At the recent TUG Connects 2019 conference in Orlando, distribution industry attendees were tasked with an important mission: become an agent of change. For the hundreds of people who attended the event, it was a mission they were happy to accept. Playing off a secret agent theme, TUG’s 15th annual meeting put distribution marketplace challenges in its cross hairs and helped arm attendees with the right tools and resources they need to remain a contender.
The four-day conference provided important intelligence and covert plans to help TUG members navigate through the market disruption brought on by new competitors, dynamic technology, and changing buyer expectations. TUG provided more than 200 educational breakout sessions, multi-topic roundtable discussions, and a large distribution marketplace filled with product solutions and service providers to help accomplish their mission. More importantly, numerous networking opportunities gave attendees a chance to share their challenges and successes with others, and learn strategies to stay relevant and successful.
Unilog’s Senior Vice President of Strategy, Joe Bennett, was a speaker at the event and said how impressed he was with the different TUG Network special interest group sessions – or SIGs – that were sprinkled throughout this year’s conference. “The professionals I encountered at the different SIG meetings were great,” said Bennett. “They are the grassroots of the TUG organization because they have so much area-specific knowledge and experience to share with others.”
Another highlight Bennett noted was the amount of networking TUG Connects provides. “People get the chance to talk with other distributors who may be struggling with the same challenges, and everyone is there to come up with solutions to those challenges together,” he remarked.
As a speaker at the eCommerce SIG session, Bennett discussed the importance of creating harmony between an organization’s ERP and eCommerce systems, which starts with identifying the source system of record for every type of data – from product data to customer data. For example, he says the source system of record for product data should be your PIM and not your ERP system because your PIM is better suited to handle the detailed attribution, taxonomy, and digital assets needed for all subscribing systems (eCommerce, print catalog, ERP, etc.). Conversely, customer data is best managed in your CRM system. “Once you determine where the source system of record for each type of data (customer, vendor, product, etc.), you will create a better overall ecosystem,” he explained.
For those attendees looking to expand their eCommerce offerings, Bennett gave an overview of the out-of-box features and functionality that Unilog’s CIMM2 software gives B2B companies. Built specifically for the small-to-medium business distributor, CIMM2 is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that provides everything needed to have a successful eCommerce presence, including an in-built PIM, advanced shopping cart, intuitive search, and CMS capabilities. “We’re not the platform for a Grainger or Sonepar; we consider ourselves the Goldilocks solution for the smaller medium-sized distributor because the functionality and features CIMM2 provides really are overwhelmingly high for the dollar amount they spend with us,” explained Bennett. “Whenever we showcase our platform and all its benefits, more and more distributors see the value they can get for a small investment.”
The TUG Connects annual conference was another resounding success and brought together hundreds of distributors looking to evolve their e-business. Challenging them to think and act differently so they can become an agent of change is the formula for success in the B2B marketplace. If your organization uses Infor SX.e, Infor FACTS, or Infor A+ as its ERP solution, and wants to stay on top of trends while networking with those in the know, consider joining TUG and attending a future TUG Connects event.