Leveraging technology to get ahead in retail delivery

retail delivery

Written By | Progressive Grocer

How Grocers Can Leverage Technology to Make Delivery a Competitive Advantage

The grocery and retail delivery market is an industry that is poised for growth. We are in the center of online grocery shopping. Companies that position themselves at the forefront of online retail shopping and the delivery market will have a higher chance of gaining favor with consumers as the market continues to mature. Most retailers are ill-prepared to properly scale their delivery operations to handle this rapid growth.

Whether a retailer is building out in-house delivery capabilities or outsourcing to a third party, a key piece of enabling technology can make scaling their last-mile delivery operations significantly easier: delivery management software, which offers end-to-end route planning, dispatch, communication and analytics to provide their company with a top-down view of your delivery operations while helping to streamline the most important areas of those operations. Check out LS Central, the retail solution that can meet all the needs listed above. As well as Dynamics Mobile, proven solutions enabling businesses to transform their daily field operations to fully automated, connected and well-defined state-of-art business processes.

The type of software you choose should integrate seamlessly with other software solutions you are running. You may feel its necessary to consider an ERP system, like Dynamics 365 Business Central, which integrates seamlessly with LS Central for retail businesses. This will help facilitate a better experience for customers, companies, drivers, and all stakeholders in the ordering and delivery process. Specifically, delivery management can help retailers:

Ensure fast, on-time delivery with route planning/optimizing

Successful route planning relies on a sophisticated analysis of customer addresses, promised delivery times, traffic, driver schedules, vehicle capacity, and more.

With stiff competition pushing turnaround times down (2+ days, same day, within hours) and shorter delivery windows (1 hour versus 2 hours versus 3+ hours), legacy route sequencing tools can’t keep up.

A state of the art routing system can factor in these dynamic constraints, allowing a nimble organization to experiment with delivery models and service levels that filter their unique requirements. These are several essential elements:

Pick/pack & service time efficiency

A system that can rapidly generate complex routing will drive efficiencies in the pick and pack process and warehouse operations.

For example, orders can be combined by the route and staged near vehicle docks in reverse delivery order, creating a load plan that streamlines customer interactions and reduces physical effort.

Route capacity & route efficiency

A modern routing engine can improve capacity by more than 50% over manual and legacy route sequencing methods. This reduces labor and fuel costs while expanding customer servicing capability. Programmatically factoring in historical data yields and even higher efficiencies.

On-time delivery rates

On-time delivery is a key factor in customer retention. An optimized route plan is only valuable if it can accurately predict delivery times and ensure deliveries are made within the promised window.

A sophisticated ERP tool will not only provide initial estimates but also update these estimates as conditions on the ground change.

Dynamic ETAs provide drivers, dispatchers and customers with up to date, predictive information, allowing brands to take proactive steps to improve performance. Static ETAs provided from legacy systems leave brands reacting too late deliveries, with little preventing a single event from negatively affecting an entire route.

Improve driver & customer relationships with real-time communication tools

An essential part of a modern retail solution is an internal communication tool that connects dispatchers and drivers, operations and customer service, and more.

While SMS text and chat applications like Messenger, Hangouts or Slack have low barriers to entry, they lack context, adding unnecessary steps to an already complicated communication process.

But internal communication is only half of the equation – the most critical channel is with your customer. Modern consumers are accustomed to unprecedented levels of visibility into real-time delivery status. Customers expect to receive confirmation that the delivery is scheduled, when it has let for delivery, and exactly when it has arrived.

The right retail solution will provide these events and more, including intermediate time and distance-based triggers. Easy configuration and customization allow customer service and operations teams to adapt to rapidly evolving requirements without engaging in scarce development resources.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence also allow retailers to effectively look into the future with “predictive ETAs” so customers can be notified well in advance of their scheduled delivery. The most advanced delivery platforms update this prediction as real-life events change conditions on the ground, enabling a progressive and dynamic delivery estimate. Routing tools alone can’t provide this robust of an estimate as they lack visibility into what happens after the driver leaves the warehouse. Only a fully integrated system with advanced machine learning can achieve this optimal customer experience.

Finally, once delivery is complete it is critical that feedback from customers be collected quickly and efficiently. A robust retail platform must include the ability to request and review customer feedback. Including this key performance metric with other delivery analytics provides a full picture of performance and allows rapid impact analysis after operational changes. Should an issue occur, an instant feedback channel allows for service teams to resolve complaints when they happen, improving their ability to build and retain customer relationships.

Make data-backed decisions with in-depth reporting and analytics

Data-backed decisions are at the heart of any successful delivery operation. A successful, expanding delivery operation requires a clear and accurate picture of what is happening on the ground.

In a world where competitors are moving at break-neck speeds, anecdotal evidence and verbal accounts aren’t good enough. Analytics should include more than completion rates. With the right data collected, operations can measure delay rates, service times, idle vs. active driver time, mileage, batching efficiency and more. Robust filtering allows for comparison between drivers, teams, regions, and customer segments.

Technology helps level the retail delivering playing field

The cost of inaction in the retail delivery market is steep. It’s an industry where customers tend to stick with brands that they are comfortable with. With the market growing quickly, of the market share, it’s critical that small and medium-sized brands are able to secure a foothold in the retail delivery space, as it will only get tougher as time goes on.

By starting now to build relationships with customers in their local area and establishing themselves as reliable grocery delivery providers, the cost of inaction is much more than the sales retailers and grocers miss out on – it’s the market share and industry standing that will pass them by as customer habits change in the evolving retail space.

Construction Industry: Promote Business Growth


Written by | ERPFocus

3 construction ERP modules that promote business growth

Most people tend to think of ERP as a management and control tool. Construction ERP helps us manage subcontractor payments. It helps keep the project moving toward on-time completion. It allows better control over accepted and pending change orders. But why stop there? We can also use the same ERP to grow our construction business.

1.  Supplier relationship management (SRM)

Supplier relationship management (SRM) is one such ERP component. Sending simple feedback to a subcontractor goes a long way toward keeping that relationship strong. The same feedback can be sent to material suppliers too. And don’t forget the crane operator – he might be the first to learn of a new project where you might get in on the ground floor ahead of any competition.

We all prefer to do business with people we like and trust. Make sure subs and suppliers like and trust you by ensuring communication channels are open and active. Report on their performance. Remember their anniversary in business. Use construction ERP to maintain a positive dialogue with suppliers and your supply-demand balance will be easier to maintain.

2.  Customer relationship management (CRM)

Customer relationship management (CRM) is another useful construction ERP feature for construction companies. CRM is generally used when preparing new quotes, but it can also be used to grow your business.  If your ERP CRM contains a sales pipeline, you can manage each client or project according to their proximity to a closed deal.

You can also use ERP CRM modules to maintain contact with owners and developers just as we discussed for suppliers above. Let them know of your successes, wherever they are. Let them know of business developments and new techniques your team is comfortable with. Tell them when your company or project managers have earned a new certification. Congratulate them on their success too – even if you were not apart of those projects. Make sure you know of their plans for any future construction. Again, maintaining this dialogue will pay dividends when the bidding process begins.

3.  Project management (PM)

You already use project management (PM) to track milestones. Now you can use it to generate billings for progress payments. ERP project management modules help you avoid problems on the job. Think back to any job in the past. There were times you missed an opportunity to complete work ahead of schedule. You missed opportunities to avoid costs that were in the original bid. These opportunities will present themselves again in the future, and an ERP which produces comprehensive schedules, daily logs, and documentation can help you capitalize on all of them.

All your construction ERP modules have two edges. Keep both of these edges sharp, and use them to manage your business today and grow for tomorrow.

Whether its CRM, ERP, SRM, or PM; allonline365 can help you implement your ERP solution. We will offer advice and guidance on the best modules to include at an affordable price. Call allonline365 on +27 (21) 205 3650 or email  info@allonline365.com to speak to one of our consultants.

Pipol World Conference 2019 Summary


allonline365’s Pipol World Conference Summary

Pipol provides the world’s most extensive alliance of Microsoft Dynamics experts to help you with your international ERP or CRM project. Pipol has over 160 offices in more than 85 countries. They are the largest provider of consulting and implementation services based on Microsoft Dynamics. Allonline365 is a proud partner of Pipol, offering value to your business solution implementation.

Our Executive, Janine Haigh, attended the international Pipol World Conference in Vienna, Austria. Below is a summary of her experience at the event, which was insightful and informative.

This year on the 7th and 8th of October in Vienna, Austria I was given the opportunity to attend the annual Pipol World conference on behalf of allonline365.

Day one was for us partners and provided the opportunity to meet with partners from across the world and the Pipol team.

The keynote speaker, Lars Tvede, gave an interesting and thought-provoking talk on “Super trends and creativity in organizations”. This set the tone for the remainder of the day.

The Pipol team gave insights into the opportunities that the digital economy and Dynamics 365 present, but also introduced their take on how to successfully engage and create real value for international customers.

Day two was for both international customers and partners. This was hosted at the magnificent Palais Hansen Kempinski Hotel in Vienna. The Kempinski Group is a Pipol customer and they took the stage to share how Pipol had successfully supported their digital transformation journey.

The Pipol World Conference ended with dinner and a tour at the Natural History Museum in Vienna. It was an extraordinary experience that ended the conference on a high note.

It was well worth the time and any distance traveled and I would recommend prioritizing the 2020 event, as soon as Pipol release the date and location.

Thank you to Poul Kjaer, Sara-Clare Pehrson and team for this enjoyable experience. It was an informative and thought-provoking event.


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