When my colleague and I attended Connect, the Epicor P21 World Wide User Group Conference, in New Orleans, LA we met several amazing P21 users. There were a variety of speakers discussing many different topics effecting wholesale distributors using the P21 software platform to resolve their inventory needs. Before leaving for New Orleans we thought it would be interesting to do a little of our own research within the industry. We wanted to know what the major “Pain Points” of wholesale distributors were, as well as what they believed they “Needed” in the way of reporting from their inventory management system. This first blog will discuss the latter topic.

As a quick footnote, all respondents were asked to check all answers that correlated to their business. The resulting percentages will add up to over 100%. This is due to some individuals having more than one pain point or more than one need.

Epicor P21 users Inventory Management Needs

Source: Epicor P21 user group survey results

Out of the 90 individuals who filled out a survey either prior to or at the conference 59% of them said they needed “to identify trend and patterns to stock the right items at the right time.” What this shows is that distributors are focused on right-sizing their inventory and trying to find that inventory sweet spot (a topic of another blog you can find here). This also shows us that many inventory management tools are lacking in this ability.

Many of the people who filled out our survey use different software and methods to monitor their inventory, but more than half of those fail to show trends and patterns. This is something that needs to be addressed. At Cutwater we have worked to make those trends more visible, and are always working to find better ways to find that inventory sweet spot.

Another interesting discovery revealed by our survey is while the overwhelming majority have these needs and wants, only 8% of the people and companies are currently working on finding a solution to their problem. I find this interesting. I wonder if it is a budget issue, an IT issue, or some other kind of obstacle preventing people from exploring options. There are so many tools and so many methods that can be implemented to resolve many of the pains and needs of wholesale distributors. Inventory is the bread and butter of wholesale distributors. I think more focus should be put on making inventory as efficient as possible.

That is just one man’s opinion. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the survey results and what you think they show us. Please, leave your comments and ideas below.

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