In our experience working with foodservice distributors across the U.S. and Canada, we’ve noticed trends in what these food distribution companies are looking for in a new technology platform on which to build their businesses.
When considering a new ERP solution, foodservice distributors typically list 7 key attributes:
1. Easy Order Entry
Getting foodservice distribution orders in quickly is essential. Many orders are large, with 50-100 lines. Being able to enter them quickly, easily, and accurately is key to keeping the business moving forward.
2. Industry Knowledge
Any ERP vendor needs to be able to demonstrate that they understand the needs of the industry their solution is addressing. The foodservice distribution industry has unique qualities that standard ERP or accounting systems like Microsoft Dynamics or Quickbooks do not address. Just because a system has inventory functionality does not mean that it was built for the needs of food distributors.
3. Easy to Use
Any ERP system can have great functionality, but if it is difficult to get your business data into or out of, you are going to have a lot of unhappy employees. Changing business software is not an easy process. It takes time. If the solution that you implement is not easy to use and does not make your employees’ lives easier, it will not be a successful transition.
An ERP system needs to be easy to get real-time data into and out of.
4. Easy Reporting
Good reporting relies upon the availability of real-time data. Your users don’t want to have to rely on someone else to get access to the reports and data that they need. They do not want to call someone who has expertise in a particular reporting function. Users want to be able to analyze their own data according to their role without reaching out for help. Therefore, a good ERP system will make reporting easy and accessible for anyone and everyone.
5. Modern Technology & Mobility
No one wants outdated technology, but what does modern ERP look like in the food service distribution industry?
In today’s world, we’re all glued to our phones. We’re used to using our apps and having access to any information we need on our phones. Business data should be no exception.
Especially in the foodservice distribution industry where a lot of reps are on the road, having a modern ERP app is critical so that employees can have real-time access to their inventory, see the customer’s history, and take an order while they’re on site quickly and easily in a mobile environment.
6. Stability and Development
In today’s world, because technology moves so quickly, it’s really important to partner with a stable, large company who’s going to continue to develop relevant enhancements to your solution.
Everything changes so quickly. Programs that we had never heard of just a few years ago are now used by everybody. An example of this is paperless signatures. People in the field can grab signatures anywhere on their phones or through DocuSign.
The consistent release of relevant technology enhancements is evidence of the stability of the software vendor and the future of the solution in which you are investing.
7. Happy Customers
Any reputable ERP system provider should have happy customers that you can ask for references. Don’t be afraid to ask current users how the implementation process was and how the system goes about meeting their business needs.
To see an example of a modern ERP solution built for the foodservice distribution industry that ticks all of these boxes, watch an on-demand demo of Prime FoodService Software.