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5 questions for Jenny Victor, CMO of Epicor

Q: With economic uncertainty dominating the headlines these days, what do you see as the greatest potential opportunity for LBM dealers?

A: In the current environment, the significant shift to multi-family housing is creating a great opportunity for builders who are seeing a slowdown in single-family home construction. With the rising mortgage rates, it makes sense that multi-family housing is increasing—allowing some builders to take advantage of that trend and focus their efforts on that market. It’s important to note that many building supply dealers have had record-setting years despite some of the supply chain challenges and pricing fluctuations. As the market stabilizes, having a modern ERP in place can help businesses stay lean and efficient. From order entry and monitoring efficiencies to warehouse and yard automation to complete fleet management, these technologies can help deliver efficiency and reduce overall costs.

Q: The flip side of that question: what is the biggest challenge?

A: From labor shortages to inventory management, to logistics as well as supply chain tracking, we see the biggest challenges being how manual many building supply processes are and the lack of easy access to insights for decision making. While many building suppliers have explored automation “quick fixes” to address specific issues, automation technologies that will help businesses create a long-term, durable, competitive advantage will be those that put people at the center. Whether you are on the construction site, offsite, out in the yard or in the warehouse, automation is about empowering all users with accurate insights to drive productivity and increase efficiencies.

Q: Many LBM companies may be apprehensive about making the switch to new systems. What would you say to dealers who haven’t upgraded because of those fears?

A: Change can be difficult. For many customers, it’s about finding the right long-term partner in an ERP provider. You want a vendor that can work with you to address your needs today as well as support you as your company grows and evolves. A one-size-fits-all ERP solution is not effective for today’s dynamic world. Consider a solution that is informed by building suppliers and built by building supply experts with more functionality and capability out of the box and less need for customization and add-ons.

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Q: With technology being such a rapidly evolving space, what new features and capabilities should LBM Journal readers keep their eyes open for?

A: With more work to be done and fewer resources, an effective ERP system can help economize on time and dollars, allowing business owners to support customers in this booming industry while running a leaner operation. But going beyond just your ERP system to incorporate automation and digital transactions is something to consider when looking to elevate your system. We’re seeing a significant shift in how contractors want to communicate with dealers. More often than not, they’re opting for digitizing and placing orders remotely, and communicating using the latest technology available instead of just phone calls or paperwork. As we all work through the shift together, dealers need to be sure their ERP system is fully integrated and ready to enable this communication anywhere across the job site.

Q: Today’s ERP systems go far beyond POS technology. How do you suggest LBM dealers best utilize the increased functionality of their ERP system in their overall operation?

A: Yes, ERP needs to be more than POS. When looking for an ERP system, two core pieces of functionality to look for include:

Robust Configuration Capability: Built-in configurators allow businesses to quickly and accurately generate plans and quotes for complex configurable items. It gives your salespeople the confidence to sell effectively while giving customers the level of responsiveness and transparency they expect.

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Enterprise Data Interchange (EDI): By implementing an effective data interchange solution, you can get closer to your large customers, conduct business in the way that makes them happy and introduce a platform that lets you grow quickly and cost-effectively as business dictates.

 

5 QUESTIONS GIVES LBM BUSINESSES THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE THEIR EXPERTISE BY ANSWERING RELEVANT ISSUES IN THE LBM INDUSTRY.

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