Last fall we introduced you to BizSlate, an ERP for small to mid-size distributors and retailers that is bringing a useable, affordable ERP solution with exceptional supply chain support to the masses. (Basically, it’s doing what Compiere and Made2Manage did for small to mid-size manufacturers.)
As per our our introductory post, the founders, who were with Ezcom software, noticed the (utter) lack of appropriate ERP support for the small and mid-sized retail and distribution space and decided they needed to do something about it. The solution? A new SaaS based ERP system (re) built from the ground up to address the everyday accounting, inventory, catalog management, and order management/e-Procurement requirements of small and mid-sized distributors through a simple web-interface that is as easy to use as most of the new SaaS e-Procurement enterprise systems on the market.
Developed in conjunction with two dozen beta users, as per this VentureBeat article, Version 1 is now launched and is quite slick. As per our last post, the batch create function is incredibly powerful and easy to use. Not only can an administrator batch-create new products by entering all of the base product information, but he or she can select categories, suppliers, locations, terms, etc. from easy-to-use auto-complete pull-downs or from generic saved templates for product type. Extensive profiles can be created in a matter of minutes and hundreds of line items in a matter of seconds.
Order generation is as quick and painless as possible. A user can easily add items to an order through a simple-to-use but powerful search function that allows a user to search by name, code, style, or other attribute values and, as mentioned in the VentureBeat article, order generation can be done on the showroom floor on a mobile (Android or iOS) tablet. As per the batch generation, customer information, (preferred) supplier(s), terms, and other data can be quickly retrieved from pre-populated lists.
And the system even supports a sales order multi-edit capability which allows a user to update information across multiple sales orders (such as ship dates, payment terms, shipment location, etc.) simultaneously and to rationalize orders as need be. For example, if necessary, orders can be combined, split, and individual line items swapped. This is a powerful capability as it negates the need for orders to be cancelled and recreated or items to be deleted from one order and then added to another order, two very error prone processes.
And the rest of the system, which is configured around inventory, logistics, customer, supplier, and accounting management, is quite easy to use as well — and, in some instances, quit powerful. Consider inventory management — searches can include both open stock, pre-packs, and in-transit inventory and be performed with respect to any date. Thus, if a customer doesn’t want an order to be shipped for a week, you can see how many units you will have in a week after all orders scheduled to be received and shipped out over the next week are accounted for. The ability to search open stock and pre-packs together or separately is quite powerful. For example, let’s say a customer wants an order tomorrow, but you don’t have the open stock and if you don’t ship tomorrow, you lose the order. You can search pre-packs, determine that there is enough inventory in pre-packs, send someone into the warehouse to rip the pre-packs open, assemble the inventory and ship — and then replace the pre-packs with an order arriving in two days to be shipped out in the order the pre-packs were intended for that doesn’t have to ship for three days — and get a sale you would likely have missed otherwise.
With regards to inventory, customer, and supplier management — the ability to track the different SKUs used by each customer and supplier for each product and cross-correlate them across the supply chain is quite valuable. This allows you to search inventory and available suppliers off of a customer’s SKU and get complete, accurate information every time.
The document generation functionality was very well thought out — for each customer you can define what should be on the packing slip and invoice in addition to default shipment profiles to facilitate quick order entries. This simplifies the customer’s order verification and invoice processing and can speed up your payments. Similarly, you can specify what information should go on the good’s receipt to the supplier, what information should be associated with the payment, and what information should be matched before payment is issued. This simplifies transaction management for Accounts Payable and minimizes the chances of over-payment or payment for merchandise not received. And the system can even generate customized receiving forms for the warehouse personnel that makes it easy for them to check off items, and easy for whomever is doing data entry to check it off if they don’t have mobile system access.
It’s one slick SaaS solution and if you are a mid-sized retailer or distributor, BizSlate should be on your must-review list.