In an environment where e-commerce is more important than ever—a trend that is only expected to grow—B2B companies can learn important lessons from B2C companies when it comes to the DSD food distribution last mile. Traditionally, the last mile is riddled with high costs, transparency, efficiency, and other challenges. And as companies like Walmart and Best Buy increasingly double brick-and-mortar retail centers for distribution, B2B food distribution companies can take a page from their playbook and gain a fresh perspective on new tactical solutions.
1. Simplicity. In the B2C environment where staff might be newer to packing, simplicity is crucial. Therefore, limited packaging options and making items easy to pack helps eliminate errors in the food distribution last mile. B2B companies that want to simplify can audit the picking and packing process for three things:
2. Space. Brick-and-mortar stores were not originally designed to be a shipping facility so they must be serious about space. And every inch counts because wasted space means less revenue-generating activities. Some of the ways B2C companies make the most of space and improve the outcome in the food distribution last mile include:
- Packaging with the least amount of storage space
- On-demand packing, which requires almost no storage space
- Well-coordinated inbound and outbound shipping
3. Money. In the past, B2C companies determined parcel shipping costs through a combination of box size and weight, and special packages meant additional handling surcharges. But in an era of free shipping, B2C companies can look at the food distribution last mile as part of the total cost of business and what it means to the big picture. Rather than sticking with the traditional shipping charges that they’ve used for years, B2B companies can look at the total cost of business and may find growth opportunity in happier customers and larger orders thanks to the food distribution last mile.
4. Technology. As consumer expectations increase, B2B customer expectations will follow, and this means that everything from inventory to timelines needs to be on-point now more than ever. Efficiencies in the food distribution last mile discipline, along with order accuracy utilizing proof of delivery tools, are available to meet this growing need.
“As service businesses rely on customer service, it’s important that they do not have inventory gaps,” says AFS, supply chain expert, Vaksman, “AFS Electronic Proof of Delivery and Direct Store Delivery solutions make sure that our customer’s products are delivered efficiently and on schedule.”