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Dramatically Improve DSD Operations with Rugged Tablet PCs: Part I

Mobile technologies continue to evolve and improve. But direct store delivery (DSD) operators and their retail customers have already proven that combining the portability of a rugged tablet PC with software-driven DSD processes can tremendously improve results for everyone.

rugged tablet pc direct store delivery beverage distributionThe Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) says DSD receiving time can be reduced by as much as 60% when you switch to automated check-in processes. Automating route accounting allows drivers to concentrate on merchandising and interacting with customers, rather than fiddling around with paperwork.

Old-fashioned paperwork methods are time-consuming and invite mistakes.

Both are profitability-killers. In fact, the GMA notes that when it comes to discrepancies, large-format retailers average 15.4% and their small-format counterparts average 10.5%. And DSD out-of-stock rates run 7.4%, nearly doubling to 13.1% for special promotions. That means a typical supermarket could add $75,000 in yearly revenue by reducing out-of-stock by just 2.9%.

Accounting and customer service personnel spend thousands of hours each year just tracking down and resolving disputes. Merchandise availability problems annoy consumers, resulting in embarrassed and annoyed retail customers. And for good reason – annual losses due to out-of-stock reach $6 billion.  

So how do your operation’s stats compare with these? Implementing DSD automation in conjunction with a rugged tablet PC can dramatically improve your situation.

A rugged tablet PC increases productivity.

DSD is the kind of working environment in which a rugged tablet PC really shines, providing the versatility, scalability and reliability required for peak DSD performance. Rugged tablets are compact and ergonomic for comfort, super-tough to withstand on-the-road and in-store working conditions, and use extra-long-life batteries that keep working all shift long.  

Each device provides wireless connectivity and computing power for real-time capture and upload of delivery details directly to accounting and other pertinent departments -- all with the highest levels of data encryption and security. And it interfaces seamlessly with wearable or handheld thermal printers eliminating the need to trek back to the truck to print invoices, receipts, etc.  

The GMA says the industry’s most efficient DSD professionals spend half their time on merchandising, nearly double the time spent by less efficient counterparts. Your sales reps can do that, too.

Automated processes eliminate time-wasters like preparing orders and invoices, manually entering data in the field and again back at the office. Instead, sales reps can spend more time building stronger customer relationships. And they can make more deliveries per work day, helping expand your customer base and boost inventory turnover and cash flow.

A rugged tablet PC increases accuracy.

rugged tablet pc beverage distribution operations mobilitySales reps can quickly verify pre-loaded customer information onsite. They can create order confirmations, invoices, etc. on demand rather than ahead of time, allowing them to capture any last-minute changes. And they can review orders and delivery details with customers right on the spot, immediately correcting mistakes and heading off time-consuming and frustrating billing disputes.

Back in the office, automated processes improve route accounting. No more problems created by lousy handwriting, sketchy three-part carbon copies or inability to decipher tiny notations crammed into the margins.

The bottom line is improved profitability.

Adopting automated DSD processes can lower labor and operations costs. It can eliminate ongoing out-of-pocket expenses for paper and printing of forms. And it can increase customer satisfaction. What do they think of you right now? If you could raise that perception up a notch or two, would that result in more shelf space?

In our next article, we’ll take a look at how the rugged tablet PC and automated DSD processes are creating value that permeates your entire enterprise.

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