Reimagined Workforce Drives Efficiency For Distributors

Karen Lynch

Our daily lives are inundated with technology. Our mobile devices are always in reach, and we use apps for everything. We are all more tech-savvy than ever before. That makes us more demanding as both customers and employees.

Distributors face the challenge of satisfying the increasing demands of their customers. But they also see technology as a way to reimagine the role and structure of their workforce. Can certain departments be eliminated? Can those employees be re-deployed to more customer-focused and revenue-generating roles? Can accounts receivable departments be transformed into customer-centric organizations with personal-banking-like services?

Companies face another challenge: attracting and retaining their workforce. Typically, a distributor’s workforce includes many long-term employees. As these employees reach retirement age, companies must attract a younger workforce that has not considered this industry as a career.

Employer-of-choice status goes beyond recruitment and retention. Leading distributors are using technology to revolutionize the way people engage with peers, customers, business partners, and the organization itself. This business transformation automates manual tasks, enriches jobs, and drives efficiency. Improved processes using real-time information allow employees to make the right decisions. And that drives immediate impact. Digital solutions improve productivity and enable the use of contingent labor where and when needed.

Here are some ways today’s distribution companies are reimagining their workforce.

Eliminate work

Distributors are digitizing manual steps for processes like invoice and payment processing. Work is eliminated altogether, enabling employees to focus on true value creation and customer service. Employees can be reallocated to tasks and responsibilities that are more customer-facing. This can drive additional revenue and bottom-line results.

Improve productivity

What if employees could access the right information at the right time on any device? Distributors who enable employees with real-time data improve both productivity and profitability. Employees make better decisions and complete tasks with more speed and ease.

Employ a flexible, lower-cost workforce

A temporary workforce can be used to fill gaps or spikes in business demands. This temporary workforce can be both flexible and cost-effective. A contingent workforce can also be used to provide additional services to customers when you don’t have the skills in-house. For example, a temporary service technician could be used to teach customers on how to maintain new equipment purchased from the distributor.

Use predictive and self-learning software

When companies use predictive software, they can optimize business decisions. Employees are more productive and collaboration is enhanced. Software for self-learning is also a powerful tool. It gives employees the power to learn on demand, enhance their skills, and become more engaged.

Use interactive technology

The lines between work and personal experience have blurred. Employees can use tools and technology at work that are similar to those they use at home. Interactive technology like voice recognition, visualization, and gaming can improve user experiences.

Workforce of the future

People continue to be key assets in the wholesale distribution digital economy. But the expectations and roles of the workforce are changing. Forward-facing distributors continue to reimagine their workforce. This vision brings value to their employees and to their bottom line.

To find out more about digital transformation for wholesale distribution, click here.


Karen Lynch

About Karen Lynch

Karen Lynch is the Vice President, Global Wholesale Distribution Industry Business Unit at SAP. She sets the vision and direction and execute the go to market plan to address the needs of Wholesale Distributors across the globe by using SAP solutions.