Optimizing your direct store delivery process
For food and beverage organizations that deliver products directly to consumers or to customers through their own delivery fleet, having the right direct store delivery (DSD) tools embedded into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is essential.
When planning and defining the delivery routes, these tools should help you with:
- The definition of the delivery process in order to optimize your routes, and vehicle utilization
- The management of the route inventory so that the driver has the right product for the customers, or an adequate inventory for expected ad-hoc sales
- The tracking of standing customer orders so customers are not shorted, and that the trucks are loaded optimally for stops
When executing deliveries, the DSD solution needs to:
- Be flexible enough to allow for real-time mobile transactions, and also paper-based management of delivery tickets
- Ensure driver accountability by having beginning and end-of-day processes to count in and out inventory on the trucks, accounting for driver additions and returns from customers
- Track activity directly within the ERP system so that there is no need to reference back to other third-party systems for delivery details
The DSD extension is built directly upon the base Microsoft Dynamics® AX ERP platform, and provides a simple alternative to the traditional stand-alone DSD products. Since it is a native extension that takes advantage of standard Dynamics AX functionality, it is a lot simpler because:
- The vehicle inventory is tracked within the ERP system giving full visibility, without the chance of synchronization issues
- Tasks like DC replenishment are handled through standard MRP transfer orders along with all other planned transfers
- Orders, deliveries and invoices are available immediately through the ERP without the requirement to sync with another disparate system
All of this is then extended with the definition and execution capabilities that are provided through the DSD module.
In the planning and definition stage, there are a number of additional features that are available.
- Static routes can have as many customers and stops as required. The stop sequence may either be manually defined, or may be optimized through integrated tools like MapPoint.
- Calendars are defined against the routes, allowing for the same customers to be on multiple routes, but the routes may have different delivery days and schedules. As orders are placed into Dynamics AX, the optimal routes are selected based on the delivery date, and also the route capacity.
- Peddle and sales order routes are both allowed, in addition to VMI and DC replenishment. This allows for a mix and match approach to deliveries where some customers order via the traditional sales order method, and others are sold from the truck, based on available inventory.
- Standing transfer orders allow the vehicles to be filled based on template inventory transfers. This allows the route administrators to also include new products on deliveries automatically as they are introduced. This does not preclude the driver from using their own personal knowledge to adjust the inventory transfers, giving both parties flexibility in deciding what should be delivered on any one day.
- Standing sales orders allow customers to have template orders that they typically need. They can adjust these standing orders at any time up until the loading of the truck, just in case demand increases or decreases based on their own insights.
Either through mobile, or paper-based transactions, the DSD module also adds a lot of additional route execution capabilities to Dynamics AX.
- Mobile devices can be used to track all of the transactions that are performed by the driver, starting from the beginning of day checks, then throughout the execution of the delivery actions while in front of the customer, and finally the end of day reconciliation process of tracking inventory and cash receipts.
- Beginning of day (BOD) audits include the counting of inventory on the trucks. Vehicles are tracked within the system as warehouses, and there is always full visibility of the inventory. The BOD process allows you to always track shorts within the system. Also, depending on your process, vehicles may be loaded at the beginning of the day, or just adjusted to expected par levels.
- Delivery tracking allows the driver to pick from the truck based on standing orders, or sell from the truck via the peddle order capability. Returns with actions and reason codes are also tracked within the DSD module, giving full visibility to delivery errors and exchanges, and also linking back to the customer account to adjust outstanding balances.
- Payments can either be managed on account, or through cash receipts by the driver. The receipts are tracked by delivery stops for reconciliation during the EOD process.
- End of day (EOD) settlement allows for all cash receipts, and inventory adjustments to be reconciled back to the ERP. This is the final step in the driver accountability process, and ensures that the truck inventories, and also the cash balances, match the delivery details.
Having all of these features available through a native ERP solution reduces the integration requirements, streamlines your direct store delivery process, gives greater visibility to your routes and delivery fleet, and also reduces the risk of driver mistakes and fraud.