Software for beverage distributors in the non-alcoholic (N/A) segment contributes to success in production, keeping pace with demand, distribution and delivery, regulation compliance, and competing in a highly fragmented market.
Significant growth in the non-alcoholic beverage arena is anticipated with a forecasted revenue increase to USD 1252.54 billion by 2024 based on a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7% from 2019 to 2024. The majority of this rise is attributed to consumer influence on the industry with their demand for healthier, functional beverage choices, more sustainable packaging, and ready-to-drink (RTD) variations for constant on-the-move and hectic schedules consistent with today’s culture.
With the strong buying power of consumers, N/A beverage companies are seeking to meet the shifting preferences and expectations of their customer base. Software for beverage distributors streamlines and automates operations, so businesses can focus on satisfying consumers while continuing to stay relevant by innovating and competing among many companies in an industry marked by the constant emergence of trendy products.
As a highly fragmented market, the N/A beverage industry is full of competitors. Vying for success is often found in strategies of improving and/or expanding distribution channels, forming new agreements and partnerships, and introducing new products.
Acctivate, a software for beverage distributors delivers the breakthrough businesses need to strive by connecting all moving parts of an organization with features for real-time inventory management, purchasing, warehouse automation, multi-channel sales & fulfillment, customer relationship management and manufacturing.
Software for beverage distributors helps manage SKU proliferation
SKU proliferation is common among N/A beverage distributors as they innovate with variations in ingredients, flavors, packaging, and beverage types to stay attuned to evolving consumer preferences. But challenges often surface as product offerings increase the number of stock keeping units (SKUs).
A thought leader pointed out some challenges associated with SKU growth in the publication, Inbound Logistics:
- Higher volume orders and shipments with complex fulfillment requirements
- Deficiencies in picking processes
- Delivery/shipping during surges in capacity and for smaller quantities
- Shortage of warehousing capacity
- Lower volume SKU management & storage
- Portfolio depth and complexity
The versatile functionality of Acctivate empowers N/A beverage businesses to overcome these challenges and satisfy the needs of customers while not being constrained in managing voluminous product lines.
Fulfill high volume orders and deliver on-time with software for beverage distributors
Real-time inventory management with Acctivate provides total visibility into all SKUs combined with purchasing tools, i.e., demand forecasting and replenishment alerts that ensure the correct inventory levels are stocked within all warehouses. Orders can then be fulfilled without delay and delivered on-time, regardless of the intricacies and complex fulfillment requirements involved, such as with special orders, drop ship orders, blanket orders or 3PL fulfillment.
From the moment a quote is entered to it becoming an order, Acctivate takes the reins. Acctivate supports mobile sales order entry to accelerate the process and deliver precision with a mobile barcoding device. Whether a sales order is entered via a mobile device, the computer or by means of other sales channels, i.e., eCommerce and EDI, Acctivate streamlines and tracks the entire order process from entry to fulfillment to delivery and all follow-up that occurs, i.e., customer service.
Acctivate’s Order Manager is a beverage distributor’s central order hub and is significantly beneficial for handling high volume orders and shipments. From this single window, sales orders in all order and workflow statuses (i.e., quote, open, booked, backordered, ready to pick, etc.) can be seen and batch actions can be taken (i.e., printing/emailing documents, creating picklists, creating invoices, creating shipments and more).
Achieve efficient warehouse picking
The productivity in the labor behind fulfilling orders can be surpassed despite the workload with functionality that makes picking, packing, and shipping more efficient. The picking process can be optimized with intelligent, labor/cost saving functionality in Acctivate.
- Establish customizable or default workflow statuses (i.e., Pick in Progress, Picked, Shipped) that will update orders automatically during the fulfillment process to ensure orders remain on schedule to completion.
- Define warehouse layouts including aisles, walls, end caps, bin locations and walking paths for Acctivate to intelligently map the best routes for workers to pick orders.
- Batch pick multiple orders on a single picklist aligned with pre-defined picking sequences to follow within the warehouse for optimized output and accurate product pulling.
- Capture SKU, bin and/or lot barcodes with on-the-go scans using a mobile device and Acctivate Mobile Order Picking to complete a sales order accurately and prepare it for shipping.
Handle delivery/shipping of any capacity—parcel, freight, LTL, direct store delivery
After orders are picked and ready to pack and ship, Acctivate can directly integrate to carriers (i.e., FedEx, UPS, USPS) and multi-carrier shipping solutions (i.e., ShipStation, StarShip and ShipRush) to instantly send the order and address information. Then, Acctivate automatically retrieves package tracking and shipping cost and stores the data for printing labels and referencing later (i.e., for customer inquiries). This process automatically marks the orders as shipped and with a straightforward, swift approach the shipped orders can be invoiced in batch.
Regardless of how much is shipped and the method, i.e., via parcel, freight or Less than Truckload (LTL) carriers, Acctivate has the means to handle the shipment of beverages. Also, for beverage distributors who deliver directly to stores in a mobile environment, Acctivate Mobile supports route delivery. Delivery trucks can be loaded daily based on scheduled orders with pre-determined routes and stops and upon delivery inventory barcodes are scanned, the transaction is recorded wirelessly, and truck inventory is immediately adjusted.
Optimize warehousing with software for beverage distributors
With surges in SKUs, warehouses can quickly reach capacity, but with solid warehouse management capabilities in Acctivate, resolutions can be supported, such as…
- Multiple warehouses (actual and virtual) to better configure and organize inventory.
- Multiple locations within warehouses to maximize space via aisles, racks, bin locations, pallets, on trucks, or other company-defined areas.
- Consignment inventory management to store SKUs at customer storefronts or warehouses.
- Third-party logistics (3PL) outsourcing to utilize 3PL warehouses and services.
With Acctivate’s real-time visibility, list windows with key insights, the dashboard and reports can uncover poor performing inventory that can be handled appropriately and replaced with products that are in greater demand to maximize warehouse space.
On the flip side, issues can arise with handling and storing lower volume SKUs. Acctivate’s strength to know and maintain product history, current product performance, sales usage, and trends keeps beverage distributors apprised of which lower volume SKUs should remain in stock. For those SKUs, better allocation can be supported with drop shipping and special-order purchasing features in Acctivate.
- Drop shipping frees physical warehouse space for the distributor by having orders placed with the manufacturer or other dropship vendor, who directly ships to the customer from their own warehouses. Acctivate manages all dropship purchase orders in a single interface for one-click sales order creation for vendors to complete the orders.
- Special order purchasing leaves inventoried stock unaffected. Acctivate enables products to be designated as special order on sales orders or as special-order products that will not be ordered for stock. Acctivate consolidates multiple sales orders with special order items for multiple customers into a single purchase order per vendor.
Manage portfolio depth and complexity with software for beverage distributors
The product portfolios of every SKU are detailed and stored in Acctivate. The product information windows in Acctivate include:
- Multiple alternate product IDs
- Detailed product specifications with product images
- Multiple units of measure, which supports differing units for stocking, purchasing, selling, and packaging.
- Inventory transaction, order and purchasing history
- Pricing with flexibility to handle virtually all pricing situations, i.e., multi-tiered, specials, discounts, upcharges, promos + more (pricing can also be controlled at the customer level along with contract pricing).
- Lots can be maintained for each product for accurate traceability that helps ensure quality controls and safety measures with details such as expiration date.
Software for beverage distributors helps expand and improve distribution channels
With the N/A beverage industry being intensely competitive, reaching customers via different distribution channels is an ideal strategy. There are many distribution channels for N/A beverages such as:
- Supermarkets & general merchandisers, i.e. Walmart and Target
- Convenience stores & gas stations
- Vending machines & kiosks
- Food service, bars & hospitality establishments
- Online shopping portals
Acctivate can help beverage distributors enter or improve any sales channel and dominate with tools to manage all product sales from order to fulfillment to delivery. All functionality explained previously for inventory management, order processing, and fulfillment applies to all sales channels and unifies all the data in Acctivate to manage all operations with ease.
Retail distribution includes the use of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) to bring product to market in certain retail stores, in which some major players for beverage distributors are Walmart, Amazon and 7-Eleven. Whichever retailer grants a contract to a beverage distributor, Acctivate EDI integrated with top EDI providers (i.e., TrueCommerce, SPS Commerce and B2BGateway) helps the distributor adhere to retailer requirements, fulfill the orders seamlessly and maintain a solid relationship.
According to a report by Grand View Research the online distribution channel is expected to be the fastest growing segment, increasing at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2019 to 2025. Acctivate integrates with popular eCommerce platforms and marketplaces, including Amazon, Magento, Volusion, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and more to help businesses appeal to those wanting the convenience, immediacy, and variety of product options that online distribution provides. Online orders are maintained in Acctivate with all other orders from all sales channels ensuring accurate inventory levels as orders, tracking info, product availability and customers are automatically synced between Acctivate and the web store.
Software for beverage distributors helps satisfy customer needs
As N/A beverage distributors thrive within their competitive environment by continually innovating and launching new products, the need for having a technological counterpart is necessary to understand customer demand and meet their expectations.
Acctivate satisfies that need with CRM capabilities that are operational and analytical. On the operational side, Acctivate delivers insights gathered from the quote-to-fulfillment processes; and on the analytical side, customer information, customer activities and product information are maintained. All this data empowers beverage distributors to strategize effectively when it comes to fully satisfying customers on the level of their shifting preferences.
Software for beverage distributors delivers tools for production success
For distributors that also produce their beverage products, Acctivate has Batch Process Manufacturing functionality. Acctivate manages the design, specs and batch production of the recipes/formulas used to create the beverages, including easy accommodation of ingredient and batch yield variations. The bill of materials (BOM) in Acctivate allows an unlimited number of ingredients and other components, i.e., the packaging, such as the bottle, to be recorded and marked either as variable or fixed.
The production details recorded and stored in Acctivate also deliver concise data for regulatory requirements, i.e., expiration date, source, lot, inspection, and quarantine information. Acctivate also tracks the production in real-time with workflow management, revealing stages, i.e., what is work in process (WIP), in progress and completed for locating products instantly and performing cost analysis by area to help with productivity.
Software for beverage distributors tightly integrated with QuickBooks
Acctivate is a well-rounded solution for small to mid-sized beverage companies with the bonus of seamlessly integrating with QuickBooks for financials. Having two strong solutions combined into a complete business management system gives beverage distributors the competitive advantage needed to thrive as they adapt to changes in demand, strategy, sales channels, regulations and more.
Get started today!
One of our Acctivate specialists would love to talk to you and discuss your specific N/A beverage distribution business needs. Call us at 817-870-1311 or get started with a free trial.