5 Ways Multifamily Benefits from Big Box Retail ERP Compliance

How the right enterprise resource planning could help with property management at multifamily communities.

Matthews_Scott_800x600By Scott Matthews, Director, Strategic Accounts, The Home Depot

The right enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a valuable tool in successful property management. It’s a type of software that helps track activities and streamlines a wide range of operations – from managing applications and background checks to organizing maintenance orders.

While ERP systems are all but essential, they still come with challenges. When something breaks or goes wrong with a property or unit, for example, maintenance professionals might be forced to make non-compliant purchases at retailers not registered in their system, which leads to a much higher cost-per-invoice. Today however, big-box retailers like The Home Depot are registered in many systems –providing new opportunities and advantages as a compliant vendor. From access to local stores to a personalized catalog, big box compliance with ERP systems is help to enhance and simplify procurement practices.

Here are five benefits to multifamily property managers of big-box retailers becoming ERP compliant:

  1. Access to local stores—Make quick, compliant purchases at any of the thousands of locations that big-box retailers have. In addition to making sure last-minute, unplanned purchases are still compliant, the easy access also can alleviate on-site storage constraints. Essentially, retailers serve as a short-term warehouse to eliminate the need for large orders that consume valuable storage space. Big box compliance helps procurement professionals get the products they need, when they need them.
  1. Quick fulfillment options—When ordering through retailers in ERP systems, there is increased flexibility on how to acquire products. While some wholesale suppliers might have limited delivery options and timeframes, large retailers offer a variety of options. Employees with purchasing cards can buy products online through the system and conveniently pick up the order at the store when it’s ready. They can also go directly to the retailer and make compliant purchases or schedule a next-day delivery to the property or jobsite.
  1. Real-time updates on price and inventory—One concern about using big box retailers with ERP systems is accurate pricing and inventory numbers, as these are critical to procurement. The Home Depot’s punch-out catalog is updated in real-time, providing procurement professionals with up-to-the-minute pricing and inventory for every product listed. Without a big box retailer, the alternative is a hosted catalog, which is manually updated and resubmitted every time something changes, and not always accurate.
  1. Customized catalogs—Big box retailers most likely have hundreds of thousands of products available, but a contract may be limited to certain categories, such as light bulbs, door hardware, etc. To streamline the process, a catalog can be customized so that only relevant categories are visible within the system – limiting non-compliant purchases.
  1. Customizable purchasing hierarchy—Even within compliant product categories, procurement professionals often want to to approve purchases that exceed a certain dollar amount. Certain systems and suppliers provide the ability to customize that purchasing hierarchy and approval threshold. Set the maximum dollar amount for purchases that don’t require approval and be alerted of everything else.

ERP compliance for big box retailers is already impacting the multifamily industry – introducing certain benefits and opportunities previously unavailable.

Scott Matthews is responsible for managing national accounts and e-commerce while overseeing business-to-business relationships. He has been at The Home Depot for 25 years. 

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