Van sales software powers Direct Store Delivery (DSD) distribution operations, which are common in fast moving consumer goods industries, where the omni-channel consumer is calling the shots. They are savvier, more aware, more demanding and more cost-conscious - while having less time and patience to linger for more than a sound byte of pitching.
Enter the retailer and supplier. Theirs is a tricky relationship, led by self-interest and fraught with distrust of potential data-sharing with competitors. Whereas these two have not always been best buddies, lately the retailer and supplier have come to understand that collaboration is the best way to win over the hard-to-get, please-and-keep consumer.
The business benefits of Direct Store Delivery (DSD)
A perfect example of this novel retailer/supplier collaboration is the not-so-novel Direct Store Delivery (DSD) model – also known as van sales or route accounting, a hot and getting hotter trend in the grocery, beverage and food service sectors. Here, time is of the essence for items with a short shelf life, clear “sell-by” dates, and/or consistent turnover, where freshness is imperative and restocking or merchandising is frequent... think fresh morning croissants, your favorite 6-pack, milk and all its by-products.
In this model, the supplier delivers goods directly to the store without a warehouse middleman -- basically the warehouse and delivery truck is one-in-the-same. What’s more, the manufacturer bears the cost and responsibility of inventory management, delivery, merchandising, and stocking labor.
And the best part? Everyone’s a winner at Camp DSD! Direct Store Delivery can save millions of dollars throughout the entire supply chain by improving the way products are ordered, sold, delivered and merchandised. It’s a win-win-win situation for retailers, manufacturers, and customers:
- Retailers – DSD relieves retailers of the headache and overhead of product ordering, stocking, merchandising and cycle counts, freeing up time and money for customer-facing sales efforts. This offers retailers serious growth potential as operating expenses and capital investments decrease, and customer satisfaction and profit margins increase. Win!
- Manufacturers/suppliers – DSD shifts much control over to the supplier (in exchange for bearing the costs), visiting the retailer frequently enough to gain quick insight into what’s hot and what’s not, and to adjust inventory and sell at higher volumes. Tasked with ordering, in-store merchandising and shelf allocation, the vendor more directly affects the sales process, increases product compliance (expiration dates, storage methods, etc.) and gains faster speed to market. Win!
- Customers – With retailers and suppliers working in cahoots, our fussy customer enjoys fresher food, greater choice, relevant products with high availability, and timely promotions that speak to their local lifestyle. Win!
Van sales software for DSD operations
Seems too good to be true? Well here’s the hitch. All the above hinges on the capabilities of the vendor’s van sales software. In order to fully benefit from the DSD model and maximize van sales in today’s mobile-first business environment, the supplier must have a flexible and comprehensive route accounting system. Van sales software must neatly tie in field sales, distribution logistics, inventory management, invoicing, and payment collection -- accessible on any mobile device, and synced with the company’s ERP system at all times. That’s a tall order.
Integrating sales, finance, and distribution requires a complete and configurable mobile van sales system, agile enough to support multi-step sales and distribution processes and to quickly respond to changing market needs.
Food and beverage suppliers need to engineer – or re-engineer – their DSD operations to include a mobile route accounting system that:
- boosts field staff productivity,
- arms route staff with turnkey sales tools,
- optimizes distribution logistics with dynamic routing,
- increases inventory visibility,
- ensures secure transaction settlement, and
- painlessly plugs into existing back-office systems.
Technologically advanced van sales software will cut costs associated with distribution, merchandising, delivery receiving and payment procedures, and unearth new sales opportunities for route staff.
Most importantly, the right van sales system is one that is intuitive at all user levels, and provides actionable information for real-time insight, and doesn’t simply churn out distracting and valueless data.
So if you’re registered for Camp DSD, or thinking about it, make sure you’re stocked up with the right van sales software.