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Industrial Distributors: Selecting the Right Software Solution for Your Business

Distribution-team Jason Bader, Managing Partner of The Distribution Team, is sick and tired of running into ERP software solutions masquerading as wholesale distribution packages. In his article for Progressive Distributor, Bader disparages the outlandish claims that some software companies are making to get business in the distribution management software niche.

The solutions he is referring to are those a la carte packages that allow you to build your dream distribution management package out of manufacturing castoff modules. These companies claim that your software will have ultimate flexibility to grow with the business. Loosely translated, according to Bader, you will have consultants on the payroll for the remainder of your natural existence.

Bader is an expert in distribution and inventory management. He teaches the fundamentals so that distributors can get their arms around the basic buying and selling of inventory. During the session, he talks about some of the controls inside the software and how those affect the replenishment process. These are the tried-and-true Gordon Graham methodologies available in most wholesale distribution packages.

And invariably, someone comes up to him during the break and tells him that they have never seen any of this in their system. Where do they find the safety stock setting? They don’t know if their system offers EOQ. They have never seen a field for a bin location. They think it is an add-on warehouse management package.

The true distribution packages you see on the market were built for the specific purpose of helping distributors manage their business, Bader states. The tools developed were designed to enhance the distribution business model. These software providers understand what you do for a living because they have focus.

This describes Tribute, Inc. to a tee. Tribute software was developed by an industrial distributor to address their critical business issues and Tribute employees have either worked or interned at an industrial distributorship, so they know your business. Tribute offers two software packages specifically aimed at meeting the unique needs of industrial distributors and, unlike the all-inclusive software companies that market to the gamut of industries, Tribute has remained tightly focused.

Bader states, “One of the best reasons to stick with a ground up wholesale distribution package is the user base. Feedback from the user base is how a product evolves to meet the changing needs of an industry. Many of these enhancements are brought forward during an annual conference of the users. How can you have a meaningful user conference for a package catering to a multitude of different business types?”

Tribute’s annual user’s group meetings provide a great opportunity for customers to network with others in the same or related business and learn about enhancements that will apply to their business. And Tribute customers provide input that directly affects the direction of the software.

Bader suggests finding a good distribution package by looking to your trade associations – folks who do the same thing you do. And watch out for those packages that require heavy modification before the go-live date.

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