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Purchasing Distribution Software
Keeping current with the latest trends is nowhere more important than in the ultra-competitive world of Internet business. Updated distribution software is absolutely essential for ensuring the continued success of an online enterprise. Whether its used to track orders and manage inventory or maintain the delicate balance between accounts payable and receivable, the key features of distribution software are fluid. The realistic business manager plans to flow with innovations as they develop, rather than be left behind like an outdated island in the entrepreneurial stream.

At the same time, it generally isnt wise to buy new distribution software without first engaging in a thorough investigative process that includes shopping around a number of different vendors. A thorough process can ensure that the software a company purchases is a good fit for the particular business it is intended to serve and provides the most and best features for the price while still remaining viable over the long term.

The first step in that process is deciding which priorities are most important for the new software solution and developing a checklist of requirements and questions that the company will ask software vendors. Because different business divisions may have different, sometimes even conflicting needs, it is important to have more than one vision included in the requirements list. Forming a multi-departmental team to explore options and make problem-solving decisions can ultimately result in the best purchase for all possible uses and users.

Purchasing personnel must identify potential software suppliers, once they know the functionality that they require. Distribution software suppliers often advertise in trade publications and all of them have websites. A web search for distribution software is often an excellent way to come up with a first list of possible vendors. Buyers can narrow this list based on what each vendor supplies and how they supply it. Web sites are a good place to obtain some basic information about a software supplier, including their support policies, upgrade information, and their business philosophies and practices. Once the buyer has identified the best vendors, the buyer can use an email or a short telephone call to the particular companies to further narrow the search.

The short list of potential vendors should be prepared to meet with the purchaser and the buyer should give each vendor a list of the buyers needs and goals. They should be prepared to offer a contract, references, and a demonstration of how they can best meet the buyers needs. It may be helpful to call the references provided and ask whether they would purchase the same distribution software if they were doing it over again, or if they will purchase the same product the next time out. The buyer should keep in mind that the software that the company buys may have to be sufficient for a few years and concentrate on getting the best value, with the most features, for the money spent. Negotiating a price, once the company has identified a particular software supplier that meets the companys needs and goals is never wasted time.

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