Foodservice Demand is on the Rebound
Now is the time to upgrade your foodservice distribution software. We made it through the pandemic and now restaurants are reopening. As Food Safety News noted, the Coronavirus pandemic devasted the restaurant industry and while restaurants are reopening there will be many lasting changes. In addition to health and safety protocols, many restaurants, and non-commercial foodservice institutions like hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and schools, will look for better technology solutions to improve their efficiency. Your customer relationships are still there, but you have to rebuild your business again. Build back better and upgrade your foodservice distribution software so you can deliver some of the efficiency improvements your customers will be looking for.
What to Look for in Foodservice Distribution Software
There are many benefits to upgrading your foodservice distribution software. We look at some of the most important improvements you can take advantage of by upgrading:
All distributors have to balance the cost of investing in inventory against the risk of stockouts and potentially losing customers as a result. With perishable goods and expiry dates to deal with, this equation is even more challenging for foodservice distributors. You need to have a highly reliable inventory management system that can tell you at all times what you have in stock, what is on orders, what is in picking, what is on backorder, and what is coming in on purchase orders and when. Look for software for food distributors that can make all this information available to you immediately, so you make informed decisions.
Catch Weight Pricing
Most foodservice items are sold by case or box but are priced by the pound. Good foodservice distribution software should be able to handle catch weight pricing and multiple units of measure easily. Not all software for food distributors can do this - so make sure.
Lot-Control and Expiry Dates
Most foodservice items are subject to health and safety requirements that require food chain of custody, lot-control, lot tracking, sell-by dates, and expiry dates. Your foodservice distribution software should be able to handle all this automatically and help you understand what is close to expiry and so should be moved.
Improve Accuracy and Speed Fulfillment
Critical to being able to generate efficiency is to improve the flow of your picking, packing, and shipping. With good foodservice distribution software, you will be able to specify multiple warehouse locations for products, sequence pick tickets so that frozen and refrigerated items are picked last and packed first. You will be able to implement wireless handheld scanners for put-away, picking, packing, and shipping to speed operations and cut down on errors. As part of the food chain of custody, most foodservice items are barcoded already by the manufacturer with lot no, weight, expiry date, etc. With the best software for food distributors, you can configure your scanners to read all this information with one scan and record it, so that lot no and expiry date are immediately available and no re-weighing is required.
Closing Orders and Providing Customer Service
Many foodservice institutions reorder the same or similar items each time. You need your foodservice distribution software to allow reordering from past orders or to show the product master highlighting what the customer purchased before. All this has to allow full drill-down to the items, the price paid, the contract details, the quantity ordered, the profit margin on the sale, etc. These kinds of features in your software for food distributors will greatly speed closing orders.
eCommerce Software for Food Distributors
If there was one major change to come out of the Coronavirus pandemic that is here to stay it was the widespread adoption of eCommerce and online ordering. Major foodservice institutions like hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, schools, churches, and so on now demand the ability to access an online portal to place their own orders and to track their orders. You need foodservice distribution software that can offer this kind of self-service portal to institutional customers. At the same time, providing customers with an online self-service portal will also allow you to free up order entry resources. Also, your foodservice distribution software needs to link with other eCommerce online stores to allow you to cater to the specialty foodie market which is growing exponentially.
What You Should Do
Now is the time to upgrade your foodservice distribution software. Getting access to better Cloud-based technology will help you rebuild your business better and position you to seize market share as demand rebounds. Contact ADS Solutions to demo our Cloud-based Accolent ERP solution that serves the restaurant equipment and foodservice distribution industries. Our Accolent ERP software powers many of the most successful foodservice distributors.