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6 Ways Online Ordering Has Transformed the Food Distribution Industry
Let’s take a brief journey into the past. Not so long ago, companies relied on large, over-worked sales teams, a cumbersome amount of phone calls, and error-ridden paper processes to operate their distribution businesses. And let’s talk about customer service. Clients were never sure if their orders would be accurate, when they would arrive, or if they would even arrive. The only way to check was to call in to distribution offices and hope you reached someone who knew what they were doing. Thankfully, this is not the case anymore.
The end game for any successful food distribution, wholesale, and manufacturing operation is simple: how do I increase efficiency and make more money so I can expand my business? Well, many companies seeking to reduce human-error and cut costs are turning to the latest online ordering software – especially since these new tools act more like online concierge services for customers while streamlining production for the warehouse.
Here are 6 ways online ordering is transforming the food distribution industry:
1. Ease of use – With a simple ID and password login, clients can gain access to their order information from anywhere at any time. Organized, efficient dashboards make it easy to scan through and access the information they need. The whole ordering process can be done quicker and more accurately than ever.
2. Empowering your customers – Give your users never-before realized power over their orders and accounts. From tracking orders to viewed histories and confirmations of placed orders, clients now have the ability to gain instant, organized visibility into their work with your distribution company.
3. Lowered sales overhead – Orders can be processed and sent to shipping and packing almost instantly, eliminating the sales middle-man originally needed.
4. More efficient processes – By eliminating burdensome paper processes and phone, companies can expedite order picking, packing, and shipping.
5. Time savings – With more automation, distributors save time inputting and fulfilling orders, which means customers get their orders even
6. Happier customers –By making the entire ordering process more efficient, products get to customers faster with fewer errors, which – in turn – makes clients happy. And, we all know, a happy client is a returning client.
Discover how harnessing the latest online ordering capabilities can transform the productivity of your entire business, as well as dramatically increase client satisfaction ratings. Reach out to a Cornerstone Systems expert today to learn more!
Introducing Barcoding for the Modern Age
Food distribution businesses provide a diverse array of products to an assortment of customers, and quick, accurate order fulfillments are the difference between a successful reputation and a poor reputation. A simple way to avoid errors – and the inevitable customer dissatisfaction when errors are made – is through barcoding. Barcoding technologies collect, report, track, and distribute data on products and packaging, and today’s barcoding systems can do more than ever.
With a simple hand-held, mobile device, warehouse workers can head out into a vast warehouse – filled with various items and products – and gain assistance when picking items for an order. These new barcode systems allow workers to gain a logistical point of view, which allows them to move around the warehouse more effectively.
With batch picking, warehouse workers can also see everything that needs to be picked for an entire order and where each item is located in the warehouse, so they can strategize more effective plans. This allows for orders to be picked faster than ever. New barcode systems even capture weights of products as they are being scanned, ensuring that the heaviest and lightest items are placed appropriately in shipping trucks. There are two reasons why this is ideal for distributers.
First, it eliminates the need to calculate the weights of an entire shipment after the batch has been picked and is about to be loaded into a shipping vessel. As products are scanned, the weight is automatically calculated, which allows the pallet of items to simply be taken right onto the transport vessel. This saves a great deal of time in the packing and shipping process, and optimizes work staffs so more shipments can be made per day. Secondly, with more organized packing directions result in fewer damaged products. This means happier customers and a substantial cost savings for distributers.
At SR2Software, we offer affordable technology to our clients to quicken their fulfillment processes. Our barcoding solutions are built for supporting small and medium food distributers. We can work with your business to develop flexible solutions based on your business and customer needs.
Do you know how these modern barcoding systems can transform your company’s shipping processes and make your entire warehouse more efficient? Visit our website to learn more, and reach out to the Cornerstone Systems team today!
3 Ways to Modernize your Organization for a Modern World
In our latest series of blogs, we’ve discussed the latest trends and technologies that are going to transform the food distribution industry – including everything from delivery robots to government regulations. Before we discuss any more future predictions and industry insights, let’s stop and consider some of the modern features that SMB food distribution companies need to invest in today to keep operations at pace with competitors. Here are 3 technologies that every food distributor must take advantage of in the coming years or risk falling behind:
Online ordering – Build your own web store with online ordering. This is a no-brainer. Clients are expecting to work with companies that make their lives as easy and efficient as possible. Online ordering isn’t just an addition to your business; it’s a necessity in today’s modern world and offers customers maximum flexibility.
Barcoding – Better keep track of inventory and reduce damage to items due to errors or miscalculations in manual shipping time tracking. With enhanced barcoding systems, companies can prevent missing inventory and shipping errors with built-in alerts, and workers can be better informed with accurate product information, including quantities and weights. Enhanced picking, packing, and truck loading are also major benefits of barcoding systems, and can significantly improve the productiveness of an entire warehouse.
Mobility – A Cisco study recently showed that around 95% of organizations permit employee-owned devices in the workforce, and the average number of devices per worker is expected to reach 3.3 by the end of 2014. The fact is that companies need to harness the power of mobility in their organizations to empower workers and clients, increase sales, and gain better efficiencies in and out of the warehouse. Portable devise apps, for instance, allow warehouse workers to enter orders from anywhere – even the freezer. Mobility offers improved interoperability for organizations – from imputing orders to picking, staging, invoicing, and shipping.
All of the above technologies are designed to increase the operational efficiency of food distributors and make the jobs of employees and clients that much easier. SR²Software understands the needs of SMB food wholesalers and has built a unique solution to help address these challenges. We keep it simple and leave out the unnecessary bells and whistles that drive the high prices of competitors. By leaving out the robots, drones, and costly equipment, we have developed an effective solution that’s designed to be easy to use and affordable.
To learn more about our innovative solutions and how to propel your company into the modern age of manufacturing and distribution, contact a SR²Software expert today at 866.245.6216!
How to Keep Up with FDA Lot Traceability Regulations
In March of this past year, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) released a report that stated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had recently launched 2 test pilots to improve product tracing. These pilots were aimed to help better regulate foodborne illness and quarantine outbreaks faster.
FDA testing has shown that improved product tracing has the potential to reduce up to 55 percent of total foodborne illnesses, as well as the reduction of economic impact of outbreaks by as much as $14 million dollars per incident. As a result, new food regulation programs for distributors are expected to be more stringent in coming years. Additional recordkeeping for “high-risk foods,” for example, is a likely possibility.
As it stands, the FDA mandates that almost every food product – especially meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs –has to have a marked lot number and GS1 label on the item before shipping. This number details where the item has been. It also gives the FDA batch information and a means to trace the product back to the warehouse it was distributed from. The FDA is looking for better methods, and is encouraging companies to turn to technology to implement more efficient tracking solutions.
Food distributors are struggling to keep pace with ever-changing regulations, but what many don’t realize is that recall issues stem from the use of multiple systems and software, as well as manual management processes prior to the product ever entering the distribution channel. Too many systems and procedures that lack interoperability is a recipe for disaster, especially when valuable time is wasted tracking a potentially contaminated shipment.
With recent food recalls, the FDA is getting ready to crack down on product traceability. Many food distributors are pushing to upgrade their lot traceability software to prepare for the rise in regulations and government monitoring, though the strain may be felt most by SMBs who do not share the robust budgets of enterprise-grade competitors.
There is an answer for SMBs, however. SR²Software specializes in providing affordable solutions for SMB food distributors that rival competing software that is almost 10 times the price. Discover how to keep up with government lot traceability regulations in a relatively affordable way and talk to one of our SR²Software experts today at 866.245.6216!