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Competitor Alignment: How A Distributor Quoting Platform Is The Missing Link In Your End-To-End Supply Chain

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During a recent interview, the question of how I would compare the QSTRAT Distributor Quoting Platform to the various solutions that are available through ERP or P2P providers came up. More specifically, do I consider them to be competitors?

It was not the first time I have heard this question about our place or niche in the market, so my immediate response was that we “co-exist with a lot of them.” For example, we have customers who currently use Epicor, NetSuite, Infor, SAP, and Sage, and as a result, we integrate with their parts master and purchasing systems. From this standpoint we co-exist.

However, if you were to talk with Epicor, they would say that they do what we do in that they generate a quote to the customer (Quoting Module) and also send RFQs to suppliers (Supplier RFQ Module). The difference and challenge with their solution are that these two modules operate independently of each other meaning that while you can create a quote for the customer, it is not linked and therefore based on a real-time, integrated supplier quote.

While I will readily admit that ERP providers like Epicor are good at the operational aspects of ERP, i.e., financials, operations, inventory, and costing, they are poor at quoting and sourcing.

Gartner’s Postmodern ERP Era

“When ERP was in its heyday, CEOs and business executives wanted reliable and integrated solutions, so they seized upon ERP as the way to provide this,” said Mr. Kyte. “Business stakeholders still want these same qualities, but now they assume that these qualities will be present in any software solution, and their requirements have switched to the twin concerns of lowering IT costs and seeking increased flexibility. A system that is not sufficiently flexible to meet changing business demands is an anchor, not a sail, holding the business back, not driving it forward.” –Gartner Says By 2016, the Impact of Cloud and Emergence of Postmodern ERP Will Relegate Highly Customised ERP Systems to “Legacy” Status (January 29th, 2014)

Of course, my assessment of an ERP’s shortcomings from an end-to-end supply chain standpoint is not exactly new or revelatory.

Back in 2014, Gartner proclaimed that with the advent of cloud-based solutions, 2016 would see ERP systems relegated to “legacy” status. Some industry pundits even suggested that in looking back purchasing professionals might be surprised how much the ERP system limited what purchasing could do.

I want to reiterate; I am not suggesting that in Gartner’s post-modern world ERP platforms are not an important part of an enterprise’s IT infrastructure. What I am saying – and I am not a lone voice here, is that using an ERP platform exclusively as an end-to-end supply chain solution is not going to deliver optimal results, which is why for our clients we integrate their parts master and purchasing process within their ERP infrastructure.

Regarding P2P providers such as Ariba or Scout RFP, and similar-type strategic sourcing solutions they are capable of providing supplier side sourcing but can’t turn that into a customer quote. I will talk about the alignment between your P2P solution and the distributor quoting platform in my next post.

In the meantime, I would invite you to check out our website to learn more about the QSTRAT Distributor Quoting Platform through the following link.

Customer Quote:

“Perfect for Distributors supporting OEM operations with MRO or fastener needs, as well as contract manufacturers or Job Shops that outsource work for production or prototyping.”

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