As wholesalers, bottlers and distributors manage everything from new retail requirements, growing SKUs and government mandates, they turn to leading software developers for robust, cost-efficient systems that meet their ever-expanding logistics needs. Beverage Industry assembled an overview of what leaders in distribution sales and marketing software are currently offering:
Intervolve Inc. offers a broad base of mobile and Web solutions for beverage warehouse, delivery and retail execution that automates the collection, analysis and dissemination of transactional market data and transforms it into market intelligence. The system merges sales data from any route accounting system with causal data from DistributionSuite to provide a clear picture of the market. DistributionSuite enables distributors to automate retail execution and sales processes, identify market and account trends, track sales force performance, control merchandising activities and provides on-demand market intelligence.
Intervolve Route Accounting System (RAS) integrates sales order management, inventory management, financial accounting, reconciliations and route maintenance into a real-time, enterprise-wide mobile application for sales, delivery and warehouse activities. The system is built on an intuitive technology platform and designed to adapt easily as market needs change.
This month, Intervolve will launch a new release to Intervolve RAS that features integration with UPS RoadNet and A-B Mobility, an expanded e-Commerce suite and electronic signatures. The updated program expands the power of a real-time transaction system to wine and spirits wholesalers, highlighting key functionalities such as selling products by the case or bottle.
Eden Prairie, Minn.
HighJump Software offers DSD-specific applications for route accounting, inventory management, load optimization, mobile presales and delivery, business intelligence, vending asset management and field service.
HighJump Distribution and Deliver Engine (DDE), soon be called HighJump Inventory Management and HighJump Load Optimization, combines advanced truck loading and picking capabilities with warehouse management functionality for the direct-store-delivery market. HighJump DDE keeps track of work performed in the warehouse with detailed visibility into picking and loading activities by truck, route or employee. Inventory movement also can be tracked through the pick-to-delivery process by location, lot and pallet. HighJump Data Management Engine (DME) is designed to manage and synchronize information across the distributor/brand/parent network. By streamlining information, distribution network members can process advance shipping notices (ASNs) and invoices through their route accounting software.
HighJump Warehouse Advantage offers warehouse management functionality to manage complex distribution environments. The system ensures fast, accurate fulfillment through optimized workflow that uses advanced wireless and bar code technologies.
HighJump VirtualCooler is a presales application for full-screen mobile devices that improves the efficiency of sales managers and executives managing major chains or stores. HighJump VirtualCooler gives a sales team integrated sales presentations, store-level sales program definition and management, sophisticated ordering capabilities and multi-location inventory access.
UPS Logistics Technologies
UPS Logistics Technologies strategic software solutions aims to provide greater results in service, efficiency and profitability.
The company’s Roadnet Transportation Suite offers a spectrum of solutions that allow distributors to control the order-to-delivery process through comprehensive territory planning, street-level route optimization, automated warehouse loading, real-time delivery management and GPS tracking. Roadnet Info Center opens planned routing and real-time tracking data generated by the Roadnet Transportation Suite and offers critical reporting tools for management, sales, operations and customer service that eliminates the need for printed reports.
Territory Planner creates strategically defined territories and balanced routes using customer’s historical data such as delivery days, volume and open/close times.
FleetLoader is a program that streamlines the loading process by optimizing SKUs for both bay and bulk vehicles. Loads may be designed to integrate seamlessly into final loading and routing, resulting in decreased loading time with less manpower.
Salient Corp. provides fact-based performance management solutions for DSD consumer product manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. Salient’s Margin Minder is a toolkit for non-technical professionals that allows managers to integrate activity data from every process, function or data source in one place. It then provides a comprehensive vision of where to eliminate waste and where to improve revenue. This knowledge can be used to adjust pricing while managing risk, to understand the effects new products have on vendors and category performance, and to manage discounting by making immediately visible how product mix, deal duration/frequency or price affects profit and growth.
Margin Minder is powered by Salient UXT, which automatically scores the relationships of investments to the net value created by the investments, down to the individual customer relationship and up to the highest responsibilities.
The company also offers Salient Interactive Miner (SIM). The integrated software enables managers to perform interactive value source interrogation and analyses without technical support. SIM is the knowledge transfer device, a way to institutionalize an understanding of value sources and, at the same time, make responsibility for value performance transparent.
Insight Distribution Software
Hunt Valley, Md.
Insight Distribution Software has developed a suite of software for all functionalities, including route accounting, sales reporting, inventory control, data exchange, electronic data interchange (EDI), financials and handhelds.
New products in 2008 include:
Xcelerate Routecenter (formerly known as Routescape 2), a robust accounting software. Xcelerate Routecenter includes integrated modules for daily processing, sales management, inventory management, supplier reporting, financials and EDI. Routecenter uses Microsoft Windows technology and is built on a framework that allows for easy integration to third-party applications.
Xcelerate Playbook, a sales execution and objective management tool. Playbook allows the distributor to develop and implement sales strategies quickly, manage and track sales/distribution objectives and suppliers initiatives, and build and execute customer surveys on the fly.
Intermec Technologies Corp. provides a comprehensive solution for DSD needs with a full line of handheld computers, scanners, mobile printers, communications software, DEX, training and implementation services.
Intermec’s offerings include:
The CN3 rugged is a handheld computer that features QWERTY and numeric keyboards. A 2D imager reads all barcodes, an option for merchandising pictures and advanced data communications â€” wireless wide area network (WWAN), Bluetooth, wireless local area network (WLAN) and GPS â€” enhance presales and merchandising. The CN3e offers the same capabilities as the CN3, but its larger frame features enhanced durability and bigger keys for DSD and delivery personnel who transport products in and out of stores and are involved with extensive key entry.
The PB42 portable, a belt-mounted printer produces 4-inch thermal receipts, is accepted at almost every retailer and features Bluetooth communications.
The 6822 full page is a multi-part receipt printer for operations that have key customers or government regulations that require pre-printed, serialized invoices.
The Skynax data management communications server provides secure data, software, operating system (OS) and configuration file transmissions via cost-effective communications (local area network (LAN)/WLAN, WWAN or dial-up). It automatically compresses and decompresses data. If communication is unexpectedly terminated, Skynax can pick up where it left off when communication resumes.
The IP30 RFID tag reader, with Bluetooth, snaps onto the CN3 and CN3e as an immediate, in-the-field RFID upgrade. Globally certified for EPC GEN 2, the IP30 allows upgrades to RFID when customers are ready.
bMobile Technology provides a range of software solutions for beverage distributors, including route and inventory management, field automation, route accounting and warehouse control.
Its flagship product, bMobile Route Manager, allows business owners to manage pricing, routes, orders, invoices, trucks, deposits, inventory and customers. Drivers use handheld devices to place pre-sale orders, make deliveries, pick up returns and deposits, print invoices, accept payments and track truck inventory. Warehouse personnel use Route Manager to balance loads between trucks and warehouses, pick products and reconcile the product and money during the loading and unloading of trucks. Data is synchronized between the office, warehouse and drivers via wireless or cellular data transmission.
bMobile Route Manager also integrates with accounting packages, such as QuickBooks, Cougar Mountain Software and SAP, which eliminates the need to re-enter data and reduces invoicing and delivery mistakes. The software supports a variety of pricing models, including channel/zone/customer pricing, quantity breaks, “buy x get y” style pricing, combo packs, data-specific promotions and package type deals.
New updates to bMobile Route Manager include a Web-based customer ordering interface, the ability to transmit data via Data Exchange Corp. (DEX), predictive ordering and integration with a customizable field survey software package.
Fort Collins, Colo.
Encompass Technologies offers Encompass Mobile, a Web-based Route Accounting System that fills the role of the traditional “route book.” The system includes a mobile application for pre-sell, delivery and warehouse operations, and can be hosted either on an in-house server or at Encompass’s data center. The system is built on the Microsoft framework, and scales to accommodate a distributor of any size. Using any Windows PocketPC 2003, Windows Mobile 5.0 or 6.0 device, salespeople and drivers have access to customer sales history, inventory, surveys, promotions and pricing tools.
Encompass Mobile also accommodates any general accounting system and sends electronic statements to retailers and suppliers. Supplier communication may be automated into nightly routines. The program includes an interface that supports the increasing demand for EDI capability with both retailers and suppliers. Customers also have access to online ordering that includes current balance, invoice history and promotions calendar. Suppliers may be provided limited access to activity related to their brands, which often reduces the call frequency related to report requests.
Vernon Hills, Ill.
Zebra Technologies Corp. offers its customers on-demand specialty digital printing and automatic identification solutions that help identify, locate and track assets, transactions and people. Zebra’s latest offering includes the QL 420 Plus direct thermal mobile printer. Specially designed for complex mobile printing applications, it can handle increased levels of wireless security, making it ideal for the secure transfer of sensitive data such as price lists and customer information.
The QL 420 Plus is suited to many applications in the beverage industry, including pick tickets, forklift-mounted printing, customer pickup, shipment labeling, inventory updates and delivery verification invoices. The convenience and immediacy of fork-lift mounted printers helps to increase productivity and decrease labeling errors.
The Zebra RW 420 is a Bluetooth-enabled, weather-resistant printer, which can be hand-held or truck-mounted. It is designed to meet the day-to-day needs of delivery fleets and other mobile field forces requiring efficient and reliable on-the-go receipt printing. Because the RW 420 has a card reader, payments can be made at the point of distribution. Customers sign for deliveries on the mobile computer screen and drivers can instantly generate a delivery receipt. Printing onsite allows changes to the invoice from the original order.
Softeon’s next generation Route Accounting System, planned for release in July 2008, is a comprehensive solution suite that spans the order fulfillment process from order entry to billing. Fully integrated with Softeon’s Warehouse Management System, truck planning and direct-store-delivery modules, it gives sales personnel the visibility and tools they need to drive increased sales during order processing. It also interfaces with most financial accounting systems.
The system supports complex orders for product, pricing/discount configuration, real-time order status from inception to post-fulfillment, and handles inventory warehouse queries for stock-on-hand. Other features include state-specific rules and tax computation. The solution is Web-based, paperless and voice-driven, with a rapid deployment capability and a high realization of operational efficiencies for beverage wholesalers.
The system is an end-to-end Internet-based solution, including mobile devices support, for handling business-to-business and business-to-customer scenarios.