Market volatility caused by supply chain pressures, labor shortages, and rising costs have economic analysts uttering recession at a more rapid pace these days. While nobody has a crystal ball to predict the economy with 100% certainty, logically it makes sense for an economic cooling after an influx of stimulus capital, coupled with massive shifts in consumer preferences, employee motivation, supply chain lockdowns–virtually every aspect of an inventory-centric business has been impacted. However, that doesn’t mean forward looking, pragmatic leaders aren’t already planning and positioning their companies to reap the rewards of the next market upswing. Recently, Gartner wrote an interesting article about a triple squeeze on companies and 9 key actions to take during an impending recession.
From our perspective at Ascent Solutions, a Salesforce OEM & ISV partner, we also see some hesitancy in companies thinking about investments in new technology. However, as Gartner says, while digitization was forced on companies during the pandemic, we believe it’s here to stay.
Along the lines of digitization, we’ve written about reasons why cloud ERP is a great catalyst for adopting digital transformation. One of the primary benefits of an economic slowdown is the time it provides us, to take a hard look at internal processes, operations and channels for optimization. Here are three key areas companies should think about and be ready for, to capitalize on the next market upswing and gain tailwinds that will leave competition in the dust.
Modernize Operations Through Cloud Technology
Companies that move critical operational systems to the cloud receive substantial benefits including increased revenue, lower costs, and improved customer experience. That has been proven true in any market. Furthermore, embracing digital transformation enables companies to scale and grow more effectively than competitors that don’t embrace technology. For companies that still manage inventory, orders, returns and warehouse operations using paper based systems or spreadsheets, now is the time to take a hard look at more efficient alternatives. Why move aspects of operations to the cloud?
- Single Source of Truth. A single cloud ERP + CRM system connects the front and back office for better data integrity, fewer errors, and increased visibility into supply chain bottlenecks or customer order issues.
- Real Time Visibility. The ability to quickly locate inventory and replenish low volumes are critical for successful warehouse management (WMS) and reverse logistics. Cloud technology enables companies to better manage operations and track serialized and non-serialized products down to the truck and palette locations.
- Data Driven Operations. All teams from customer service reps (CSRs) to warehouse staff are also able to see inventory location, levels and bottlenecks in real time.
Cost Centers Become Profit Centers with Reverse Logistics
During an upmarket there is much less worry about costs and overhead expenses. Adding new customers/revenue hides process inefficiencies. This is absolutely not the case during a down market, where every lost customer or poor internal process is felt acutely across the business. We’ve written about how much companies struggle with reverse logistics and the billion-dollar opportunity available to be captured. Now is the perfect time to analyze your end-to-end inventory journey and improve the internal system for managing customer returns.
Connected Front and Back Office on a Single Platform
Clearly there is a massive financial incentive for companies that take a best-in-class operational approach. One opportunity, especially for companies still on legacy software systems or using Excel spreadsheets to manage inventory, is to adopt cloud technology for better customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning in a single system. Utilizing cloud-based CRM and ERP in unison gives business leaders the ability to track inventory in real time, across the supply chain, and provides better insights for customer support interactions.
Who provides such a solution? That’s where we come in. Ascent Solutions is a team of distribution and manufacturing technology enthusiasts that made the decision 15 years ago to build a leading ERP system natively on the Salesforce #1 CRM platform. Ascent and our implementation, consulting, and product partners help customers of all sizes reap the benefits of CRM and ERP in a single source of truth system for more effective order management, inventory control, demand planning, warehouse management and reverse logistics, which we call Operations 360 on Salesforce.