mobility, e-commerce, analytics/business intelligence, financial management, CRM, order management, pricing, purchasing, warehouse... Read More
 
Deskera ERP logo
 
Deskera ERP is a cloud-based enterprise business management suite that automates sales, billing, fulfillment, distribution (including pick, pack and ship process), sales commission calculations, purchasing, payment processing, product... Read More
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Deskera ERP is a cloud-based enterprise business management suite that automates sales, billing, fulfillment, distribution (including pick, pack and ship process), sales commission calculations, purchasing, payment processing, product... Read More
 
ForwardSales logo
 
ForwardSales by FwdMbl Solutions is an order entry solution designed for third-party logistics businesses. Features include back order management, shipping management, warehouse management, remote order entry, customer database and... Read More
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ForwardSales by FwdMbl Solutions is an order entry solution designed for third-party logistics businesses. Features include back order management, shipping management, warehouse management, remote order entry, customer database and... Read More
 
Royal 4 Enterprise logo
 
Royal4 is internationally recognized as one of the leaders in the distribution software market. This integrated suite offers flexible deployment options giving buyers the choice to install software on-site or host it in the cloud.
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Royal4 is internationally recognized as one of the leaders in the distribution software market. This integrated suite offers flexible deployment options giving buyers the choice to install software on-site or host it in the cloud.

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Logiwa WMS logo
 
Logiwa WMS is a cloud-based warehouse management and order fulfillment solution built on a .NET framework. The solution supports disparate warehousing processes, separate product groups and the needs of different sectors within a single... Read More
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Logiwa WMS is a cloud-based warehouse management and order fulfillment solution built on a .NET framework. The solution supports disparate warehousing processes, separate product groups and the needs of different sectors within a single... Read More
 
Infor ERP Distribution logo
 
Infor Distribution powers more than 5,700 users each day and their software is used to move over $100 billion through supply chains in North America. The package includes inventory management, TMS, WMS and more.
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Infor Distribution powers more than 5,700 users each day and their software is used to move over $100 billion through supply chains in North America. The package includes inventory management, TMS, WMS and more.
 
Blue Link ERP logo
 
Blue Link ERP serves small to midsized industrial distribution operations. The system offers features for product aggregation, industrial product item codes as well as a point of sale system for walk-in buyers.
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Blue Link ERP serves small to midsized industrial distribution operations. The system offers features for product aggregation, industrial product item codes as well as a point of sale system for walk-in buyers.
 
Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management logo
 
Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management, formerly known as Sage X3, is an ERP software suite that includes integrated functionality for financial management, sales, customer service, distribution, inventory, and manufacturing, and... Read More
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Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management, formerly known as Sage X3, is an ERP software suite that includes integrated functionality for financial management, sales, customer service, distribution, inventory, and manufacturing, and... Read More
 
WMS360 logo
 
Seldat’s WMS360 is a modular platform suitable for third-party logistics providers and warehouse operations of all sizes. Key features include inbound and outbound planning, inventory management and automated monitoring. The solution... Read More
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Seldat’s WMS360 is a modular platform suitable for third-party logistics providers and warehouse operations of all sizes. Key features include inbound and outbound planning, inventory management and automated monitoring. The solution... Read More

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Latitude WMS logo
 
Latitude WMS is a warehouse management solution for retail and wholesale distributors of all sizes. Key features include cycle counting, performance metrics, picking, putaway, receiving and WMS training. Latitude WMS provides users... Read More
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Latitude WMS is a warehouse management solution for retail and wholesale distributors of all sizes. Key features include cycle counting, performance metrics, picking, putaway, receiving and WMS training. Latitude WMS provides users... Read More
 
OptiProERP logo
 
OptiProERP is a cloud and on-premise Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for small and midsize discrete manufacturers and distributors. Key features include supply chain management (SCM), purchasing, work orders, scheduling... Read More
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OptiProERP is a cloud and on-premise Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for small and midsize discrete manufacturers and distributors. Key features include supply chain management (SCM), purchasing, work orders, scheduling... Read More
 
mobe3 logo
 
mobe3 is a cloud-based warehouse management solution (WMS) for midsize and enterprise warehouse facilities. It is an iOS-compatible solution that lets facility managers simulate their warehouse operations, including inventory management,... Read More
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mobe3 is a cloud-based warehouse management solution (WMS) for midsize and enterprise warehouse facilities. It is an iOS-compatible solution that lets facility managers simulate their warehouse operations, including inventory management,... Read More
 
SYSPRO logo
 
SYSPRO can support small to medium-sized distributors of a variety of vertical markets, including industrial distribution. Warehouse management, transportation management and business intelligence are part of an integrated suite.
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SYSPRO can support small to medium-sized distributors of a variety of vertical markets, including industrial distribution. Warehouse management, transportation management and business intelligence are part of an integrated suite.
 
Acumatica ERP logo
 
Acumatica is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that offers a platform designed for midsize customers with a complete, real-time view across the business. The Acumatica suite of integrated business management... Read More
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Acumatica is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that offers a platform designed for midsize customers with a complete, real-time view across the business. The Acumatica suite of integrated business management... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Lisa Hedges,
Content Analyst
Last Updated: October 23, 2018


Industrial distributors deal with a diverse set of industrial products, ranging from valve fittings and piping to pumps and motors. This diversity creates order management, inventory tracking and transportation management challenges that must be tightly controlled to remain competitive. The right industrial distribution system will include strong inventory management and warehouse management capabilities to keep a distributor up to date on how much of each product is in stock and where the item is located in the warehouse. The system will also include e-commerce, order management and invoicing features that allow distributors to handle sales orders, and procurement/vendor management features for purchase orders.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Industrial Distribution Software?
Common Features of Industrial Distribution Software
Evaluating Industrial Distribution Software

What Is Industrial Distribution Software?

Perhaps the most important thing to note about industrial distribution software is that this is not the name of a single software category, but rather a diverse group of software types used in different operational contexts by industrial distributors. These software types fall into the broad territory of supply chain management/ERP, including:

(Click on links for overviews and example products)

Inventory management

Order management

Warehouse management

Transportation management

Procurement

Accounting/financial management

Customer relationship management

Together, these applications can handle nearly all of the back-office needs of an industrial distributor. That said, not all distributors will need every one of these applications. Those that do have two options:

  1. Buy applications on a standalone basis, and integrate as needed
  2. Buy a distribution ERP suite in which applications are already integrated out-of-the-box.

Distributors have specialized needs, and occasionally even a distribution ERP won’t offer all the features you need. If this is the case, consider investing in an ERP system along with one or two standalone systems (say, for warehouse management) and then integrating your standalone solutions with your ERP.

The following vendors offer distribution ERP systems:

NetSuite

Blue Link

SYSPRO

Epicor

Not all ERP systems are right for distributors. Many are intended for manufacturers and/or retailers, and these systems will be overkill (not to mention too expensive) for many distribution contexts. Distribution ERPs are more lightweight and offer flexible capabilities in the areas distributors need, which we’ll look at now.

Common Features of Industrial Distribution Software

We’ve seen that industrial distribution software is a rather loosely defined category, including most of the applications generally grouped under the heading of supply chain management software.

With that being said, there are three areas of supply chain management where “one-size-fits-all” solutions tend to fall short for distributors:

  1. Order management
  2. Inventory tracking
  3. Warehouse management

Distributors need to place purchase orders and receive sales orders, so the solution needs strong order management functionality.

Additionally, the order management system should integrate with the warehouse management system in order to bill for value-added services performed in the warehouse/distribution center, such as kitting, repackaging and light assembly. The warehouse management system itself also needs to be able to track these activities.

Indeed, distributors and logistics companies tend to describe the WMS module as the “weak link” in their ERP solutions. Finding a standalone WMS that fits with your portfolio of services as well as your inventory tracking requirements is the best workaround for this problem, as standalone WMS systems still outstrip modules in ERP systems in the range of functionality they offer.

Moreover, the top industrial distribution systems include the following industry-specific capabilities:

Nested lot codes/serial numbers Since many industrial distributors get involved in value-added services, such as light manufacturing, assembly, rentals and kitting, industrial distribution software allows for the tracking of nested lot numbers and serial numbers when component parts are combined in a kit or package.
Industrial product item codes Since industrial products can vary tremendously, the software supports pricing and tracking of a broad range of products. Examples include building materials, adhesives, heavy equipment, electrical supplies, plumbing/HVAC, janitorial/sanitation and medical. Generally, multiple product codes can be associated with a single product.
Bill of materials A bill of materials (BOM) is a list of the materials used in a product, including parts used in its sub-assemblies, sub-components etc. BOMs can have multiple levels, so they present specific costing and inventory tracking challenges for distributors.
Point-of-sale system Many industrial wholesalers take walk-up orders from contractors filling an order on their way to a job site. In this instance, your industrial distribution solution will need retail capabilities such as an integrated point of sale system as well as wholesale capabilities.
Vendor managed inventory/consignment inventory If you’re monitoring your customers’ inventory levels as a service, or if you’re selling stock on consignment, you’ll need special inventory tracking and order management features.

Additionally, as part of a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) system most programs will include accounting and business intelligence tools. Some also include customer relationship management features and HR functionality such as payroll.

Evaluating Industrial Distribution Software

The specific type of industrial products sold, sources of revenue and additional services will all play a major part in the evaluation of an industrial distribution software product. A company specializing in medical devices will want a system that supports that industry, while a company that serves multiple industries with service offerings and walk-in orders will need something much more all-encompassing and robust.

When selecting industrial distribution software, buyers should consider the following:

  • Do you require client/server deployment, also known as on-premise deployment, or are you looking for a Web-based, or cloud, solution?
  •  
  • How many warehouses do you operate? Will you need to implement the software in more than one location?
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  • Do you need fron-counter capabilities to serve walk-in contractors filling orders on their way to the job site?
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  • Do you offer value-added services such as light manufacturing or kitting? If so, can the software support a bill of materials?
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  • Do you use QuickBooks, and if so, do you plan on keeping it? There are a number of inventory management solutions that integrate out-of-the-box with QuickBooks, so make sure to evaluate vendors like Fishbowl that have made a name for themselves with easy integrations.
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  • Is part of your business e-commerce? If so, your order management system will need to integrate with your online shopping baskets.

Free Download:
Distribution ERP Software Feature Checklist

Free Download:
Ten Steps Guide to Selecting Distribution ERP Software

 

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