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Field Sales and Delivery Retail Route Accounting

How to Develop a Direct Store Delivery Model for Your Business

Competition in the retail world has intensified, and companies looking for a competitive advantage have to find ways to reduce costs, shorten delivery cycles, reduce inventory in the supply chain, and respond faster to demand. That’s why so many suppliers have moved away from multi-stage distribution to a direct story delivery (DSD) model.

DSD is particularly appealing for companies that require tight delivery windows for their products, and for smaller retail outlets (gas stations, convenience stores, drug stores, etc.) that need frequent replenishment. It has also become the favored distribution method in markets where freshness is important or product is produced locally — like beer, soft drinks, baked goods, and snacks.

Direct store delivery can help manufacturers be leaner and more responsive to market demand. Using DSD, suppliers can typically deliver goods within 24 to 48 hours of taking an order – much faster than if a centralized retail distribution center or a third-party distributor is involved.

This type of delivery model helps retailers that want to reduce inventory and operating costs, while offloading the merchandising activities to the delivery company rather than the retailer. For the distributor, that means they have more control over merchandising and presentation on the shelf, which can help drive sales. Retailers, meanwhile, don’t have to dedicate staff to stocking and merchandising high volume goods.

But direct store delivery isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies interested in shifting to DSD operations have to develop a model that will work for their business. Doing so involves several key steps:

  • Create a Demand Profile: Examine sales data to determine what type of retailers you are dealing with, and how much order volume they generate.
  • Determine Your Sales Approach: How much sales activity will occur during the delivery stop vs. online? Pre-sales help the distributor manage inventory and manage demand, but can tie up the driver when these sales activities are handled face to face. Evaluate your delivery staff and sales staff to determine the best way to manage the sales process.
  • Plan the Route: Use route planning tools to best serve the demand of those customers. Routes have to be built around a variety of factors (distance, speed limits, hours of service considerations, limits on truck size or hazardous material transport, etc.). Make sure the routes are optimized to take as much cost out of the distribution process as possible.
  • Track Your Trucks and Inventory: Direct store delivery can help reduce shrink and loss. Use GPS to monitor truck locations (and recover missing vehicles), as well as onboard inventory tracking to monitor shrink or merchandise theft.
  • Invest in Proof of Delivery: Don’t rely on paper. A combination of DSD software, barcode scanning and mobile computing can automatically track inventory, generate receipts and invoices, allow digital signature capture, and provide real-time visibility into deliveries. This can also improve the efficiency of the drivers, reduce the cash cycle, and eliminate delivery disputes with retailers.
  • Prepare to Analyze Delivery Data: Using real-time inventory and order information, manufacturers can get a better view of real demand across a category, a retailer, or a route. By tracking shrink/stales, suppliers can make better inventory recommendations to customers, and improve the profitability of each customer.

Direct store delivery is a growing part of the retail landscape. For specific types of companies, DSD can reduce costs and improve service and sales for retailers. Planning ahead and developing an effective DSD model that fits your business will help ensure you get the most benefit from your DSD system.

Categories
Field Sales and Delivery Mobility Route Accounting Transportation and Logistics

4 Ways Mobile Solutions are Improving the Cost-Effectiveness of DSD

The popularity of mobile solutions has grown immensely over the past decade, mainly due to their convenience, but also because they benefit companies of all types and sizes in a variety of ways. This is especially true for companies dealing with route accounting and direct store delivery (DSD) solutions. When workers travel from place to place, mobile technology is required to get the job done. Mobile solutions provide huge improvements in accuracy and efficiency for DSD, which, in turn, leads to larger profits for businesses.

There are four main ways mobile solutions help improve the cost-effectiveness of DSD:

Real-time information access throughout the enterprise

Having real-time visibility throughout an enterprise can be a daunting feat. For businesses with direct store delivery solutions, the challenge is to receive detailed and error-free information from workers in the field.  Mobile devices can greatly reduce invoice errors, and they also allow invoices to be sent and received faster than ever. Every invoice error creates problems, not only because time is wasted while trying to correct the information, but because a company’s reputation can be damaged and customers can be lost.

Having mobile devices that can print invoices at the time of delivery can greatly reduce disputes or errors because they can be reviewed with the customer.  In addition to reducing conflicts, sending invoices with a mobile computer means the billing cycle can begin immediately. More accurate and efficient invoices will keep customers satisfied and can potentially lead to more business.

Inventory management

Real-time information access can also be vital to inventory management. Mobile solutions offer organized forms that allow workers to update the status of deliveries faster than ever. Safeguards can even be put in place to validate the data entry from workers; ambiguous entries can be flagged for evaluation.  The use of mobile devices in DSD will keep inventory levels accurate, which means shrinkage can be eliminated and items can always be kept in stock.  An accurate and up-to-date inventory is essential for businesses looking to improve the cost-effectiveness of their operations.

Route scheduling

Direct store delivery operations rely greatly on the efficiency of their drivers. In order to truly improve the cost-effectiveness of DSD, businesses need to ensure that their drivers are being productive and that they are following the most efficient routes. Mobile devices often feature GPS technology that gives managers visibility into their drivers’ locations, productivity, and route capacity. This real-time information can help business owners make better decisions in regards to routes, and it can even give them the power to change routes in the middle of a schedule.

More efficient operations

Mobile solutions can go wherever employees go, so there is no running back and forth and no time wasted. Handheld mobile computers have become the preferred DSD solution thanks to the wide number of applications they can handle.  Instead of carrying multiple devices, workers can utilize a mobile device that offers computing, signature capture, barcode scanning, and voice communication.

Mobile devices come in a variety of sizes or keypad layouts and offer varying degrees of ruggedness, which means businesses offering DSD can find the perfect fit for their solutions. Mobile computers can also be integrated with peripherals.

The pervasive nature of technology in the world today has led to extremely competitive industries.  The best performing DSD businesses have all adopted the most efficient, profitable, and accurate technologies.  Mobile solutions offer a variety of tangible benefits to direct store delivery; businesses looking to improve the cost-effectiveness of their operations should invest in mobile devices.

omniQ’s newest enterprise software solution, Route Edge, is the ideal mobile solution for improving the cost-effectiveness of DSD. Route Edge eliminates time-consuming errors in the field and workers can manage inventory, orders, returns, deliveries, and collect cash or check payments. Learn more about this configurable, scalable solution by downloading the Route Edge brochure!