Like almost any other industry you could point to, the beverage distribution space has been in a state of rapid evolution since before the pandemic. Businesses that were once resistant to big changes have started embracing technology more and more—whether that’s because of driver shortages, demand volatility, or simply a desire to optimize. Whatever the reasons pushing businesses towards new technology adoptions and digital transformation initiatives, more distributors than ever are asking themselves important questions about the potential value of last mile beverage distribution software.
Challenges in Last Mile Beverage Delivery
Final mile delivery for beverages can be a time-consuming process that’s filled with complexities. Here are a few of the top challenges that impact beverage distributors—especially when they don’t have the right technology for managing deliveries from end to end:
- High stakes for on-time delivery: There is a higher likelihood that you’ll miss promised delivery schedules when you handle last mile deliveries manually, which can have a huge impact on customer loyalty.
- Order management complexity: Beverage companies often have trouble dealing with the complexity that comes from hitting fixed time windows for many of their accounts even when order volumes and mixes are changing constantly. This complexity can result in errors in orders and deliveries when you're not working with the right beverage beverage technology solution companies
- Lack of visibility into fleets: If you don’t know where your drivers are and what the status of each order is throughout the day of delivery, it’s difficult to manage deliveries effectively. And yet, gaining that level of visibility has historically been a challenge.
- Inconsistent communication: Communication is essential to beverage delivery. Communication failures between the back-end teams, delivery drivers, and customers can cause deliveries to fail and customer satisfaction to plummet.
- Lack of centralization: Even when different teams are making decisions independently, having a single source of truth is critical. But legacy software systems can make it difficult to centralize data and keep information flows up to date.
- Resource management: Manually assigning resources and managing orders can be a tedious and inefficient process, negatively impacting productivity and slowing down the planning process.
How Beverage Technology Solution Companies Can Help
Because customers today expect a seamless delivery experience, it’s not always easy for beverage companies to overcome last mile delivery challenges. To meet customers' demands and keep delivery expenses from spiraling out of control, beverage distributors must partner with the right beverage technology solution companies.
Here’s how delivery logistics software can help beverage distributors improve their last mile delivery operations and boost their profitability:
As delivery routes become more complex, they can begin to impact the profits of beverage brands. It’s challenging to execute deliveries successfully when route plans are out of date and can’t be updated easily. The result is inefficient routes that can’t be adapted to changing conditions.
Implementing the right delivery logistics software allows businesses to rapidly plan and execute more cost-effective routes for their delivery runs. In this way, you can leverage delivery routing software to provide drivers with optimal routes to ensure they can complete a maximum number of deliveries in the shortest amount of time—all while hitting customers’ requested time windows. As a result, the average delivery time decreases, which then increases the brand’s repeat customers rate, and improves profitability.
In the food and beverage industry, transparency and visibility play an important role in building brand loyalty. Without these, delivery processes can quickly become chaotic and difficult to optimize.
Real-time tracking features offered by delivery software can be incredibly helpful in monitoring where orders and drivers are and how they are doing. This enables fleet managers and dispatchers to monitor and proactively manage their shipments and drivers in real time and even provide that same level of visibility to customers. In this way, companies get the most out of their fleet and increase productivity.
Efficient allocation of orders
Managing orders effectively is a major challenge for brands in part because of the complexity of customer needs. You need to maintain accuracy in allocating orders and assigning delivery tasks, which takes a lot of time to do manually and affects your fleet's productivity.
Food and beverage distribution brands that can track products from the warehouse to the customer with delivery logistics software can sidestep this issue. The right system enables you to make sure the right load goes on the right vehicle at the right time without creating huge headaches for your planners.
Deliveries go sideways more frequently when there is poor communication with stakeholders and customers. That’s why end-to-end communication between delivery teams and back-end employees is critical for effective coordination. That’s why your delivery logistics software should assist in fleet management by monitoring delivery operations from the macro and micro perspectives and triggering communications automatically for certain status changes. With real-time alert and notification systems, you can make promises to your customers and then consistently keep them.
Analytics and performance tracking
From monitoring customer requests to keeping track of deliveries, beverage companies have a lot of challenges around data and information. It’s important to analyze past and present delivery performances to determine the most efficient delivery plans. Without the right data in the right place at the right time, planning can be irregular, impacting fleet productivity negatively.
With smart last mile delivery software for beverage distributors, companies can analyze previous delivery records so they can easily pinpoint any issues that result in delivery failures or other issues. Real-time analytics fromlast mile delivery management software enables dispatchers and fleet managers to assess drivers' performance and iterate on execution strategies over time. With detailed delivery histories and telematics integration, for instance, they can reduce drivers’ wait times and idling rates, vehicle downtime, and delayed or missed deliveries. The analytical insights provided by the right software can enable fleets to ensure productivity and efficiency and maintain high delivery standards.
In the end, developing a superior customer experience while reducing fleet operating costs is a daunting task for beverage distributors. But it’s a challenge that can be addressed head on by partnering with beverage technology solution companies that offers sophisticated routing, real-time tracking, robust communications, and data analytics.