Route Accounting DSD Mobile Printing Solutions Global AlliancesSource: Datamax - O'Neil
One of the most ubiquitous business functions already benefiting from mobile technology is commonly called route accounting or direct store delivery (DSD) -- that is, the regular delivery of a vast array of consumer package goods (CPG) to retail stores around the world. Soft drinks, beer, bottled water, potato chips, bread, cigarettes, magazines, and newspapers all have to be delivered and accounted for, often on a daily basis. A sizable percentage of the Fortune 500 are CPG companies rely on Motorola handheld computers and Datamax-O'Neil portable printers to efficiently manage this critical part of their global operations. With the dramatic advancement of today's wireless handheld computing systems, a new wave of sophisticated route accounting systems are about to be deployed to gain a new edge in this hyper-competitive industry.
For the past 20 years, route accounting has been performed in the following fashion: Each morning, often well before dawn, drivers arrive at a local distribution center or warehouse. They pick up a specially designed rugged handheld computer and log in with a PIN code. The drivers place the device into a cradle to download that day's route, inventory, and pricing information -- a process that may take 2 - 5 minutes per person (and there are often 50 or more drivers sharing a small number of cradles at each warehouse location). While waiting for their turn or for the information to download into the device, drivers remain idle and unproductive. Next, they head to the truck, where they hand-count their load to be sure the proper inventory is aboard for that day's deliveries. Then, they head out on the road to make their rounds.
At each store, they hand-count and unload the prescribed number of units ordered, and accept any returns. The driver then keys this information into the handheld device, confirming the delivery. An immediate invoice may be printed out as well. In large retail operations, the device may be physically cabled to a special "DEX" computer in the back of the store in order to electronically invoice the store. If another delivery person is already there, the driver needs to wait their turn. In smaller operations, like a local delicatessen, which may be a single store "cash and carry" account, the driver must collect cash or credit card payments.