The food order management process remains a burden for many growing independent grocers. The good news? There are tools you can put in place to eliminate those hassles that create bottlenecks in your supply chain management. Here are four ways grocers, like you, can simplify your food order management process.
1. Cut Out the Manual Work
How are you currently managing your procurement process? If it involves a lot of phone calls, emails, and paperwork, then you’re spending too much time on order management, especially when it comes to expediting.
Even if you have an EDI vendor, the actual management of the expediting process is largely manual and that can lead to huge problems. By handling change orders through a phone call or on a piece of paper, you’re opening yourself up to errors, or the loss of an order altogether, which impacts your bottom line.
You can’t afford to manually track and manage the order process, as it is a waste of time and many times, money. You need to build resiliency in your process so any change to the quality, quality, price, or timeframe of your orders can be managed efficiently, and have a visible audit trail.
2. Streamline Workflows
Once you toss out your manual work process, you’ll need to implement technology that provides automation tools that streamline the process and take on those tasks for you. These improved workflow tools are essential to simplifying your connection to suppliers, ultimately simplifying your order management process.
You want to have more than an EDI – that only handles sending documents back and forth. To better handle your supplier relationships, it’s best to implement technology that offers a central management portal that allows you to:
Discover new products
Manage substitutions, and
Consume traceability information
Consolidating your communication and tracking with suppliers into a single dashboard can create efficiencies across the supply chain, allowing for real-time information to be shared to remove disruptions for orders that need to be expedited.
3. Improve Supplier Collaboration
Streamlining the workflow of your food order management process with the right technology can help improve your collaboration with your suppliers. How? Because it allows for a better flow of information between buyer and supplier that eliminates miscommunication that creates waste on both sides.
Having open, real-time communication and collaboration through a centralized dashboard eliminate mistakes that create supply chain bottlenecks and improves upon the relationship between you and your supplier. If you’re able to create efficiencies on both ends through clear communication about orders in real-time, you’ll remove the frustrations and roadblocks you currently face, and replace them with a support system that can keep your supply chain more resilient.
4. Expand Your Network
Another way to make your supply chain more resilient is to expand your supplier network. Being able to meet the needs and demands of your customer is first and foremost as an independent grocer so it’s important to have more than one supplier to choose from to get the items you need.
For example, let’s say you need to order fresh strawberries. To ensure you get the best quality, the right quantity, and the right price in the right timeframe, you need to have access to a variety of suppliers. That way you can compare to see who can get you what you need on the front end, without the back and forth of negotiations. This not only speeds up your order management process, it helps you keep your customers happy.
Finding the Right Solution
You know what you need to do to simplify your procurement process so you can scale as a grocer. Now you need a resource that can handle it for you.
iTradeOrder is an easy-to-use order management solution that takes on your manual work, streamlines your workflow, improves your supplier relationship, and expands your network in one centralized place.
If you want to see how iTradeOrder can work for you, contact us for a free consultation.