A large distributor of consumer package goods and fresh food, with many delivery trucks would often run out of inventory that customers along their routes would request when the drivers arrived. These requests represented potential sales that could not be captured because the products were not available in the trucks. The end result was sales were not being maximized.
What were some possible ways to solve this problem?
- The distributor could reroute the delivery trucks back to the warehouse to load more product, but that would delay deliveries to other customers, potentially reducing both service quality and sales while increasing costs (time, labor, fuel, maintenance).
- The distributor could open more warehouses so inventory would be available closer to routes and customers. The challenge would be increased costs.
- A process of delivering (with more trucks and drivers) unscheduled orders could be developed. The problem, however, would be the additional expense to set-up and operate it.
- The distributor could ignore their customers' request for last-minute product sales, and open up an opportunity for competitors to capture this business.
How did enterprise mobility solutions help solve this challenge? We helped the distributor by implementing real-time communications and inventory systems on their mobile devices, GPS tracking and real-time scheduling solutions that enabled a few roving trucks full of commonly needed inventory to meet-up with multiple delivery drivers and top-off their inventories (JIT, just-in-time) along their routes without delaying them from their scheduled deliveries.
The distributor improved customer service and sales with limited investment. They also prevented their competition from making inroads. They used a limited investment in technologies (enterprise mobility solutions) to get products to the right customers at the right time without spending all of their investment funds. The mobile solutions enabled them to NOT have to make massive investments in more warehouses, trucks, labor and infrastructure so they could make smarter investments in other places.*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) CognizantView Linkedin Profile
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.