The 25th edition of the Distribution Software Guide, published annually by Brown Smith Wallace Consulting Group (BSW), St. Louis, Missouri, is available at no cost to EMDA members. The Distribution Software Guide is an one-of-a-kind compilation that serves as a primary resource for detailed distribution research in software selection projects. This Guide provides detailed vendor information and features matrixes for Enterprise Distribution and Complementary Solutions.
The Distribution Software Guide is the only software selection guide specifically developed for the unique needs of the distribution community. If you are selecting software for the first time or replacing existing software, this Guide can help you become conversant with the functionality that is commonplace for the industry and will serve as a starting point in your process. If you already have a system, start by making a list of the gaps that exist between your business and your software. Provide this list to your existing software vendors and see if they can close the gaps. Sometimes these gaps develop because of a lack of communication with or training from your vendor.
Selecting software is a complex process that should involve a team of employees that devotes their time and energy to this task over a four to six month period. You need to consider functionality and process fit, vendor strength and capabilities, technology and price. How you decide to weight these components will vary according to your needs.
BSW also publishes a Manufacturing Software Guide and has just released the 9th edition of the publication. Software utilization is one of the most challenging areas for manufacturing companies. Many manufacturers are only using a portion of the functionality available to them, sometimes heavily modifying their existing ERP because advanced functionality was not available when they last made their ERP investment.
Once manufacturers have documented the processes, measured and quantified the metrics, and fully understand what they can do today to impact their business and what they need to do in the future, they can start making decisions to address their technology gaps.
The print editions of the Distribution Software Guide and the Manufacturing Software Guide are free to EMDA members. Contact the EMDA office to receive your copy. Online versions of both guides include more extensive information about each vendor, the application and their functionality.
Brown Smith Wallace has been serving the distribution community for almost 25 years through the publication of the Distribution Software Guide, writing articles and industry research, giving complimentary advice to distributors, and providing fee-based consulting services to companies who need assistance.