Distribution is a business that is operationally intensive and hence requires a lot of manpower and management. With a lot of activities taking place at any given point in time, organizing the workflow and workforce has to be done efficiently to retain the margins. How to do that? It’s a challenge.
For a moment, let’s try to think of something else. How do big train networks operate? How is Air travel, while operating one of the most complex machines made by humans, still the safest mode of travel? As you can guess, the answer is Technology. Technology has made it possible for us humans to get things done at scale, with speed and ease. It helped us build and manage things which a man alone couldn’t have.
You see around you, technology helping businesses across the globe scale. Your mind says, you too should adopt. But then on other days, you might feel like you don't need to. Thought comes to mind, “I have been running the business for years, and I am doing fine. I don’t need anything.”
"The future belongs to those who embrace it. As history has shown those who adopt and adapt, survive and thrive. The point is, even though your business might be doing fine, it might not be achieving its full potential."
Let’s take an example of a typical distribution business. Say, your distribution business has 10 salesmen and it distributes among 500 retailers. These salesmen are assigned weekly beats. Any given day, they visit the retailers on their beats, take orders and note those down in diaries. They might also be collecting payments for past invoices as well. Then they convey the orders to the back-office, maybe via call or WhatsApp or in person at the end of the day and also handover the collected payments. At the back-office, the staff waits for the salesman to come back with the orders and then start the picking and packing. Delivery of the orders probably goes out the next day.
Now if we look at the surface, the above scenario seems fine. That’s because we get accustomed to many hardships and everyday problems. For example like, a salesman noting down the wrong products in order or conveying it wrong over a call or the back-office staff misunderstanding it, and later the retailer rejecting the delivery. Many such issues waste a lot of your time. So, if you look deeply, a lot of time and effort can be saved. A lot of mistakes, miscommunications and resulting stress can be avoided. Just with the use of a bit of technology.
That’s where DMS can help. Using it’s mobile app salesmen can take orders on the app directly and the back-office can see those in real-time.
Now, let’s take glace on your everyday life as an owner. If you are an SME, your business most probably be functioning without a separate management team. Everything is your responsibility, be it tracking KPIs, streamlining processes or managing staff. Things like, did the salesperson visit all the retailers on this beat, did the delivery boy hand over the cash payments to the back office, worry you. Managing all this is tough, if you don’t have the right tools.
But with the Distribution Management System in place, you can track all these at ease. You have high visibility of what’s going on. You don’t have to bear with, not knowing what’s going on. You can easily track things like, where all your money is, where all your salesmen go during a day.
So, how does a Distribution Management Solution with its two key parts help you?
- Mobile App
- Web App
The app digitizes the complete order management, payment collection and returns management. That saves time for salesmen. They can visit more counters and onboard more customers, rather than wasting their time over calls conveying orders. The back-office staff doesn't have to sit idle and wait for the salesman to come back to start processing orders. Overall efficiencies improve in every aspect of the business.
This web-app becomes your window into the business. Whatever you need to know about any aspect of the business is in there. This helps you improve your fulfillment time, sales losses, credit situation. Your staff doesn’t need to punch in orders or payments or returns again, as that information already came in the system via mobile app. Sales, Collection, Stock, etc reports remain available at a click away.
To conclude, if you are a distributor, a Distribution Management Solution can reduce your operational hassles dramatically. Monitoring your business real-time becomes possible. That allows you to focus more towards critical work like marketing, strategy, business development, etc. It helps you reliably delegate routine work to software and have a tight control over processes. We are sure it will also help you find more time for family and life as well. At the end of the day, all we desire for is some time that we can spend with family, have a sense of joy and enjoy our accomplishments a bit.