The food service distribution industry is becoming more efficient, driven by customers who demand innovative, faster services at lower costs. Large distributors have responded by introducing new technologies and services while consolidating operations to cut expenses, as exampled by Sysco’s acquisition of US Foods.
If small and midsized distributors want to keep pace, they also need to expand their offerings and streamline for efficiency. The recent food traceability requirements pushed onto distributors by customers and regulators, however, are adding to the cost challenge. Unfortunately, this issue is here to stay, so solving it affordably is critical for the survival your distributor business.
There’s good news: you can cost-effectively optimize food traceability while simultaneously improving and expanding your customer service features. Doing so rests in the ‘proof of delivery’ functionality inherent in modern ERP systems and food distribution software; proof of delivery streamlines your delivery, tracing, and customer service operations and increases profits.
Here’s how it works.
What is Proof of Delivery?
Proof of delivery, or POD, is distribution functionality supported by ERP. It replaces costly paper-based systems with electronic signature capture (i.e., the customer-facing portion people experience when they receive personal packages.) But POD for food and beverage distributors is so much more than the front-end signature capture – it improves your fleet efficiency by monitoring deliveries and delivery personnel, yielding real-time information from anywhere, and enabling drivers in the field to view real-time list reports and details related to each delivery.
Having POD’s electronic, hand-held screen capture allows your drivers to record issues that arise during a delivery stop (e.g., location closure, lack of available customer personnel, damaged package, etc.). This real-time information updating enables you to establish faster troubleshooting protocols, which your customers will appreciate. By resolving in-field delivery issues faster, your business will process fewer returns and face fewer angry customers.
POD extends beyond in-field service optimization – it also serves as the starting point for numerous internal processes. Once delivery/fulfillment is complete, your ERP captures the POD system data, which initiates a slew of operations, including revenue recognition, invoicing, up-selling, and cross-selling.
And let’s not forget the increasingly complex requirements around food traceability. POD incorporates mobile track and trace; as a result, you can institute a process for capturing the location data relevant to each food item. This improves visibility into food origin and tracking history in the event of a recall or other adverse event.
The Benefits of ERP with POD
So much of your business revolves around one thing – successful, proven delivery. When your staff can gain real-time views into the data surrounding each delivery, you get a slew of business benefits, including:
- Greater management oversight from warehouse to customer sign-off
- Improved delivery management
- Increased operational efficiency via less paper handling and fewer manual processes
- Faster invoicing
- Fewer invoice disputes
- Systematic fraud prevention
- Improved cash flow
- Lowered compliance risk because proof of fulfillment resides in ERP
- Improved customer satisfaction by connecting billing to the “real world”
- Increased ROI from your ERP investment
Given the higher demands customers are placing on their food and beverage distributors, you need a system that gives customers what they want while still giving you the protections and efficiencies you need to thrive. Proof of delivery functionality will help you get there, and having it tied into your ERP system will make your company more profitable and compliance-ready than it is now. For more information, contact us today.