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Author's profile photo Paul Pretko

SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference for Wholesale Distributors

Changes in customer demands, supply chain models and intelligent technology are occurring at quickly and affecting every distributor, creating new business challenges.  SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference brought together the elements of the intelligent enterprise by showcasing end-to-end solutions that meet these business challenges and empowered the wholesale distributors leaving Orlando with industry specific, innovative and integrated solution information. Below are several of the topics heavily discussed between distributors and SAP industry and solution experts.

Customer Demands Changes in Wholesale Distribution:

Opinions change daily. Tastes change constantly. If distributors aren’t understanding sentiment as a daily pulse with key events, distributors can miss important insights, potentially overlooking a new angle that hasn’t manifested itself yet in the operational data.

Simply having human experience data is no longer a competitive advantage on its own. Differentiation requires the fusion of human experience data with operational data to identify and create new customer experiences.

The constant and fluid fusing of experience and operational data provides a holistic understanding of human experiences. Distributors can more quickly, or even preemptively, understand and adjust strategies to drive immediate revenue or margin impact. This virtuous cycle of listening, understanding and acting provides an avenue to see things differently and close the experience gap to improve performance.

Supply Chain Models Changes in Wholesale Distribution:

In the traditional linear planning world driven by traditional MRP, distributors find themselves locked into certain outcomes, like excessive inventory investment and service level challenges that are a natural by-product of that model.

SAP Integrated Business Planning for demand-driven replenishment supports a model known as Demand-Driven MRP, or DDMRP, that re-defines the way distributors think and behave in supply chain planning. Incorporating concepts like de-coupling points and inventory buffers, DDMRP supports a replenishment strategy based on actual demand instead of forecasts.

For distributors interested in a DDMRP supply chain model, SAP provides a complete end to end solution.  It is more than a software solution, it is an end to end model for a new approach to planning that requires business changes to planning processes. It is common for distributors who fully embrace this model to see significant improvements in lead time to the customer and inventory reduction with near perfect customer service.

Intelligent Technology Changes in Wholesale Distribution:

The current pace of technological advancements is having a profound impact on how distributors transform and respond to customer needs and market trends.

Intelligent technologies can bring benefits such as productivity and efficiency gains, enabling innovative new business models and new revenue streams. Embed intelligence across business processes can help anticipate customer needs and rapidly purchase and deliver to demand.

Innovations like AI, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things are taking hold in the wholesale distribution industry and defining the future. Automating processes, predicting outcomes, and reaching new levels of efficiency and agility is paramount to the industries future.


It was clear from discussions at the SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference that distributors in all sub-segments want to continue to invest in intelligent technologies to unite the company over time towards a common set of innovative information systems to drive profitable growth.

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