Challenges and Obstacles Facing the Modern Distributor

Distributors today are facing various challenges. Companies that can equip themselves to anticipate or identify challenges and deal with them effectively will have a significant advantage over those that do not evolve fast enough.

Distributors often must deal with complex multi-channel order fulfillment and multi-source fulfillment. One of the keys to managing change and growth is to have the necessary technology, solutions, and systems to deal with the intricacies and complexities involved. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more significant challenges facing distributors today.


Customer Expectations

We live in a world where everyone expects instant gratification. Customers are no longer prepared to wait a month, or even a week, for delivery. Technological improvements and innovations have created an expectation of 24/7 service that is better, cheaper, and faster than in the past. These higher expectations are not restricted to the consumer; they now affect business-to-business transactions as well. Those companies that do not meet the new requirements will lose ground to those that can. They have no option other than to adapt and quickly, or they will lose business.


The distribution methods of yesteryear will not address these challenges. The same technology that created these challenges must be used to remedy it. Companies need to adopt software, systems, and solutions that can streamline the process, anticipate errors or delays and manage workflow at a significantly faster pace than in the past. Customers, markets, and products will continue to change faster than in the past; only innovative solutions will enable companies to deliver the goods.


Relationships are Changing

Just as customer expectations have increased, the nature of the relationship with the client is also very different now than just a few years ago.


While technology integrates suppliers and customers, systems and processes, it has both positive and negative implications. Integration to streamline and improve communication and improve fulfillment speed adds to increased expectations.  The system needs to work effectively and efficiently without errors and delays. Support staff must respond quickly and proactively manage the process for maximum speed and accuracy.


Customers expect special treatment and want quotes, prices, service, and delivery tailored to their specific requirements. If your company can’t deliver, chances are people knocking on your clients’ doors will offer this level of flexibility and customization.


Old solutions cannot fix new problems. The only way to achieve flexibility while still improving efficiency is to streamline and automate processes as much as possible. Quality distribution ERP software is one way of achieving this goal. By getting your systems right, and meeting clients’ demands, you will cement better relationships and minimize the threat of competition.


Employee Retention

The specialization and skill set required to manage the rising challenges in distribution are in short supply. Attracting, finding, and retaining top talent is critical to a company’s success. Ongoing training and succession planning will go a long way in preventing talent gaps within your organization.


Employee retention is a multifaceted subject. Obviously, management styles, company culture, and remuneration are vitally important. There are, however, other factors to consider. In the modern distribution environment that has become so reliant on complex and sophisticated ERP systems and other applications, it is vital that the technology live up to employee expectations and that staff members know how to use it confidently. Training is particularly critical when changes are made or new systems implemented.


Challenges will always be present when it comes to distribution. As they are becoming more complex and commonplace, companies need to have systems and procedures in place to identify problems quickly and adapt accordingly. This way, business leaders can ensure future growth and success. 

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