When it comes to delivery and sales routes, efficiency is a key driver of profitability. The more stops the driver can successfully service in a shift, the higher the revenue that route can generate.
There are a number of factors that can impede route efficiency, but mobile route accounting solutions can make it possible for drivers to more quickly complete each stop while still providing more accurate service to each customer. Route accounting solutions also provide better data and improved visibility into route performance and untapped sales opportunities, too.
Even reducing each stop by just a few minutes can, in aggregate make it possible to add one or more stops per route. Even adding just one stop per day can significantly improve revenue and cash flow, important considerations in industries like baked goods and snacks, where margins are often razor thin.
According to a study conducted by the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), the most efficient direct store delivery (DSD) suppliers spend 13.8 fewer minutes for each delivery to large-format stores, and spend nearly twice as much time on merchandising than inefficient suppliers. In fact, efficient DSD personnel spend 50 percent of their time in stores merchandising, compared to just 27 percent for inefficient operators. A key part of that efficiency is the use of route accounting solutions.
Here’s how these mobile solutions can improve route efficiency:
1. Reduce Drive Time: Many route solutions include optimization engines that can help reorganize routes so that drivers spend less time behind the wheel and more time servicing accounts and merchandising.
2. Eliminate Paperwork: According to the GMA, DSD drivers spend as much as 6% of their time preparing invoices at customer locations. Route accounting solutions that leverage mobile computing technology allow drivers to quickly complete deliveries and automatically generate accurate invoices on their mobile devices and mobile printers.
3. Automate Check-In: The Direct Exchange electronic data interchange standard allows suppliers to automatically transmit invoice information to retailers. With DEX connectivity, a route accounting solution can help eliminate tedious check-n processes, while eliminating errors and administrative costs. According to the GMA study, automated check-in can reduce DSD receiving time by 60%.
4. Accelerate Inventory Processes: Using mobile computers with barcode scanning capability allows drivers to quickly scan merchandise off of their truck inventory, as well as speed up on-shelf inventory management. Drivers no longer have to spend time writing down inventory counts, and the data is typically more accurate.
5. Automate Reconciliation:With automated invoicing, more accurate inventory data, and DEX connectivity, route accounting solutions automate the entire reconciliation process. Drivers no longer have to spend time manually matching their paperwork, and administrative staff can receive accurate route information that can quickly be verified at the end of each shift.
6. On-Site Payment Processing:Using a route accounting solution and a mobile computer, drivers can even accept retailer payments at the point of delivery. There’s no paperwork to shuffle, and drivers don’t have to call the office to verify credit card numbers. Payments can be made quickly, which not only saves time for the driver but also accelerates the cash cycle.
Route accounting solutions can shave precious minutes from each stop on the delivery driver’s route. Drivers can add more stops per shift, improve data accuracy, and boost customer satisfaction.