Why Distributors Need Field Service Software for Delivery
The economy is in a very weak position, and predictions are that a recession is coming. Many distributors’ customers are seeing their demand drop off, or projects they were counting on, getting cut. This in turn creates challenges for distributors. In addition to carrying the goods their customers need and at competitive prices, distributors also need to be able to guarantee when the goods will be delivered to the customers. To do this effectively, distributors need field service software for delivery.
eCommerce Has Upped the Bar on Delivery
Through the Covid-induced lockdowns, consumers and businesses turned to eCommerce in a big way. And eCommerce suppliers, like Amazon, started competing against each other based on guaranteeing precise delivery dates at the time orders were placed. Then they built robust delivery solutions to meet these guaranteed delivery dates. The eCommerce suppliers were so successful in this that consumer expectations for quick and reliable delivery dates for online purchases have now become essentially ingrained. Statista published a study showing that 40+ percent of buyers expected delivery within 24 hours. That is an extremely high bar to meet. These same expectations have now spilled over into the business market that distributors operate in.
Guaranteed Delivery and the Last Mile Issue
In order to get the customer’s order, several things have already been accomplished successfully by the distributor. The distributor has already got the goods from the supplier to the distributor’s warehouse – no small feat with the broken Supply Chain we’ve been struggling with. The distributor’s salesperson has already successfully negotiated a mutually acceptable price with the customer. The distributor’s warehouse operations team has filled the order and packed the order. Now all that is left is to get the order to the customer when promised – simple huh? Not so fast. Based on the successes of eCommerce solutions, expectations for delivery when promised are very high. Moreover, many studies have shown that the “last mile” of delivery, to get goods from the warehouse to the customer, is both critical to customer satisfaction, and the most expensive and time-consuming leg of the supply chain. Amazon had to build its own delivery fleet from the ground up to be able to accomplish this. That’s where field service software for delivery comes in.
What Does Field Service Software for Delivery Do for You?
Field service software for delivery lets distributors assign deliveries to drivers, provide route sequences, addresses, directions and allow drivers to make deliveries and collect proof-of-delivery (signatures, GPS coordinates of delivery, and pictures). Drivers must be able to pull up the order’s delivery invoice if the customer needs to see it. And drivers must be able to collect payment from the customer if needed. Drivers must be able to accomplish all this on their mobile phone or tablets whether iOS, Android or Windows based. And they must be able to do so even if the mobile phone or tablet is out of cell tower range. Also, as a distributor you need to be able to evaluate and assess how effective your delivery truck fleet is. You need to easily be able to be able to keep tabs on your drivers and their whereabouts.
Full Integration with Your ERP Solution
The field service software for delivery must be integrated directly with the distributors’ ERP system. This is an absolutely critical requirement that must eliminate the need for double entry from your ERP system to the field service software for delivery and vice versa. And this integration needs to work without drivers needing to be full ERP users. The ERP system must be able to send to and receive from the drivers’ devices without any actions needed from the drivers other than those required by the field service software for delivery app.
Orders once packed and ready to be shipped need to be able to be assigned to drivers and dispatched without any need for order re-entry. Unless this happens automatically without any re-entry, there will inevitably be data errors and customers getting the wrong deliveries. Distributors understand that these kinds of errors can cause a long-nurtured customer relationship to sour quickly. And customers have multiple distributor options – more so now that during the Covid pandemic, customers became accustomed to “shopping around” as a result of the lockdowns and shortages of the Supply Chain crisis. Orders that are high priority must be able to be easily re-assigned if a driver is unavailable at short notice. The designated delivery route must be able to be changed easily. All the information collected by the drivers on the field service software for delivery app must be immediately available in the ERP system so that distributors can provide up to the minute Customer service information on the status of the delivery at any time.
The field service software for delivery must also be easily customizable to accommodate changes you might make to workflows or processes.
Increase Customer Satisfaction and Control Costs
With the right field service software for delivery, you can increase customer satisfaction and cement your hard-won customer relationships. A delivery truck fleet is an expensive investment, and you need to be able to justify it on an ROI basis. With field service software for delivery, you can operate your delivery fleet most efficiently and cost-effectively. And you’ll have the data to constantly tweak and refine the business model.
If your field service software for delivery is not accomplishing all this for you, contact us. We’d love to show you how Accolent ERP Cloud-based software for wholesale distributors and its integrated field service software can help you satisfy customers, strengthen customer relationships and cut costs.