If you are an FMCG brand or manufacturer you are, no doubt, constantly facing new business challenges while having to keep pace with rapidly changing consumer needs. One of the main tests you will face is how to quickly and accurately deliver products to your business customers - retailers, hospitality / HoReCa businesses, forecourt stores and many more.
There are many pain points along the delivery route but with the right technology, in the form of DSD software, they are better equipped to increase efficiency, speed up delivery and keep their customers happy.
What is DSD?
Direct store delivery (DSD) is a method of distributing products from manufacturers directly to the point of sale, bypassing any retailer logistics. DSD is an alternative to centralized distribution and is often used in the food and beverage industry for products with limited shelf life, where minimizing the number of days in the supply chain is a key concern. Similarly, DSD is used for very large orders, where bypassing distribution centers makes economic sense.
Whilst this means that FMCG companies can keep close control over how their products are handled and maintained, DSD and van sales also add a substantial amount of extra work and have their own pain points, which can cause problems if not managed properly.
What are these pain points and how can they be cured?
Lack of integrated solutions
Delivery staff are not just responsible for product deliveries, these days they do so much more - taking stock, handling returns, replenishing, selling, information gathering and more.
If all these tasks are undertaken from separate B2B sales solutions, it will create more problems than it solves.
In addition, a lack of integration of DSD software with back-office systems such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, warehouse management systems (WMS) and others will create disjointed processes and data – hindering the delivery process by creating silos that limit visibility for users.
The solution is an integrated IT approach. One single B2B sales platform from which all tasks can be planned, performed and analyzed.
Cannot manage truck inventory
When it comes to fulfilling orders, the ability to see all your inventory, across all locations, is key.
It’s vital to see which inventory can be delivered when, based on delivery times and the customer’s location.
One of the most important challenges is monitoring inventory levels throughout the day in real-time. From start of day loading to end of day reconciliation.
Some of the stock will be committed to customers that ordered it in advance, while some will be available for the rep to sell according to customer demand. Your DSD software solution must have the ability to improve stock management with inventory records that automatically update after every order.
Limited functionality when out in the field
Field reps and delivery staff are always on the move, without the luxury of sitting at a desk to catch up on their admin tasks. They need to be able to work anytime, anywhere, so their workflow is never interrupted.
When Wifi or cellular connectivity is missing, poor or unstable, it’s not enough to use native apps and storing app data on the device.
DSD software needs complex logic to enable sales activities and transactions, whatever they may be. Local, device-side logic is a necessity to cure this pain point, allowing reps to continue to work and serve your customers even without a reliable connection.
The ability to interact continuously while on-to-go helps to significantly speed up delivery processes and improve business decisions.
So, to sum up, the combination of the right technology and the right sales processes will enable FMCG companies to effectively employ successful delivery, and happy customers.