The choice to upgrade technology is never an easy
one, especially when the equipment and processes currently in place
seem to get the job done. But improvements in mobile technology
solutions have led to DSD advances that are hard to ignore.
Traditionally, DSD, the delivery process of goods to retail stores, has
been paper-centric. Drivers used paper order slips and dropped off
multipart invoices when making deliveries. At the end of drivers’
shifts, each document was individually processed in the back office.
While far from flawless, the system has always worked.
But simply being ‘good enough’ has never stood up
to the vast changes brought about by innovative technology. The
advantages of mobile computing, wireless accounting, and printing
technologies have quickly changed the paradigm of how food and beverage
delivery companies do business.
THE DIFFERENCES OF MOBILITY ARE CLEAR
To fully understand the far-reaching benefits of high-tech DSD, let’s
follow a driver using wireless, mobile devices. In the morning, the
driver enters the warehouse and, using a mobile computer, wirelessly
logs onto a corporate delivery system. The day’s route is downloaded,
and inventory and pricing information is automatically updated. This
process takes no more than 5 minutes – much less than the
time-consuming process of old.
Once the driver reaches a customer’s site, he
delivers his order and makes any updates in the mobile delivery program
based on returns or additions to the order. After the driver has talked
with the customer, an invoice or any other paperwork can be printed on
a mobile wireless printer mounted right in his truck cab via Bluetooth
wireless technology. The time saved from working with handbills and
writing out invoices can now be spent talking with the customer about
current and future promotions and gauging interest in other products.
Instead of downtime, the driver makes room for sales time.
At the end of his day, the driver returns to the
warehouse and, just as he did in the morning, wirelessly uploads all of
the route data accumulated throughout the day. The central distribution
control software can begin tabulating route and order adjustments and
automatically make updates for the following day.
MOBILITY IMPROVES DSD PRODUCTIVITY
The system is seamless. And the interconnectivity of DSD technologies
between systems offers operators three distinct advantages:
- Cost Reduction: Using wireless handheld
devices, drivers can quickly confirm or modify delivery and invoicing
information. Once changes have been made, they can turn to their mobile
printer and wirelessly transfer and print the invoice. Adjustments to
price or orders are automatically sent to back to the office,
dramatically saving time normally spent doing tabulation.
- Productivity: With wireless DSD technology,
efficiency is the name of the game. Real-time invoicing improves cash
flow. Route management is improved, allowing drivers to spend more
sales time with customers. And errors that are so common in
paper-dependent systems because of sloppy handwriting or miscalculation
are eradicated because of wireless accounting and instant invoice and
bill processing and printing.
- Quality Improvement: Handhelds and wireless
printers reduce the chance of invoice error exponentially compared with
traditional accounting methods. Product authorization is also greatly
improved because customers can look at their buying trends and make
on-the-spot buying decisions week to week, month to month, or year to
With such clear advantages over traditional DSD
methods, it is only a matter of time before retail suppliers, large and
small, transition to high-tech DSD equipment like handheld computers,
route accounting software, and wireless printers. The DSD market is
expected to grow by 15% annually over the next three years. The digital
age is upon us and all trends indicate that wireless technology will be
the choice of successful DSD companies that want to increase their
sales force and delivery efficiency.