Home News Kerridge Commercial Systems KCS identifies the most significant digital trends anticipated

Kerridge Commercial Systems KCS identifies the most significant digital trends anticipated

Recognising that knowledge is power, Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) identifies the most significant digital trends anticipated for the electrical wholesale industry in 2023.

The fast rate of digitisation within the electrical wholesale industry shows why businesses must get current and stay current to take advantage of the latest developments in business software. The market has changed over recent years, so tighter production timelines, increasing customer demands and limited resources are just some of the challenges the industry must overcome.

But when you know where industry trends are heading, you can more accurately plan your business strategy, so you’re in a better place to overcome these challenges.

  1. More ERP intelligence in the cloud

From a fixed monthly cost to a dedicated security team working 24/7, or constant back-ups, and hardware and software that automatically update, the benefits of cloud-based computing are becoming undeniable for electrical wholesalers.

‘The ongoing costs of the cloud are fixed to a certain degree,’ says Darren House, MD of Electrical at Grant & Stone. ‘You know exactly what you’re going to pay. We don’t have to worry about our local server suddenly going down, or suddenly having to stick more hard drives and RAM in it to cope with increased demand.’

  1. Advancements in ERP intelligence

As ERP solutions continue to evolve, they’re incorporating technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and robotic process automation (RPA). Once fully integrated, the ERP system performs tasks for the wholesaler that once required manual operation. This development saves costs while freeing up time for employees to focus on the business areas that generate more revenue.

  1. Increased focus on deploying the IoT

Customers increasingly expect electrical wholesalers to cater to their needs with more personalised experiences. Investing in ERP systems capable of conversing with the IoT will help businesses manage their business intelligence more effectively and tailor bespoke customer experiences to increase retention.

  1. A greater need for industry-specific solutions

The electrical wholesale industry is unique, and the increasing demand for ERP software means a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution no longer applies. Instead, leading ERP providers offer more industry-specific functionalities and features, which means fewer costs are associated with customisation. Naturally, wholesalers can then implement and deploy these industry-specific ERP systems quicker, which helps them achieve a better ROI.

  1. More focus on IT security

The shift to remote working has increased cyber-attacks, data breaches, and challenges in data security. Therefore, systems that process lots of data and link to CRM systems face growing threats. This circumstance then leads to many businesses intensifying their efforts to secure their ERP systems, especially with new GDPR laws concerning recent high-profile data breach incidents.

  1. Two-tier ERP systems

The rise of IoT, cloud infrastructure and big data are some of the integral parts of ERP technology that are developing at breakneck speed. So how can electrical wholesalers keep up? Many larger businesses have found that their existing ERP solution can only effectively deliver on some of their business requirements. For example, different ERP usage requirements at headquarters might be split between regional and subsidiary levels. In such a scenario, a two-tier ERP system can run an ERP solution at a corporate level (tier one) but operate its units and subsidiaries on a separate ERP solution (tier two).

  1. More wholesalers will go mobile

A recent study found that 78% of businesses surveyed had employees accessing company data through mobile devices. As a result, several ERP solutions are adapting to offer modules that integrate. Enabling work on the move, these applications support powerful functionalities beyond the trade counter, or warehouse. Additionally, key stakeholders can see up-to-date analytics and forecasting, while employees can access real-time updates on the movement of stock.

  1. Streamlined processes through digitisation

As businesses continue to evolve, integration between the main ERP system and various processes will naturally occur. At the centre of this integration are ERP systems that allow wholesalers to manage the various areas of their business from one application. So, from stock levels through to accounting records and CRM, wholesalers can instantly share data across their operation and make more data-driven decisions.

  1. Plug-‘n-play ERP integration

KCS predicts that better integration using standard APIs will be a new trend for wholesalers. Users could use a core ERP solution for their primary business processes with a third-party solution for more specific requirements. An example would be a wholesaler using K8 for their distribution process with a third-party CRM and an independent sourcing solution. Customers will increasingly expect ERP service providers to allow seamless integration between these different solutions and their system.

  1. ERP systems will continue to evolve

As the global market evolves, ERP solutions are increasingly being relied upon by the wholesale trade to reduce the costs involved in supply chains. The economic turbulence affecting all industries throughout the UK and Europe means ERP solutions will become more integrated with new technologies and increasingly tailored to the needs of the electrical wholesale industry.

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