28 September 2018

What does the future of bulk distribution look like?

Stacks of paperwork don’t often add up to operational efficiency. And for bulk suppliers responsible for transporting their precious cargo across miles of open road, inefficient processes prevent them from being able to react and respond with professional agility. The nature of the business may be mobile, but arduous working practices can slow even the most pioneering bulk distributor.

‘Mobility’ in today’s digital landscape means having real-time data and the knowledge and insight to act on it. It’s having the ability to access and tap into your business’s internal operations via any device - remotely, from the field or indeed from anywhere in the world. This kind of mobility simply isn’t achievable using manual methods though, only logistics optimisation software can enable true operational dexterity.

A partial view can hamper bulk distribution

Having separate copies and versions of your business’s documents is a sure-fire route to laborious and potentially-confusing working processes. A spreadsheet here, a word document there and a written list somewhere else – each acting as an information silo – only serves to muddy the waters in terms of seeing what’s really going on inside your business and makes fact-checking all but impossible.

And when it comes to managing a fleet of vehicles and their loads, such fragmented practices cannot hope to accurately reflect their movements. It may be impossible to reconcile a delivery without one crucial piece of data, but when it’s buried in a mountain of paperwork or only recorded on a spreadsheet that exists on one particular laptop, productivity can suddenly hit a wall.

Disjointed systems also make the risk of human error far higher which, all in all, leaves a bulk supplier with a pretty poor view of business performance and little hope of improving things. Add to that the complexities of dealing with unexpected snags, such as problems on the road, vehicle maintenance issues and unavoidable delivery failures, and clunky operational processes can soon start affecting a business’s margins.

As things change and all the elements of your bulk supply operations move in and around the field, you need an up-to-the-minute feed of data informing a single central view of your business.

Mobile computing solutions can offer an answer

So, how can bulk distribution companies unravel the disorder of manual operations and streamline the way they work? The answer lies in software and computing solutions that assimilate all sources of real-time data and enable the quick and easy access of key business information at the touch of a button.

Spreadsheets and word documents cannot give you a live view of exactly where every vehicle in your fleet is at any one time. However, software solutions can provide full visibility of your fleet’s movements on a digital map, alongside job information for each driver, load and vehicle. It also enables real-time communication between your drivers and your load planners at your central data hub, as well as your customers, keeping all parties informed of anything that may affect the time of delivery. Once delivery has been made successfully, your drivers can log proof remotely, notify your teams back at base and prompt them to raise digital invoices instantly.

In essence, mobile computing solutions and software take the guesswork out of bulk distribution management. Rather than relying on outdated information or just one department’s view of your business, your operational performance can thrive on a diet of real-time data, fleet-wide visibility and connected processes. 

Don’t let antiquated working practices hold your bulk distribution business back. Deploy a specialist mobile computing solution with the potential to help you propel your business forward.

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