E-Commerce and the Growing Demand for Snacks

Now more than ever, implementing and maintaining an efficient E-Commerce platform is vital to the success of your business. Click the link below to read an article published by bakingbusiness.com that further illustrates the importance of having an online solution for your customers.

Contact us today to learn how we can help! Email info@bmobileroute.com or call (208) 331-5667


"Snacks see strong demand during pandemic"

https://www.bakingbusiness.com/articles/51101-snacks-see-strong-demand-during-pandemic

5 Things to Consider When Looking for a Route Accounting Solution

These are the top five things we consider to be most important when searching for a route accounting system. This list was created by us through working closely with current clients, as well as speaking with potential customers to determine their needs from a Route Accounting Solution. Overall, the new system needs to save you money or increase profit margins. If neither is the case, the system is inefficient and simply not a good fit.

1. Speaking to your current process/procedures – do you notice any redundancy, control issues, or costly errors? To further illustrate the redundancy aspect, let us pose these questions:

• Are you writing invoices/orders on paper only to later re-key them into the system?
• Is the Sales Team having to spend time correcting pre-printed invoices on paper, then spend more time entering those corrections into the system?
• Are you receiving orders via email that must be written down on order forms or entered into the system?

Although the manual redundancy may not wear excessively on your business in terms of financial loss, the time that is spent and lost on this process could be better managed by utilizing an electronic solution. Additional areas of loss, both financial and otherwise, can be found in inventory/cash control and customer satisfaction. Theft of inventory and cash are obviously of great concern when it comes to minimizing risk. Implementing and fully utilizing a DSD solution can help you keep accurate electronic records of cash flow and inventory counts, thus offering greater control in minimizing loss.

2. Is your current solution an antiquated legacy solution, or worse – are you still using paper? If so, it likely does not offer you or your customers the information and efficiencies you both need. The efficiency gaps that accompany a paper system are obvious. Most importantly, it can be extremely difficult to accurately report data from a paper trail. 

• Tracking trends, price changes, customer history, etc. can be overwhelming to keep track of on paper.
• Additionally, the added pressure of ensuring the correct person in your company receives the data can lead to information getting “lost in transit.” Human errors can occur, leading to further frustrations on not only your end, but your customer’s end as well.
• Lastly, having to capture the customer signature in ink can be a nuisance. With so much of today’s world being digitalized, customers have come to expect the flexibility of an electronic solution.

Whereas you may have an electronic solution in the form of a legacy program, that can also further complicate things. Legacy systems are:
• Older programs, not up to date
• Running on older hardware that is likely not supported or can be hard to find
• The data can be difficult to manage and report on due to the overly simplistic nature of the solution

3. When searching for a Route Accounting Solution it is also important to take into consideration additional avenues for revenue. For example,
• Does the system you are considering offer an Ecommerce portal and device app for your customers to self-serve?
• Does the system offer promo tracking? This is especially important for price changes and promotional events throughout the year
• Does the system offer enough flexibility to allow you the freedom of expanding your product line without expanding your team?

A great electronic solution will help you increase revenue, without costing you extra money.

4. Consider the system’s Accounting/ERP Integration factor. One of the main purposes an electronic solution serves is to help streamline your efficiency.
• How long will it take the Executives of your company to get accurate financial data?
• How can you import data into the system, and how detailed can it be?
• How long will it take you to update your financial statements, inventory, and Customer information?

If the electronic solution does not offer integration with your current accounting program, the efficiency gaps will not be remedied, and you will essentially be stuck in a vicious redundant cycle of manual data entry and correcting errors.

5. Lastly, consider the potential partnership with the software provider.
• Are they a Partner or a Vendor?
• Will you receive timely answers to your questions?
• Will they demonstrate how to get the most out of the software?
• What are the technical support hours?
• Are the reps friendly and knowledgeable?

This last point may seem unimportant to some but getting answers to these points can illuminate the type of relationship the company offers its customers.


bMobile Route Software has been helping businesses like yours for over 20 years streamline efficiency, increase profits, and offer solutions to your pain points. We have answers to your problems! To see our software in action, visit www.bmobileroute.com, call (888) 900-5667, or email info@bmobileroute.com to schedule a demo today!

The Benefits of Using Standardized Tools

This week we thought it would be great to talk about standardization. It is important that the software you use and the companies who support that software use standardized tools.  There are many software solutions out there for many types of uses, but as you look into them it becomes important to recognize the need for strong control over them. In order to achieve this, most use tools that have been accepted by the developers who create them and the staff who supports them.

There are multiple reasons for wanting to control these tools, each with their own benefits. Some of those are:

Support of the manufacturers  – This is probably the biggest reason of all. The manufacturers of the tools used to program such applications at bMobile Route Manager and other tools used to support the application provide their own patches and updates to these tools to keep them up to date. They fix bugs and other issues with their product and assure compatibility with changes to operating systems and the release of new operating systems. In our world, we see constant updates to mobile devices in the form of Android updates. It is important that we have the latest tools to make sure we are ready for any upcoming changes that might impact our application and prevent users from being able to get full use out of it.

Virus scanners and firewalls – We often see applications get shut out by virus scanners and other firewalls, including both hardware like SonicWall and software.  It is important that those tools are controllable by support staff in order to make exceptions for the applications and assure that they will continue to work with these important security measures in place. Well known and widely accepted security tools are the key to making this happen.  Often we see more obscure or lesser known products do damage to applications through the quarantine process. Always check with your application provider before putting a new security tool in use.

Easy to troubleshoot – The more standard a tool used to write an application is, the easier it is for the developers to troubleshoot issues. This also applies to database engines and other components such as the web services used to move data back and forth from device to desktop. E-commerce brings along additional components and the more those are standardized, the more control the end user has over the look and feel.

Recognized ecosystem of other applications and other integration points – In this day and age, users are interested in tying applications together to move data back and forth. Having a recognized tool to do this makes it easier to accomplish these goals and get applications to talk to each other. Having a product like Route Manager with the ability to push and pull data from ERP systems like QuickBooks, NetSuite, or the Sage line of products is invaluable. Users also look to be able to extract key data to do KPI reports and use them in their Business Intelligence (BI) tools to make sound business decisions.

Training users – Having standardized tools makes it easier to train users and also provides the benefit of having a user community that is often available online to help diagnose issues or provide training on the usage of those tools.

All of these reasons are important when considering a software solution. You want to make sure that the provider uses standard tools to create and support the applications. We know that taking a little time to make sure that is in place will pay off in the long run and make your experience a positive one.

Paper and Printer Sale!

Paper & Printer FLASH SALE

Paper 10% off / Printers $200 off

Available now through the end of May


Announcing:

New larger rolls and premium paper available for Printek 541

166 ft. vs 72 ft!

 

Original 4" Thermal Paper

10% off total order

Print an invoice for less than $0.03!

Compatible with Zebra, Printek, DataMax
O'Neil, and more...

1 -9 cases = $65/cs
10 - 19 cases = $60/cs
20+ = $55/cs


(72 feet / 24 rolls to a case)

Printek 541 Thermal Paper

10% off total order
Print an invoice for less than $0.03!

 

Standard weight paper - larger rolls

1 - 9 cases = $150/cs
10 - 19 cases = $140/cs
20+ cases = $130/cs

(166 feet per roll / 50 rolls in a case)

Premium weight paper - larger rolls

Best suited for more adverse conditions,
such as warehouse, humidity, or non-climate
controlled conditions.

1 - 9 cases = $160/cs
10 - 19 cases = $150/cs
20+ cases = $140/cs

(166 feet per roll / 50 rolls in a case)

Printer Sale

The FieldPro 541 is more efficient than ever, boasting a longer battery life, quicker performance, larger paper capacity, and a rugged design protecting it from water, dust,
falling, and more.

  • Comes with either an auto charger or wall charger, making it versatile for any situation
  • Easy-to-read control face
  • Prints a variety of receipts
  • Quick and easy to configure
  • Compatible with Android

Normally $850 - now on sale for $650!
Includes wall charger and 2 year warranty.

Contact our office today at (888) 900-5667 or email us at info@bmobileroute.com to place your order

Maintaining Social Distancing During Deliveries

Making deliveries during the current pandemic can prove to be exceptionally daunting. Maintaining social distancing to ensure the safety of both drivers and customers is crucial to help prevent viral transmission. In this post, we want to share our 5 tips for making safe deliveries.

Let the customer sign, then clean device/screen with disinfectant

A self-explanatory and common-sense practice. If a signature is absolutely required, assure your drivers are taking extra cautionary measures to slow or stop the transmission by supplying them with disinfectant screen/device wipes. Additionally, ask them to not only clean the device/screen post signature, but also pre signature. This will help put your customers at ease and offer confirmation to them that you take their health seriously and are complying with current CDC guidelines.

Take a photo

Lastly, utilizing the photo option from the signature panel will enable your drivers to capture a store stamp on the paper invoice, or allow them to take a photo of whatever is needed to validate the location of delivery. Major courier companies like Amazon utilize this tactic often, when capturing a signature is not an option.

Have the driver sign for the customer

In an effort to safeguard your customers and drivers, while still fulfilling the need for a signature – consider allowing drivers to sign for the customer. The customer will give their acknowledgement of delivery, then give your driver verbal permission to sign for it. This can easily be done while maintaining the current CDC guidelines of keeping 6ft apart from one another.

RouteMizer

Our RouteMizer software utilizes Google Maps to track location. This feature can help you capture the latitude and longitude of the delivery during the save of the invoice. This can be especially helpful if there is nobody available for signature, or a customer refuses to sign for delivery to minimize risk of infection.

Waive signature requirements for the interim

If possible, you may consider waiving signature requirements for delivery. Although it can be less than ideal, to ensure you fully minimize transmission risk as much as possible it may benefit your drivers and customers to omit signature upon delivery.


bMobile Route Software cares about your business and your customers and wants to help you continue making deliveries safely. With these options, assuring you are keeping yourself, your drivers, and your customers safe is made easy. If you have any questions about these options, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Additionally, if you have discovered even more ways to make deliveries safer, let us know! We would love to hear how your business is taking part to help flatten the curve and reduce transmission.

 

Walgreens EDI Requirements

Today’s post will offer some basic information regarding the new EDI requirements Walgreens has set for their suppliers. Although these changes were first made public by Walgreens in April of 2018, not every store is currently operating under these new requirements. Additionally, we will briefly define the new classifications that Walgreens’ suppliers will operate as.

WHAT’S CHANGING?

EDI has always been offered as an option for Walgreens’ suppliers and distributors, however EDI compliance has now become a requirement. The catalyst for this change came in the form of a new partnership between Walgreens and a company called SPS Commerce, that specializes in EDI transactions. SPS Commerce offers Walgreens a full integration with their SAP accounting system and for the last few years, Walgreens has slowly begun implementing this change in all of their stores across the country. So as a supplier, what do these new requirements mean for you? When the Walgreens locations that you deliver to become live on their new SAP system, you will be required to become 100% EDI compliant and registered through the SPS Commerce platform. bMobile makes this transition easy for you by having the capability to become fully integrated and streamlined through this EDI process.

NEW CLASSIFICATIONS

Moving onto the different classifications, Walgreens will now classify their suppliers into two categories - Auto-replenishment Suppler or Rack Jobber. If you are classified as an Auto-replenishment supplier through Walgreens, you will need a more complex and advanced EDI system, as you will be sending various forms through the EDI portal in SPS Commerce. To request product, each location will electronically send you a purchase order clearly detailing an exact quantity of each item they need. A positive attribute to this classification is credit processing by the supplier will no longer be required, as Walgreens will now be in 100% control over what is being ordered. A potential downfall to this new process is that drivers will no longer be able to sell additional product and will not be able to add any additional quantities to the order. Simplistically, what you receive via automated purchase order from each location, is what you will deliver. Any variances will need to be reported via the EDI portal within SPS Commerce.

The second classification will be referred to as a Rack Jobber. This classification is best explained as a standard scheduled DSD stop – a driver will arrive at the location, survey the shelf space, process credits and build an invoice. However, be aware that with this classification specifically, Walgreens will suggest upgrading to a Scan Based Trading (SBT) model system. Since many stores are beginning to favor an SBT model, bMobile has the ability to help you seamlessly implement this type of system. Transitioning to this system is currently not a requirement for this classification and as such, we suggest discussing this option with each location you supply.

HOW CAN bMOBILE HELP?

bMobile offers solutions to help ensure you are 100% EDI compliant through SPS Commerce by utilizing all forms required by Walgreens. This includes 850 (PO,) 856 (ASN,) and 810 (Invoice/Credit.) By reviewing your classification as a supplier and your volume, bMobile can consult with you the best course of action. Contact us today to discuss available options!

Watch our YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp0xRjWKdYI&t=40s

bMobile is Attending IBIE!

bMobile Route Software is heading to the 2019 International Baking Institute Expo (IBIE)!

IBIE is an expo that is only held every three years. bMobile has engaged with some of its most valuable clients at this show. We are excited to have the privilege of participating again on Sept 8th through the 11th at booth #171.

IBIE Logo

The show will be presented with everything needed to run any type of bakery business, from cake decorating utensils to fully automated manufacturing lines. The machinery that is present at this show is truly amazing.

The show is expecting more than 23,000 baking professionals from every aspect of the industry to come together at IBIE to leverage their opportunities, acquire what’s new and move their operations forward.

bMobile Route Software will be there to highlight our Android based:

  • Mobile invoicing/ordering
  • Mobile customer management
  • Mobile inventory management

With these topics, we will discuss how they are built for companies in the baking industry that deliver their own products. 

We will also be highlighting solutions around some other areas including:

  • Customer Forecasting
  • Credit Card / ACH Payment Processing
  • Ecommerce and Phone App Customer Ordering
  • DEX for Large Chain Stores
  • Route Optimization

We are in Booth #171!

Dex for Walmart

Recently we’ve had a large amount of calls regarding Walmart and the switch to DEX from other forms of EDI. Here is what this means to you if you’ve been contacted by Walmart.

First, if you have never heard of DEX, the process is both one of the oldest forms of EDI and one of the most immediate for getting your product and invoices into the system of your customer.

DEX was introduced in the late 1980’s and the technology behind it looks fairly simple. It usually consists of a DEX cable that has a plug-in on the end that is the same size as a standard stereo plug like you might see on a pair of headphones.

When in use, this cable connects physically or wirelessly to a mobile device running a route management system like bMobile Route Manager. From there, once the delivery is at the store, the driver simply takes the cable and plugs it into a jack in the receiving dock, which then allows the driver to electronically send a copy of the delivery into the store’s computer system.

There are two files that usually get sent, 894 and 895 records. The 894 is the delivery record, which the receiver then gets on their end allowing them to confirm the items in the delivery, and then if there are any returns, the 895 is also transmitted.

The advantages of this are as follows:

  • The delivery is in the customer system immediately, thus reducing time to pay
  • The items on the delivery are validated using the UPC code and eliminate any driver entry error – also both price and quantity are validated
  • It provides a way for the supplier (you) and the customer to remove any disputes on deliveries, thus reducing chargebacks and other issues

Walmart has been requiring suppliers to use EDI through either a VAN (a third party who handles the transactions) or have those transactions sent directly to their servers. But this method has always been ‘after the fact’ once the driver returned to the office and uploaded the day’s information into the supplier’s route system. This means there would be a delay in getting that information back to Walmart for remittance.

Now, Walmart is adopting DEX and asking all suppliers to use this technology. While to some it may seem like using the oldest EDI method is a step back, it is actually a smart move on one of the largest retailers in the world. It will speed up your payments from them and eliminate errors on the delivery records.

If you want to know more about how to add a DEX solution to your bMobile Route Manager and serve customers like Walmart and many others, please give us a call and we’ll be glad to show you more about how this can help!

Call: 1+(888) 900-5667

Email: info@bmobileroute.com

You can also view the Walmart DEX supplier requirements and standards here.

Need DEX to Grow Your Business?

There are relatively few barriers to entry if a supplier wants to DEX with a retailer, and with a bit of planning, implementation can go quite smoothly. A small manufacturer may be interested in expanding their business to retailers that require DEX, but both the supplier and the consultant they are working with might not have much experience. Here are a few things to think about as you begin your DEX journey in Direct Store Delivery and how bMobile Route Software can make the process easier.

1. Setup

One of the most important aspects in a DEX implementation for a supplier may be in the communication channel that is set up with the retailers. Different retailers have different processes that suppliers must adhere to before the supplier will be allowed to DEX. At the product level, this might mean an audit of the product and price list that the supplier and retailer have to insure that they match. At the software level, it can mean a host of things. Many of the large chains have predefined technical specifications for what information must be included in a DEX transmission. Sometimes, even though the standard may list a certain piece of information as optional, the retailer will require it.

Certification of the software may also be necessary. This usually involves a trip to the retailer’s headquarters to run the software through a variety of scenarios that may happen in the DEX process. bMobile can flexibly integrate with various businesses such as Target, CVS, and more.

2. Software

The retailer’s solutions, although customized for their needs, may come with much of the DEX functionality built into certain modules that they must install and activate. The supplier’s solution may come with the route accounting software that is being used, but at times this software is not compatible. This may necessitate some customization of the software to make it DEX capable. Making the software capable will require that the invoice be translated into the proper DEX format, and translated back out of the format for reconciliation. The DEX software will also have to transfer identifying information and perform communications handshakes with the retailer’s system. bMobile Route Software can subvert these steps by being able to integrate with many different systems from the get-go. This makes the transition to DEX easy and efficient for both the organization and the driver/operator.

3. Integration

When the route accounting software is in place and DEX capable, it is important that the proper integration takes place with the suppliers system. Because the DEX process is the proof of delivery, it is important to record some of the information such as the digital signature from the transmission for later usage.

Expanding your direct store delivery operations to retailers that require DEX can be very profitable. It is important to make sure you have a software partner that understands DEX and can provide the best DSD solution for your business.

Interested in using bMobile Route Software to integrate DEX into your business? Don’t hesitate to Contact Us! We’ll help you set up all devices with our route software for all your DEX needs.

Adapted From Original Article by Gimme DSD; Posted With Permission

Tech Tips from the bMobile Tech Team

Hello out there! Today we thought it would be interesting to talk about barcodes, commonly referred to as UPC codes, and why those are useful to distributors in the field. You’ve likely seen other distributors using scanning devices as they create orders and the receivers in the back dock at your customer locations using their own ‘guns’ to scan in those items that you are delivering. We thought it would be a great idea to discuss why this method is so useful to distributors.

Barcodes are everywhere and on nearly every product that you handle today. Originally designed in the 1930s and patented in the 1940s, they didn’t come into widespread use in retail applications until the 1970s. Fun fact, the first retail scan was of a Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit pack of gum in a supermarket in 1974!

The basic idea of barcodes is simple. The printed pattern represents a string of numbers and/or characters and a scanner reads this pattern. It then converts it to that string in order to feed it to an application like Point of Sale registers and our bMobile RouteManager and bMobile Inventory applications.  The barcode reader usually has a laser or scanning device that looks at the barcode, measures it, and interprets the length of each line and the spaces between them to do that conversion.

As a distributor, barcoding makes sense for companies that have really large lists of items. It allows the lookup of items in order to add them to invoices quickly without having to memorize part numbers. It also allows warehouse workers to use them to complete the picking and receiving of items. Another big use of UPC data is in the EDI and DEX processes. The UPC code becomes a ‘common’ number between two different companies, who may have different internal item numbers for the same physical item. This UPC code acts as a translation between such systems.

The most common UPC codes that we see are UPC-A, UPC-E, and EAN-13. While these codes are the basic standards we encounter in the field, there are literally hundreds of other codes in use for all sorts of industries, even postal services! And now there are newer 3-D codes that are even showing up on drivers’ licenses and other forms of personal identification like passports.

Each distributor usually decides for themselves where having barcode scanning will make an impact on efficiency. Sometimes UPC data is only needed for the EDI and DEX processes and aren’t used in scanning. It all just depends on the distributor.  And because how they use the codes and where they use them is important, having the right device to handle that scanning makes a big difference.  If you are working in a warehouse, you might opt for using a rugged device that integrates the scanner with the handheld device. This allows the user to hold the device with one hand while pulling the inventory items with the other.

For users such as merchandisers out in the field who may not actually be handling much product while writing new orders, it might make sense to use larger devices (Android-powered tablets for example) in conjunction with a handheld scanner. The ergonomics between the two uses often determines which method you chose. Naturally, cost and durability also plays a part in any decision you might make.

Handheld scanners are separate devices that usually connect via Bluetooth to the handheld device (Android powered tablets) and bMobile has a list of both rugged, integrated devices and separate handheld scanners. This list can help you start thinking about what kinds of scanners you would want to use across your enterprise.  Among the more popular devices on the market, Socket scanners makes handheld scanners in a variety of configurations that work for most any user. Both Zebra and CipherLab have rugged, integrated units. The links below are to the certified scanners for the bMobile applications.

No matter what kind of product you distribute, you will likely benefit from the efficiency of having UPC codes and scanners. They facilitate quick entry of product and allow for a reduction in mistakes from the manual ‘lookup’ process. If you want to know more about using barcodes in your bMobile solution, just give us a call and we’ll gladly walk through the process with you. You’ll be glad you did!

Top