A recent study of more than 300 IT and business decision-makers has highlighted the biggest distribution challenges and opportunities facing Australian businesses.
The independent research report From Business Processes to Product Distribution was based on a survey of Australian organisations with more than 20 employees.
The report was commissioned by Epicor Software Corporation, a specialist in business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organisations, and produced by IT research firm, Telsyte.
"The perennial challenge of data integration is alive and well within the distribution process as most organisations cite this as the number one factor hampering their capability," says Telsyte Senior Analyst, Rodney Gedda.
"With better data integration comes better automation and decision making."
The survey findings also suggest Australian businesses have an opportunity to improve existing distribution processes.
"Unfortunately, nearly half of all organisations with existing distribution processes don't have the software or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system capable of effectively managing it," Gedda says.
"The time is right to explore automated distribution management options.
"CIOs should take a close look at what types of products and services they are distributing and the potential for process improvement might be profound."
Key findings from the report include:
- 65 per cent of organisations cite data processing and integration as hampering distribution capability with nearly half claiming their existing software and ERP is not suitable for distribution.
- Nearly two-thirds of enterprises have some form of distribution process, involving products or services.
- More than 80 per cent of organisations have at least some problem with product or service distribution.
- More than 50 per cent of CIOs in organisations with distribution processes believe better distribution would increase revenue and optimise business processes with a further 38 per cent citing reduced operating costs.
The findings suggest that distribution practices, while prolific, do not garner the same attention by IT and business leaders as other high-profile business processes like customer relationship management (CRM) and mobile enablement.
Gedda believes there is an underlying opportunity in strengthening these weaknesses.
"More than half of the CIOs that took place in the study believe improved distribution can increase revenue so the bottom line can be the winner with better distribution management," he says.
Craig Charlton, general manager, Asia Pacific for Epicor says: "There are many complex challenges facing Australian businesses but we believe there are genuine opportunities to increase efficiencies to out-dated distribution processes.
"We are starting to see a greater focus on distribution as business models evolve in areas like trade and manufacturing, however, many companies are still yet to realise the benefits of adopting an advanced ERP system."