Running a food distribution business isn’t easy! As a distributor there is often a thousand different things to do in such a short space of time. Mistakes do happen, but the way you limit and action your mistakes will determine your businesses success.
Whether it be inventory management, invoicing or payments there are many different avenues for error. Here are 5 of the costliest food distribution mistakes and how your business can avoid them.
Let’s get into it.
Mistake 1: Invoicing customers manually
How long do you spend creating invoices? Manual invoicing is a frustrating task! Not only does it waste your time, but it also leads to costly errors.
Above else, Manual invoicing increases the time it takes customers to pay their invoices. With the food distribution industry facing long payment wait times, you need to make your invoicing process as fast and simple as possible.
The solution for Food distribution business is to implement a Payment Gateway. A payment gateway provides business with an automated payment solution. Everything from invoicing to receipting is automated – giving you more time to focus on other areas of your business.
Using a Food Distribution management software like EasyVend with a Payment Gateway the following processes are automated.
- Customer invoices are generated and sent automatically at the correct interval
- The payment is taken automatically at the agreed time
- The payment is automatically allocated and receipted to the correct invoice
- Complex discounts, rebate structures, multiple price levels and price adjustments.
The benefit of a Payment Gateway is it increases your cashflow and gives you back hours of time!
You never have to create or allocate invoices again!
Mistake 2: Taking orders by SMS or Email
Let’s face it, taking orders by SMS or Email is time consuming, not just for you but also your customer. Put yourself in your customers shoes, they need to manually type in the order, quantity, and delivery date. There is a high risk for error.
For your distribution business you need to receive the order, enter the order details into your management system, generate an invoice and fulfil the order. Just saying it sounds exhausting!
The reason why taking orders manually is so costly for businesses is because customers turning away from businesses that don’t offer Online Ordering. Customers want to order with ease, they don’t have the time to sit down and manually type their orders anymore. If you want to stay competitive in the food distribution industry you need to implement an online ordering website.
Mistake 3: Products expire before they are sold
There is nothing worse than having a product expire before it is sold. You have to write off the product - which only impacts your bottom line. There’s only a certain number of products you can write off before you find yourself in a cashflow hole.
To reduce the risk of products expiring before they are sold, your business needs to forecast sales. Using a food distribution management software, you can analyse customer buying lifecycles and forecast the sales you will receive. The benefit of forecasting your orders is you limit the risk of over or under stocking products.
Mistake 4: Providing paper POD copies
We’ve all been there! Losing a POD docket. It’s frustrating and causes all sorts of issues. For your distribution business having a frustrated customer is the last thing you want. The old way of carrying a docket book, filling in the docket, ripping it and providing it to a customer is over. It’s time consuming and costly.
To stay competitive your business needs to provide electronic POD copies to customers. The benefit of recording PODs electronically is you can email copies to your customer instantly! This way you can avoid the common customer POD docket loss issue.
Mistake 5: Not offering card payments
How long do you spend chasing payments? Arguably the biggest mistake distributors make is not giving customers the ability to pay by card. As the industry faces long wait times for payment, you simply can’t afford to not accept card payments.
To get customers to pay their debts faster you need to make their payment process easy. Give your customers the ability to pay now. Using a pay now feature, your customers can instantly pay their invoices electronically by pressing a pay now button attached to the standard email invoice. All they need to do is fill in their card details and press submit.
For what was once a long, complicated process, a pay now button simplifies your customers payment process, increases your cashflow and maximises profit.
In any business there is going to be mistakes but what will determine your success or failure is the way you minimise the impacts they have. Using the tips mentioned above your business will go a long way to removing the common mistakes made in the food distribution industry.
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For food vendors and distributors, EasyVend supports and automates every part of your business, freeing you up to grow your sales unlike other ERP systems that are designed more for wholesale suppliers than for distribution businesses like yours.