The Cloud is becoming a catalyst for innovation with Distributors
The cloud has changed everything at a time when distributors are working tirelessly to transform themselves by pioneering new business models, products, services, and experiences. Operations optimization and continuous enhancement have never been more critical and the cloud is increasingly becoming a choice that is a catalyst for innovation and digital transformation for distributors.
Most distributors are only beginning to scratch the surface with the full potential of the cloud. In the past, distributors purchased an on-premise ERP, they customized it to meet their specific needs but this made it expensive to maintain and difficult to upgrade. The cloud is changing all of that. It brings scale, process efficiency, employees productivity, and development speed which opens up all new possibilities.
Here are a few examples of distributors being able to move fast and adapt their business strategy more effectively by leveraging the agile nature of the cloud.
- Brakes, a UK based B2B food distributor, moved rapidly when Covid-19 hit to implement a B2C approach leveraging SAP Commerce Cloud. In a weeks’ time they were able to shift business models and began distributing food packages from businesses to households to address the food shortages (https://news.sap.com/uk/2020/07/sap-commerce-cloud-helps-brakes-deliver-on-promise-to-feed-the-nation/ ).
- Similarly American Hotel Register, a hospitality supplier based in Libertyville, Illinois, had to act quickly when Covid-19 struck. With hotel occupancy dropping off significantly and buying habits of their customers shifting away from what they were used to seeing. Customers were now looking to find essential items like paper products and safety items like masks. American Hotel register was able to shift quickly to make changes with SAP Commerce Cloud to their website that drove sales to these items. (https://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=reg20.jsp&partnerref=FCEE-thought-leadership-site&eventid=2434255&sessionid=1&key=75158406E2CE3A5A5320EEEE9B4C8E3A®Tag=&sourcepage=register ).
- And just recently MSC Industrial Supply, a MRO distributor based in New York, is an example of a distributor evolving to a cloud first company by uniting with Google Cloud to move their SAP ERP systems to the cloud as part of their overall digital transformation ( https://cloud.google.com/press-releases/2021/0614/msc-industrial-google-cloud?utm_campaign=603ee46641b0a800019824ea&utm_content=60c8c584acd7220001aeb6df&utm_medium=smarpshare&utm_source=linkedin ).
The Cloud first shift is happening and these are some great example of the types of transformation made possible with the Cloud. It provides distributors with innovation, flexibility and speed due the simplification and elasticity it provides. It also allows your technology providers like SAP to deliver the latest and greatest industry specific capabilities to customers rapidly.
Distribution was a changing industry prior to the pandemic, that change has accelerated. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that soon only through cloud-delivered applications will distributors be able to stay competitive in the industry. As you look to modernize your strategy and systems, there is not one path to the cloud. In order to find the best path for you, like the company examples above, it starts with understanding how it can help you to better serve your customers and suppliers.