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How technology optimization helps mitigate retail execution challenges

Perishable-food distributors’ productivity and inventory visibility improve with the use of a mobile solution. Derek Curtis elaborates.

Keeping perishable food and beverages in stock and fresh enough for consumers to buy is an ongoing challenge for grocers and manufacturers/distributors of those goods alike. In 2020, the complexity of having the right amount of perishable goods on hand was exacerbated, further complicating matters.

Since the pandemic, everyone – from retailers to manufacturers/distributors to consumers – want to limit human interaction when shopping. In the name of safety, they want fewer people in the aisles.

Technology can help. A robust retail execution/direct store delivery (DSD) solution helps perishable-food manufacturers and distributors better manage the flow of their goods – all the way through the supply chain to grocery stores or restaurants. Not only can your workers do many of their duties remotely, but once they are in the store, retail execution technology, along with scan-based trading and DEX, can help them get in and out more quickly.

Let’s take a closer look at how modern-day technology solutions drive better outcomes for your business.

Simplifying field work

A device-agnostic retail execution application should be intuitive and send automated smart prompts, enabling salespeople in the field to drive better decision-making related to tracking ever-increasing stock portfolios, discounts, expiration dates and more.

Such software frees field employees to perform other valuable customer-facing duties that include, for example, talking to the store manager or suggesting a display to increase the sale of certain goods. Its intuitive flow also enables your staff to do things like manipulate pricing up or down while in the field, without requiring management intervention, or loss of accountability. In fact, retail execution technology should give field employees the ability to work connected in real time or offline if they’re in an area where they lose productivity – such as a freezer.

The technology, which improves scan-based trading and DEX, should increase the stickiness between distributors and grocers. How? Enhancing trade & transactions with tighter technology relationships encourages better terms and shelf space utilization by providing distributors with information you can pass on to their customers, such as, “You should buy these products now because they’re on promotion, providing a better deal than the rest.” Retail execution software can also send grocers automatic alerts like, “Your delivery is five minutes away.”

It should also provide you and your employees with:

  • Robust route scheduling and management.
  • Enhanced customer experience.
  • The ability to easily manage changing product lines.
  • Automated support for stock and lot tracking.
  • Easy management of recalls and compliance issues.
  • Direct access to incentive programs, up-sell opportunities and product availability in the warehouse – accessible from any mobile device.
  • A predictive ordering algorithm leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to avoid unneeded onsite time.

Gaining greater control of mobile staff

At the same time, DSD enables you to track and monitor your mobile workforce so you can optimize their productivity. For instance, a solution that records the GPS location of where transactions occur enable you to flag issues and geo-fence exceptions so you can take the appropriate action, depending on the situation. Think about field employees making six stops to the same retailer, such as Walmart, but at different locations. GPS validation, through the retail execution solution, helps ensure they deliver the right goods to the right store.

The technology also gives you greater transparency across your business, which is particularly helpful if you experience shrinkage, suspect theft or undergo excessive product damage. Plus, real-time web reporting allows you to perform trend analysis so you can be responsive to marketplace demands. This includes distributing the right amount of product to your retailers, some of which your field employees may service more than once a day.

Improving operational efficiency – and so much more

In sum, the benefits of investing in a robust, mobile, adaptable retail execution/DSD solution go beyond operational efficiency.

This technology helps you better manage your employees by (1) automatically keeping track of changing inventory, promotions and expiration dates so field employees can make more valuable decisions; (2) enabling scan-based trading and DEX, which empower field staff to do their jobs more efficiently by minimizing the time needed in aisles; and (3) providing inventory visibility and accountability of that inventory throughout the day.

It also proactively drives behaviors, such as capturing more information in the field that might include surveying customers to see if they’re satisfied with your service.

Ready to learn more about how retail execution/DSD software can improve your operational efficiency and help you adapt to changing market needs? Visit here.

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