Distributors are facing tests and challenges related to COVID-19 unlike any in recent history. As a result, IT teams and system administrators are stepping up to ensure business continuity, systems availability and continuation of business processes. Helping their companies succeed requires IT teams to find new ways to minimize the business and systems impact of the wide-ranging disruptions caused by the outbreak.
At Tridex Systems, our experts have offered assistance to clients in many areas including application support, new extensibility needs, system architectural requirements, data demands, critical infrastructure and networking requirements.
Distributors are seeing seven main pressure points as they look at their IT systems during COVID-19.
- Business Continuity. First and foremost, concerns over business continuity are driving IT activity inside of distribution companies. Inventory levels and supply chain disruptions are increasingly volatile in almost all industries. Customers have changed their behaviors and so require new methods of service. Many employees are working remotely and many warehouses face limits on the number of employees who can work in facility at the same time. All of these challenges put new stresses on IT teams and systems as they race to keep business as close to normal as possible under the circumstances.
- Productivity and Workflow Design. Profitability within a distribution organization has always centered around productivity. Now distributors face additional challenges like more employees working remotely, changes in shipping requirements and inventory shortages. As a result, IT teams are being asked to examine new ways to help boost productivity. This might include examination of workflow and automation software to do more with smaller in-person teams or improving remote and mobile capabilities.
- Security Threats. Unfortunately, many companies find their systems under even more threat from hackers and criminals while their attention is drawn away during the outbreak. It is important for IT teams to be even more vigilant in protecting their systems and environments. With new tools come new threats, so as companies quickly implement new software and remote working capabilities, they sometimes struggle to keep their policies and safeguards up to date.
- Access to Data. Quick decision making has become even more important. Access to accurate data, tools for monitoring and business intelligence, data warehouses, data migration and visibility have become critical as distributors seek to maximize their profits under constantly changing conditions.
- Volatile Transaction Volumes. Some industries such as medical supply and jan/san may be experiencing dramatic increases in volume, while other industries have seen large demand fall offs. But one thing is true during COVID-19 regardless of the lines of business you serve: unexpected swings in supply, demand, inventory levels and customer behaviors have caused marked changes in transactional volume in every organization. Companies are turning to their IT teams to provide better access, visibility and predictive capabilities to weather the storm.
- Extensibility Requests. Businesses are increasing their demand for custom applications and tools related to their responses to COVID-19. This might include everything from workflow visibility, alerts and event management, customer communication, inventory accuracy and visibility and more. Tridex Systems has expert development staff and infrastructure ready for you to rapidly develop and deploy custom applications, new UI capabilities, migrate your mods to new versions and make your new applications available on a variety of devices.
- Database and Application Support. All of these sudden changes have also put stress on database and application support. Database expertise can be rare and expensive and thus, difficult to scale up or down inside of a distribution organization. Add to that the increased need for end user and application support around ERP functions, email, workflows data, visibility and more and you have a recipe for IT team burnout.
Now you know the top seven distribution IT pressure points during COVID-19. Is your team prepared to face the unique challenges and opportunities ahead? We would love to help you map a plan forward. Please contact us today for your free consultation and keep returning to the Tridex Systems blog as we delve into these challenges in more detail in the coming days and help you find solutions to your IT pressure points.