Food Distribution Efficiency has Arrived With Smart Device Scanning

| Transportation & Logistics

Driver loading the van

The food market is big business. Revenue alone amounts to US $8,945,345 million and the market is expected to grow annually by 4.50%.

But while the market outlook may look appetising, the need to cut operational costs, while increasing efficiency present major challenges. This is especially true in the run up to the holiday season. Supply chain issues can cause product shortages, delivery delays, delivery errors and order losses.

And influenced by the impact of the pandemic, food and beverage producers, wholesalers and distributors across the globe are suffering with supply and distribution hitches.

Never has it been more imperative for food and food service distributors to get goods from A to B in the most efficient way, ensuring what leaves one distribution point is fully accounted for and offloaded quickly at the other.

In this blog, we explore the value of Scandit data capture technology on ruggedized smart devices in streamlining driver operations to support more efficient wholesale grocery, foodservice, and beverage distribution and minimize customer disruption.

One multi-functional device does it all

Many food distributors and supply chain managers are replacing dedicated barcode scanning devices with the flexibility of scanning-enabled apps on smartphones for delivery operations.

Consolidating food distribution tasks onto one multi-functional device means each driver can do more with a single device. No need to share or carry and juggle between different devices during their shift.

As well as for communications or routing, a driver can use their smartphone to scan food products and beverages being unloaded. When they arrive at a customer location, they can identify deliveries easily, break down the pallets, load them onto a hand truck and scan all the items to validate what’s been delivered. With the same device they can take a photograph, then generate an invoice and update the order status.

Having a single, smart device assists drivers in powering through their workloads with fast and accurate scanning, so the right goods get to the right customers more quickly.

Smartphones are ubiquitous and with Scandit barcode scanning and augmented reality (AR) software they are transformed into powerful, future-proofed tools for handling food distribution workflows.

Rugged devices are a must – but smart is vital too

Food and foodservice distributors, using their own or subcontracted fleets, can furnish their delivery drivers with ruggedized smart devices to help them work faster, regardless of the conditions.

Traditionally, dedicated rugged hardware scanners are used by delivery drivers due to the tough conditions. But now modern smart devices are more than suitable for use inside all types of delivery trucks – whether drivers are unloading goods from frozen, refrigerated, or ambient temperature vehicles.

Scanning devices must withstand constant and extreme use. For example, a driver may pull a device out of their pocket, use it, then throw it on the dashboard or seat.

With ruggedized cases, smartphone scanning devices become robust and essential tools, able to withstand harsh working conditions. In a typical delivery environment, ruggedized devices are protected if dropped or knocked, are guarded against dust and dirt, and can tolerate being used in extreme temperatures. They prevent early device failure and eliminate replacement or repair costs.

High-performance scanning in tough conditions

Working in challenging environments like the back of a truck demands fast and dependable scanning. You can’t compromise on performance and maintain speed and quality of service.

But watch how easy it is to scan goods in the back of a truck with Scandit-powered smart devices:

Scanning barcodes in low light conditions, and at hard-to-reach angles can hamper how quickly a driver can unload a delivery.

Scandit software on ruggedized devices provides accurate high-performance scanning that works in the most challenging environments. It can even quickly scan torn or damaged barcodes. And there’s no need to bend or crouch to scan a barcode.

Also, when enabled with Scandit MatrixScan, a driver hovers their smart device over multiple barcodes to capture an entire set in a single sequence. With the aid of visual feedback straight to the device screen, the driver knows instantly which ones have been scanned. It makes light work of stock unloading and delivery counts when a driver arrives at the drop-off point.

For drivers that wear gloves, there is no need to remove them before scanning when using the latest rugged smartphones with glove touch functionality. Alternatively, on devices like the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro with Scandit-software, barcode scanning can be triggered with the press of a ‘hot’ button on the smartphone for an intuitive ergonomic experience.

With fewer errors and rapid scanning, drivers deliver more efficiently, unloading and collecting goods with increased productivity rates and better customer satisfaction.

Instant access to information for greater efficiency

For food and foodservice distributors, there is often the need to see additional information during the shift, such as if there are any changes or special delivery instructions.

Scandit’s Augmented Reality (AR) functionality incorporated into a Scandit-powered app turns smart devices into powerful visual display tools, A simple scan of an item delivers visual information to the driver’s device screen.
When combined with MatrixScan, AR identifies items immediately, making it easier for the driver to identify which ones need to be unloaded where. There’s no need for the driver to search and find items manually.

Should an error in delivery occur, the data captured in real-time with smartphone scanning makes it easier to track goods for smooth and convenient return.

The driver can access this additional information at a glance, helping to process and complete deliveries and returns more quickly and accurately, which is beneficial for customers and the distributor.

Reduce the total cost of ownership

Compared with dedicated scanning devices, using smartphones typically lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO) for a food or foodservice distribution business.

Ruggedized smartphones can cost as much as five times less than mobile computers or handheld scanners over the lifetime of the device. And they provide additional functionality too, like calling, messaging, running apps, and a camera.

Because of supply chain challenges, food prices have increased. But by reducing some of their costs, food distribution companies can beat price pressure and maintain their pricing, consequently remaining competitive and protecting their profit margins.

See why Scandit-enabled ruggedized smartphones deliver a proven alternative to hardware scanners at a fraction of the cost.

Alternatively, contact us to discuss how Scandit could help you improve productivity at less cost through high-performance scanning.