When we talk about Distributor Management Solution, we focus mostly on processes related to order and billing. For example, how primary and secondary order placement process will be automated, how all kind of schemes can be defined in the system and applied during billing, how invoicing and payment process can be streamlined, how claim settlement can be more transparent etc. An important aspect that we often miss is how the solution can help in improving logistics operations process. For most of the industries and distributors, logistics plays a very crucial role and at the same time it is not at all simple to manage. Complications exist due to multiple factors such as wide range of SKUs, product expiry, multiple or very large sized warehouses, vehicle route determination, excise mandated documents etc. Lack of automation in that operation not only results in lot of manual overhead and cost escalation but can also put a distributor under significant legal risk.
Hence, it will not be prudent if you do not automate the logistics process when you are planning to automate your distributors’ operations. However, it is still ignored because not all Distributor Management Solution come with a robust logistics module and thus the problems pertaining to logistics are often not discussed during requirement and solution finalization. To help you make a more informed judgment when you are finalizing your DMS software, we have listed down five most crucial features of a DMS that can help improve efficiency of your distributors’ logistics operations significantly:
Robust Warehouse Management: Warehouse is the place where all the actions happen as far as distributor operation is concerned. The DMS software must have basic capability of managing multiple warehouses for a single distributor, stock transfer between different warehouses, GRN of inward stock movement etc. But that’s not all. When the warehouse is of medium to large size, it becomes very difficult for godown manager to remember which SKU / Batch is placed in which section of the warehouse. The result is delay in loading of goods. This can be streamlined if your DMS allows you to mark different zones of your warehouse and then location of each SKU & Batch is maintained in the system itself. You don’t have to rely on memory of your godown manager, rather the delivery challan will have details of warehouse section from where certain packs are to be lifted and loaded on the truck.
Logical Batch Allocation: A distributor warehouse is full of packed goods lying everywhere with different batches of same SKU placed in different zones. Even if your system knows which batch is places in which zone, it needs to be decided which all batches should go out during today’s deliveries as the distributor cannot keep on piling up old stocks. If you want someone to manually decide on this, chances of mistake are quite high which could lead to expiry of goods – not a desirable situation either for the distributor or for the manufacturer. So why don’t let your DMS only suggest which batch to be picked up for a certain delivery basis some predefined algorithm such as FIFO or some other model? That will ensure your distributor is never piling up on old stocks and even if it does so, they have complete visibility of the same.
Route Optimization of Delivery Vehicles: Queuing up of trucks in front of distributor warehouses right from the day starts is a sign of growing business for the distributor. However, only a handful of then actually plan the delivery wisely to minimize the transportation cost. Even if a few does, it is entirely basis the personal experience and geographical knowledge of the delivery area of the individuals. With the advancement of technology in terms of real-time traffic analysis, point to point route determination, statistical methods to optimize routes and loading, you should definitely look for a DMS software which can take all the deliveries as an input and throws number of delivery vehicle required with the areas they will cover as an output.
Delivery Challan Generation: Most of the tuck loadings in distributor warehouses happen basis manual instruction on number of packs of SKUs to be loaded and their batch numbers. Even a small magnitude of error in that manual communication can cost significant rework or repeat work of many people. Ideally your DMS should able to print a delivery challan once the batch allocation and route optimization is done. The challan should have vehicle details, Packs to be loaded for each SKU, corresponding batch details and warehouse zone where the batches are kept. That would not only reduce the overall loading effort but will also minimize the chances of error to a great extent.
Transport Permit / E-Way Bill Generation: Responsibility of the distributor doesn’t end once the trucks are loaded for delivery, they need to also ensure that nothing unfortunate happens during the delivery process. While the accidents etc. can be taken care by insurance, any miss in legal paperwork won’t be so. In countries like India, these documentations differ with type of goods and penalty of any missing document during transport is quite severe. For example, in case of transport of alcoholic beverages Transport Permit is must and for most of the other goods, carrying E-way Bill is must. Even though some of the steps involve interacting with government website, your DMS software should have checks in the system so that certain steps cannot be performed without generation of these legal documents. For example, you can simply stop generating delivery challan if e-way bill number is not entered in the system and instruct the godown manager not to load any truck without a delivery challan. This way your DMS can help you to stay away from unnecessary legal tangle.