Choosing the best distribution management system: What features to look for before selecting one

Written by Salman Hossain on Apr 04, 2022

To succeed as a distribution business, the one key feature that cannot be slept on is a properly functioning and fulfilling distribution management system. However, amongst hundreds of options out there in the open, how do you know which is the right one for you? In the vast market, the number of features these systems can offer is rather huge. So, in this article, we will take a look into exactly which features can be the deciding factor for a DMS to be the right one for you. Let’s dive right in.

What is a Distribution Management System (DMS)?

A distribution management system, or DMS, is a collection of business procedures and automation solutions that allow the supply chain to operate effectively and reliably. The system consists of features that allow independent sections of a distribution business to move forward with their procedures both separately and in conjunction with the core of the business. A good DMS is often considered to be the centerpiece of a distribution business.

Choosing a Distribution Management System:

Before starting one of the common mistakes made by companies before choosing a distribution management system is not analyzing the current standing of the business. What this means is taking an overview of the companies internal operations and identifying what features and functionalities it really needs. By doing this beforehand, companies can easily tick out the features from the list if they need them. For this, the company needs to answer some questions. What type of functionalities does it really need? How much is enough? Will a DMS provide a solution for the internal issues? A company needs to have a hundred percent clarity before it starts the integration. Otherwise, it will fail to see the results it has projected.

Must-Have Features in a Distribution Management System

Even though features can be specific to what a company needs, some make the system more complete and useful to the company using it. Below are some of these top features that will help a company thrive in the complex industry.

  • Demand Arrangement and Forecasting: Manual demand planning is a tough task. Keeping inventory levels parallel with the current market demand is a tedious task and if done manually, keeps too big of a window for human error, and often gives out data that is incorrect. Thus, a DMS that has demand arrangements integrated into it will make sure the inventory always meets customer demands to the point and avoid disruptions within the supply chain.

    Forecasting tools take data from sales history and market demand to make optimized decisions for the company. This tool streamlines the entire management process for the inventory and eases up the process of planning future purchases. Forecasting is based on all the data taken from sales functions, supply, and purchasing. Because of this, the company can always react quickly to changes within the market, improve customer service and ease up overall inventory management.

  • Sales Order Management: Sales order management within a distribution management system automates and enhances the entire sales process. It allows you to see interactions, inventory details, shipment info in real-time, and make decisions automatically. For example, approving an order based on a healthy inventory and healthy credit of the client. It can create macros on specifically how a billing process works from top to bottom, necessarily automating the entire process. This not only eliminates downtime that would be present if the process was manual but also frees up manpower that would be needed to manage these factors. The software not only gives full control of sales to the management but also offers it useful informatics and analytics on finances that keep the financial team updated on margins and sales.
  • Warehouse Management: The warehouse being the core of the supply chain is often one of the tougher segments to manage. With warehouse management integrated into your distribution management system, the software will make sure even the most complex fulfillment processes meet their ends. Warehouse management systems will ensure the best utilization of the warehouse space that will be set by the company. Moreover, it increases accuracy and timeliness of the pick up and drop off procedures as the shipments are handled through automation. As all the batch numbers and serial numbers are input and updated in real-time, tracking becomes simple. This also saves time when finding a product within the warehouse, as the software can locate the products within seconds via in-house mapping methods.
  • Fleet Management: A distribution management system makes fleet and logistics monumentally easier to manage and scale. By adding important functionalities such as route optimization, it takes over route planning, travel distance estimation, fuel consumption analysis, etc. All of these processes are generally very hard to keep track of manually, and a DMS not only automates it for you, but it also lets you reaps the benefits from every single feature individually. Cutting down travel times, fuel consumption, and providing real-time delivery updates to both the management and the consumer, are only the beginning of the long list of benefits.
  • Production Management: Production management gives organizations the tools they need to make products. A bill of materials for a product or component of a product is one of these tools. Production planning, cost management, quality management, and shop floor control are also available to employees. With production management embedded within the distribution management system, automated software will take care of generating necessary receipts of production, streamlining necessary tools that will need to be purchased, and much more.
  • Business Intelligence: While strategizing to move your business forward in the vast competition that is present within the market, business intelligence plays a massive role. With such a feature available within the distribution management system, it can make use of its permissions of using the data that it receives from multiple points of the business. This data is used to give the company insights, predict and analyze market trends, analyze purchasing patterns, and generate reports for the company to review manually. This way, business intelligence improves the decision-making within the company monumentally. Without this, it is very easy to get lost within the sea of data. But with business intelligence moduled right into the DMS, the software makes sure all this data is converted to crystal clear and actionable supply chain insights.

These features, while nothing extraordinarily new, can make a huge difference altogether with a significantly lower operating cost. Making sure your distribution management system has these from the get-go means your company is ahead even before it has started. While it’s very easy to get lost in the midst of hundreds of options out there in the open, Nuport offers you the best. From Fleet intelligence solutions to handling complex business management decisions - Nuport brings the extra layer of intelligence you are looking for, right to your doorstep. Schedule a demo today!