Finding the Right Proof of Delivery System in Food Distribution

Learn the ins and outs of finding the right POD system.

Do you remember the 2006 spinach scare, or perhaps the 2009 peanut butter recall? Events such as these, in addition to the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), which outlines a course of action to achieve supply-chain wide adoption of electronic traceability on every case of produce by 2012, has made food traceability an increasingly important issue.

However, it’s important to recognize that these recalls could have been prevented, or at least handled faster, had the proper mobile distribution solution been used. A quality Proof of Delivery (POD) system would increase accuracy in deliveries, but also ensure food traceability. Knowing that a POD can improve food traceability and ensure PIT compliance by 2012, how do you choose a system that’s right for you?

Here’s some tips and next steps to ensure your POD implementation goes as smoothly as possible:

Step 1: Conduct a Mobile Assessment
Determine your technological needs by asking:what is your operational purpose?

  • Are you satisfied with your current level of automation or do you want to improve it?
  • Are your customers satisfied with your solutions or are they demanding improvement?
  • What are your competitors doing and why?

Determine your goals by considering:

  • Eliminating paper handling and other manual processes
  • Lowering your operational expenses
  • The inventory of what you already have

Analyze how you manage your drivers and keep track of deliveries:

  • Is this done in one system fully integrated or with several pieces operating in parallel?
  • Are you optimizing your fleet and driver utilization?
  • Are drivers performing tasks in an optimal manner?
  • How prepared are you for the impending regulatory changes that will impact your driver productivity?
  • Are your fleet vehicles operating efficiently?
  • Do you take many customer calls for updates on deliveries?
  • Do you monitor driver progress through the day? How?

Question the perception of your customer interface point

  • Does your driver carry a clipboard? Why?
  • What types of papers do your drivers touch during the day and why?
  • How do your drivers document overages, shortages and damages?
  • How do your drivers document special services or other incremental items?
  • Do your drivers know the exact pricing and current promotions for each of the products they are delivering at all times?
  • Have papers ever gotten wet or lost or left behind at the customer’s site? What did that cost you in lost revenue, time and customer service?
  • Do you collect payment on the spot? Could you or your customers benefit from real-time processing?

Step 2: Analyze IT / Business Roadmap
Conduct an assessment of your current information technology (IT) infrastructure and determine what you want to achieve in the future.

  • Does your company still rely on manual data entry and invoice generation?
  • Can your dispatch operator see a real-time picture of each driver’s
    location and which deliveries have been made?
  • What are the plans for your company – are you looking to expand your delivery fleet or increase the number of customers for whom or to whom you deliver?

Step 3: Review Technology & Manufacturer Advancements
Observe current technology and manufacturing trends in the market.

  • What is the future of POD systems and how can this help your company be even more successful?
  • What are the effects of PTI information and how it is captured
  • How are other companies automating their payment and confirmation systems

Step 4:Learn about Customer Successes/Failures
Ask questions about your partner’s previous implementations.

  • Considering the number of POD system installations that have been completed to date, there are a number of successes and failures to draw from
  • If you are looking to implement GPS tracking in your handheld devices and a converged tracking system for your dispatch, look into similar installations to see what functionalities this type of system would offer or where integration issues may arise.

Step 5: Make an Educated Decision
Make your decision
Taking a look at all the information and insights you have gathered and compare it to the recommendations of your trusted implementation partner and decide what makes the most sense for your company today and into the future.

Learn more on food traceability solutions here, or download our whitepaper.