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Survey reveals challenges facing wholesalers

Brexit, staff costs and inaccurate data are impacting wholesale businesses according to a new a new survey commissioned by OGL Computer.

According to the research, insecurity around Brexit is the key factor affecting company profitability with 47% of respondents citing it as a top three reason, followed by employee costs 44% and inaccurate data 38%.

With the fate of Brexit still to be decided, a danger for wholesale businesses lies around stockpiling products and parts that are currently freely available from Europe. The National Living Wage is rising to at least £9 an hour by 2020, which will affect some warehouse employees. Inaccurate data is the only major concern that can, however, be influenced by wholesale businesses.

The survey, among 255 Managers of wholesalers and distributors in the UK, reveals that 88% are using multiple software systems, and seem unable to break away from manual processes in managing business operations despite over a quarter (27%) citing those manual processes to be ineffective in managing business operations. Nearly all (98%) of respondents still used some level of manual processes.

Leonie Pannell, survey participant and Managing Director of Cablecraft, a supplier of cable marking systems, accessories and management products says that: “The major factors affecting profitability are the state of the economy, with the weakening pound, competition lowering prices and lack of investment by the government.”

Entering a potentially uncertain economic period, wholesalers’ efforts to increase profitability are critical. Technology is at the heart of this. 85% of respondents agreed that technology is vital to the efficient running of their business, while 80% agreed that automating business processes helps their companies stay competitive.

Nick Davies, Head of Software Development at OGL Computer, adds: “Many smaller businesses just don’t have the time or money to prepare for Brexit and are waiting for October 31st , and whatever the outcome they are hoping that EU and British governments take a pragmatic approach to enable continued business with EU suppliers and customers.

“It’s great to see businesses adopting more technology instead of inefficient manual processes, but disparate systems are not always leading to efficiency. A single view of a business, with the same information available to multiple users will lead to better profitability, increased productivity and accurate data for planning purposes.”

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