Retailers of all sizes work hard to meet the needs and demands of their customers. In the past, that meant using data from previous periods, as well as predictive techniques to determine the amount of product to order and when. These days, however, technology is being incorporated in nearly every sector, and it drives one of the most important factors in shelve stocking, direct store delivery. Three important technologies form the foundation of this form of inventory control; predictive analytics, connected store shelves and load tracking and monitoring.
Statistical modeling, data mining and a variety of mathematical techniques are employed by predictive analytics. These factors examine both current and past data to predict what will happen in the future, based on the specific parameters. In a retail establishment, historical and transaction data are the most prevalent. This information is analyzed and predictions are made as to how demand will rise, or fall, within a set period of time. This allows for better inventory control as well as improved customer service by providing shoppers with the products they want, when they want them.
In much the same way that a home refrigerator with smart technology keeps track of what you have on hand, or what you’ve run out of, connected store shelves communicate inventory levels. They can also alert managers, and others within the supply chain of slow-moving, or overstocked merchandise. This ensures that products that are in high demand are always in stock, and that those will low, or no, demand no longer end up on the order sheet. Thus, waste is reduced and shelf space can be appropriated in a more efficient manner.
Tracking & Monitoring
It is frustrating to wait for a truck to arrive with product, especially when there are customers waiting to make a purchase. It’s even more frustrating to receive what you believe is a complete order, only to discover after the driver has left that there are items missing. Thankfully, these issues are fast becoming obsolete. Drivers regularly use GPS to determine the most efficient route to a location, thus avoiding traffic backups and other issues that lead to late deliveries. Once they arrive, the cargo is scanned and compared with the manifest and customer order to ensure everything matches.
Direct store delivery has become a mainstay for distributors of all types of products, from beverages to perishable foods and beyond. As technology evolves and becomes even more integrated into supply chains, this trend is likely to continue to improve operations for retailers, distributors and logistics providers alike. For consumers, this integration means always being able to find the products they want and need from their favorite retailers.