Before we delve into whether you need route accounting software, let’s take a look at what direct store delivery (DSD) actually is.
DSD aptly referred to sometimes as ‘van sales’ or ‘route accounting’ in the CPG market, is the term used to describe a method of delivering products from a supplier/distributor directly to a retail store thus bypassing the retailer's distribution center.
Products are usually, fast-turning, high velocity, and high consumer demand merchandise. DSD lets brands and wholesalers maintain consistent control over the state and quality of their products and is very popular with fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies. Why? It minimizes inventory loss and speeds up the delivery process.
For route accounting to be successful it relies on a steady stream of accurate and up-to-date information to track the flow of products, ability to manage logistics (from warehouse to van, to customers and the other way around when dealing with returns/replacements) and to enable business-to-business (B2B) sales processes.
When should you use DSD?
- As earlier mentioned, FMCG companies prefer to employ the use of DSD because they are dealing with products with short shelf life or critical freshness requirements.
- Food and beverage items fit into this category as they are high volume and can go bad quickly. They are shipped directly to stores to reduce the amount of time they spend in the supply chain. And because they sell out quickly, stock needs replenishing often.
- If you are dealing with items that are large, fragile, but lightweight they may also be a good fit for the van sales model to prevent damage in transit (you minimize the number of hands handling the products).
- If you sell a large variety of low-value products then van sales may also suit you. A route accounting app will be a must if your retailers prefer you to manage their in-store inventory, delivering, merchandising, and promoting these items.
What are the benefits of the software in the food and beverage business?
Whether direct store delivery is the right fit for your business or not, it not just about the products. It’s also equally worth considering how it will affect consumers at large.
The good thing is, DSD offers significant benefits to retailers, one of the most important being the ability to reduce their labor costs. It also inspires loyalty to their suppliers (you).
So the first benefit is customer loyalty. This means customers trust you to eliminate intermediary costs and take control of margins thus increasing your profits at higher volumes.
What’s more, with route accounting software you have total visibility into inventory with control over retail execution in stores. By adding a retail execution app to your route accounting app, your field representatives are able to help you avoid stock shortages, even keep the shelves filled with best-sellers (and stock that needs to move quickly).
Route accounting software can help you get closer to your customers’ demands, understand their unique needs, and boost responsiveness when changes are required. All of this will create better working relationships with your customers, and enhance the buying experience for them as well.
There is also the benefit of your orders moving faster and accurately. With the details readily provided it becomes handy and easier for you with the use of the software. Therefore, improving efficiency and speed in coordinating with the rules set in the industry.
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of a route accounting application is reduced paperwork. There’s no doubt technology eliminates the need for using paper order sheets in the food and beverage industry. With a DSD route accounting solution, you can conveniently check sales information of your customers while on the go.
To put it another way, you can view everything on a mobile screen while eliminating the need of using manual or paper data collection which often is marred with errors.
In short, a route accounting tool is ideal to boosting productivity, increase sales, enhance customer experience sometimes even provide a more efficient sales force that exclusively relies on technology to enhance effectiveness in the workplace.
Real-time information from your route accounting application empowers your workforce to increase sales, and even up-sell, cross-sell and close more business deals while on the field. There's no better way to save time and reduce costs while providing a better customer experience.