Every morning, or at any hour during the day time for that matter, delivery vans/trucks carrying food & beverage items such as milk, bread, cola products, chips, and other packaged, baked or fresh foods can be seen around the retail/departmental stores. As a part of their routine, these vans daily visit the stores with the fresh supply, and pick up returns if any. We, the end consumers, benefit from this process, as we get fresh products every day at the store near us. And while from the outside this process of Direct Store Delivery (DSD) looks easy, this perception deviates too far from the reality.
First things first, let’s make it simple by defining DSD for you. It is nothing but the process of delivering a product from a supplier or distributor directly to a store, bypassing the retailer’s distribution center. In the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) businesses, DSD gains a greater significance since the products usually have a short shelf life and can expire quickly, leading to potential revenue losses. DSD not only ensures that such products reach to their destinations quickly, but it also provides impeccable control over the shelf space. The short shelf life of the products though is just one of the many challenges the vendors as well as retailers have to face on an everyday basis.
It can actually be quite frustrating for the companies and retailers to go through the everyday process of DSD, precisely due to the plethora of challenges they experience on a routine basis. Some of these include the rising transportation costs, customer segmentation, price sensitivity and private labels, etc. Another challenge is to effectively coordinate on product inventory, delivery status, pricing changes and shelf labeling fronts so that the profit margins don’t get affected across the supply chain. Then there’s this challenge of empowering the van sales staff with the ability to provide delivery confirmations and invoices before they move on to their next stop.
Putting a system in place that allows delivery van’s sales staff to receive their orders and routes for each day at the distribution center, load and check the orders onto their van, and seamlessly deliver the order to the customer is also a huge challenge for the companies, so is to deal with the increased pressure being applied by the retailers to lower prices. Another major challenge is to deal with the competition, as the FMCG businesses need to think strategically about how they increase, and sustain, their revenue, margins and market share. There’s also this challenge of ensuring the visibility and availability of products on the store’s shelf all the time.
What these challenges essentially do is that they force FMCG businesses to miss out on untapped revenue opportunities, and to operate with inflexible supply chains. Thus, to remain competitive, they need a modern tool that brings transparency, responsiveness, ease, real-time visibility and flexibility into the system, and helps deal with these challenges so that the DSD processes become truly efficient.
Enter DSD software
A DSD software provides FMCG manufacturers with tremendous control over the shipping and delivery of products directly to their retail customers. With it, businesses can empower their drivers and delivery team to execute store merchandising and sales activities- from order management, route management, and check-out to physical distribution, tour monitoring and check-in.
Right from early morning vehicle checks, to end-of-the-day stock monitoring, the manufacturers are in complete control of their deliveries with a DSD software, which offers great mobility to the manufacturers, as it can be deployed on smartphones, mobile devices and handheld devices. This offers the benefit to access key information about customers, orders, and deliveries in real time – from anywhere.
Who all can use it?
All the FMCG companies such as food & beverage (processed food, packaged food, beverages, prepared meals, fresh food, frozen food, bakery products, dairy products, candy & confectionary etc.), personal care (cosmetics, skin care, hair care products, etc.), pharmaceuticals (over-the-counter pharma products), and ones that are into business of toiletries, office supplies, cleaning products etc. can use a DSD software to streamline their direct store delivery & distribution process.
Key benefits of DSD software
DSD software are becoming increasingly popular, with more and more consumer goods companies adopting a direct store delivery program. And why not, after all it offers the consumer goods businesses tremendous benefits. With a DSD software, businesses can have the ability to stock their shelves with the products that are in demand — in a very quick time. The businesses can bypass the distribution centers, and thus save valuable time, since the goods can be directly moved to the stores, and from there can reach to the end customer’s hands in the fastest possible time.
The same goes for the products that have limited shelf life. The high-volume items such as dairy spoil quickly. But shipping them using a DSD software, FMCG companies can ensure the products spend less time in the supply chain, and more on the shelves. Moreover, with these types of products getting sold out quickly, DSD software also ensures they are frequently replenished. Additionally, the DSD software also allows manufacturers to maintain greater control of handling, and reducing breakage of goods in transit that are fragile.
Another important benefit of deploying a DSD software is improved customer loyalty. Different studies have proved that more than 70 percent of customers leave the store and shop elsewhere when they don’t find what they want on the shelf. But a DSD software provides businesses with terrific control over inventory as well as retail shelf space, which means the shelves are adequately stocked with in-demand products, and the customers invariably have a positive in-store shopper experience.
One of the most important benefits of a DSD software to retailers is reduced labor costs. Other benefits include increased sales numbers, enhanced collaboration between sales and delivery activities, maximized revenue by bringing down out-of-stock situations, automation of paper-based manual operations, assured delivery of the right products to the right places at the right time, improved deliveries through real-time tracking, maintained and compliant delivery vehicles, etc.
An improved DSD process results in better functioning of store operations, and drives growth both for the manufacturers as well as the retailers. In the current age of demand-driven retailing, it is imperative for the businesses to leverage DSD and create value for all- themselves, the retailer, and the consumer. BatchMaster DSD, seamlessly integrated to BatchMaster ERP, is one such software solution using which the manufacturers can have stronger control over shipping and delivery of products directly to a retail store. Through an array of modern features, it facilitates sales growth and provides inventory controls, and helps reduce out-of-stocks, increase speed to market with new products, and create a set of happy & loyal customers for the business. Get in touch now to know more about it.