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We live in an on-demand economy. Next-day delivery is no longer a luxury when it comes to online orders. At the supermarket, customers expect well-stocked shelves and the items on their grocery lists checked off by the time they leave the store. With margins in the single digits, grocers are facing new challenges in the age-old battle between profitable inventory management and consumer demand, and they are once again turning to their suppliers for solutions.
Manufacturers and distributors are responding by prioritizing the speed of their fulfillment processes, enhancing retailer satisfaction, increasing inventory turns and generating faster cash flow. In many cases, wholesalers looking to speed up order processing will look to the workflows in their warehouses and distribution centers. But, fulfillment times can often be improved simply by starting with the order itself and how information is recorded, submitted, and transferred. Implementing mobile sales order management software that puts the latest technology in the hands of order writers and integrates with core back office systems drives operational efficiencies that reduce fulfillment times while also increasing sales effectiveness.
Eliminate Order Management Inefficiencies
A mobile sales order management solution offers the ability to capture an order on a tablet or smartphone and instantly sync that order to the manufacturer or distributor’s back office systems. By digitizing order writing and automating the submission process, suppliers remove the delays and fulfillment errors that occur when dependent on paper order forms and data entry. Orders can be sent to the warehouse, picked and packed for shipment that day, and delivered the next.
Being able to streamline the order process and deliver next-day turnaround is particularly important for DSD suppliers selling items like baked goods, fresh juices, and meat. With freshness a prerequisite, DSD suppliers keep little inventory on-hand at grocery stores, so their staff is frequently in-store writing orders and replenishing stock. Any delay in the fulfillment process means missed sales and damage to store relationships. However, ultimately any supplier can benefit from these efficiency gains.
Provide Instant Reordering for Grocery Employees
Facilitating an immediate order when staff recognizes low stock levels is key for ultimate on-demand convenience. Manufacturers and distributors can provide a dedicated mobile sales order management solution to retailers, allowing them to place orders from their mobile device. The grocery store’s solution has only the products they purchase, along with their pricing, providing a personalized experience for easy reordering.
Mobile self-service enables retail staff to write orders and submit them directly to suppliers from the floor of the store, starting the fulfillment process early to ensure faster delivery of the needed products.
User Experience Built for Speed and Information Availability
The grocery industry was an early adopter of mobile ordering solutions, and both stores and suppliers have been using them in some form for decades. What makes modern mobile sales order management solutions different is that they are mobile-first applications that run on familiar devices like the iPad and iPhone.
Manufacturers and distributors can provide customer-specific product catalogs to speed up the ordering process by ensuring only relevant products to that store are available for purchase. The product catalog also includes HD images, so the order writer can visually confirm what they are ordering is the same as what’s on shelf.
Customer-specific pricing and supplier promotions are easily managed within the system and applied to orders, so once the order is built, pricing is accurate, and processing isn’t delayed due to errors. Sales reps and retailers can also view inventory levels and know up-front if something is out-of-stock to prevent backorders. Orders can then be quickly built using standard functionality or by scanning UPC codes using the built-in camera or a bluetooth scanner.
By leveraging the power and functionality of popular mobile devices, mobile sales order management solutions enable manufacturers and distributors to deliver on shorter fulfillment times.
With demand for speed and convenience at an all-time high, the need to streamline and speed up order fulfillment is more important than ever. Technology that allows sales reps and grocery employees to rapidly write orders and submit them almost instantaneously for fulfillment is becoming a major competitive advantage.