Small to medium businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand industry and economy, but we all know that the business playing field is far from a level one. It’s hard work to compete and thrive when you’re up against large corporate, enterprise and global accounts.

Large corporations have a huge advantage in that they can afford to streamline or outsource their supply chain management far more easily. Yet in New Zealand, our SMBs have equally wide and complex business processes and operational needs — that need to be delivered in-house and under limited budgets.

It’s not all stacked in their favour though. There is a way for you, as an SMB, to compete with cloud-based supply chain automation.

Why use cloud-based software?

Research shows that less than 25 percent of New Zealand and Australian small businesses are currently using cloud-based solutions for their key areas of operation. However, it has numerous advantages for those who are prepared to adopt it.

  1. It has the lowest total cost of ownership proposition
  2. You can automate time-consuming processes (think supply chain management)
  3. It makes you more efficient, so you can focus on your business
  4. It makes you more cost-effective, allowing you to pass on the savings to your customers

All good stuff — but how do you make it happen?

Automate your basic processes

Managing your supply chain manually takes up a lot of time and can cost your small business a lot of money that you could better spend elsewhere.

It may be how things ‘have always been done’, but it carries unnecessary risks for your business. A large corporation won’t be affected by an inaccurately placed order or a late payment, but for you — it has a big impact. It can disrupt and delay your entire manufacturing and distribution process, and leave you short of working capital.

These risks can be eliminated simply by embracing cloud technology. Tasks such as inventory and demand planning can easily be automated by moving them to the cloud, which frees up resources and staff to concentrate on other tasks, saving you money and reducing the possibility of errors.

Improve speed and accuracy for your customers

Time is money. Cloud-based software enables you to create a fully integrated supply chain where all your processes are connected to each other. This will speed up your systems and improve accuracy.

For example, as soon as a customer makes an e-commerce purchase from your site, your cloud-based software can automatically update your stock levels and initiate the delivery process. This will improve the reputation of your business by offering a smooth and stress-free customer experience.

Make more accurate predictions for better budgeting

You can make smarter decisions. Using an integrated cloud-based solution gives you access to valuable data that will enable you to make more efficient business decisions.

By identifying customer needs and behaviours, you can allocate manufacturing and marketing budgets more accurately, as well as reducing the likelihood of overstocking some products and running out of others.

This will also help to save money by allowing you to draw up more appropriate contracts with your suppliers and distributors, and monitor the customer experience to make sure you’re offering a service that people will want to use again and again. And that’s got to be a clever move.

Expand your business internationally

We have some highly successful SMBs that have taken on international markets in style.

Equally, many have been stumped when it comes to the challenge of anticipating demand. But it doesn’t need to be like that.

Cloud-based software allows you to add inventories and fulfilment for a global customer base, and can adapt to accommodate a higher level of demand at peak times internationally. This reduces both the cost and level of risk involved with expanding into other markets, and offers you the insights you need to monitor which products are selling well or poorly abroad, and allowing you to adjust your budgets and stock accordingly.

Level out that playing field

Automating your supply chain processes using cloud-based software has numerous advantages for small businesses, allowing you to compete with the big players on both national and global levels.

Some serious advice though — think carefully before you make a move. I can’t stress how important it is to NOT try to piece your supply chain together using a variety of different software options. You will dig yourself into a corner, if not now, then definitely not too far down the track, and end up with a cobbled together solution from multiple vendors that completely misses the point of being an effective enabler to your business

Only a fully integrated system like NetSuite can offer you the cohesion and insights you need from end to end, streamlining your processes, improving the experience for your customers, and saving your business valuable time and money.

Great outcomes start with great conversations


Great outcomes start with great conversations

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