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Food, Beverage and Grocery Delivery

Optimizing Routes For B2B Food Suppliers

Looking to optimize your food supply routes as a B2B business? Discover how you can utilize modern technology and automation tools and save money.


For B2B food suppliers, optimizing delivery routes can be a challenge.

It’s no spoiler that the COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented shock to logistics operations worldwide. Global connectivity between companies and markets was disrupted dramatically, causing delays, last-mile delivery complications, and, ultimately, a weakened food supply chain.

B2B food suppliers have been on a knife edge ever since.

On top of that, there are also many everyday difficulties to consider, from varying customer locations, order sensitivity, and order timing, to storage guidelines and vehicle availability.

The good news is that you can now use digital solutions to optimize your delivery routes.

By leveraging intelligent route-optimization technology, B2B food suppliers like you can maximize efficiency and gain ground while ensuring customer satisfaction.

Curious? Read on. In this article, we’ll cover the issues facing B2B food suppliers and how you can optimize your routes efficiently.

Here’s a summary of what you need to know:

TL;DR

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented shock to logistics.
  • More generally, B2B food suppliers face challenges like failed deliveries, short delivery windows, strict product storage guidelines, and scattered supply chains.
  • Digital solutions such as eLogii’s intelligent route-optimization technology can help B2B food suppliers maximize efficiency. By utilizing eLogii’s route optimization and failed delivery workflow features, B2B food supply businesses can rise above supply chain shortcomings. Interested? Book a demo of eLogii now to see how you can save money on your operations.

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Delivery problems facing B2B food suppliers

“The logistics industry was built for a world we no longer live in.”

This quote is from Lior Ron, the CEO of Uber Freight, and it perfectly summarizes the technical and demand-related emerging trends of today.

Delayed delivery times, failed deliveries, and inefficient order tracking are just a few of the issues that eat away at profits.

In the next few sections, we will uncover the core problems B2B food suppliers face during operations. These problems include:

  • Failed deliveries

What happens when food deliveries for your B2B customers regularly fail?

During COVID-19, the recurring problem of insufficient materials cascaded into rising costs which were eventually loaded off to customers.

Demand has cooled off since 2020, and the bottlenecks of the pandemic have largely been resolved.

However, growing customer demands for immediate services such as online food delivery is still keeping restaurant operators and other B2B companies on their toes. In 2023, revenue from online food deliveries is predicted to reach $0.91 trillion.

It’s now up to B2B food suppliers to ensure fast and reliable deliveries.

Everyday issues like traffic patterns, delivery times, and order sizes can also be the cause of delays and failed freighting.

B2B food suppliers need to find ways to ensure efficient delivery routines to keep their recently healed B2B food supply chain strong and reliable.

  • Short delivery windows

As customers have grown to expect fast servicing, the pressure on B2B food suppliers to provide fast delivery services has also increased.

Sales reps are under enormous pressure to keep up with demand and expectations. This leaves a lot of companies with short delivery windows to work with.

As per a study in the Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection, “delays in the delivery of raw materials and semi-finished supplies will have a cascade effect on the processing and delivery of goods to the end customer, thus posing a barrier to the normal functioning of the supply chain.”

If you are regularly faced with short delivery windows, you cannot afford to overlook the need to optimize your delivery routes. Optimization can be the difference between being late continuously and keeping customer relationships strong by always meeting customers’ expectations.

  • Strict product storage guidelines

Receiving quality products is a fundamental customer expectation today. That expectation comes with the strict product storage guidelines that are an essential part of B2B food suppliers’ operations.

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For example, organic food suppliers must take the unique needs of their food products into account when establishing proper procedures. Organic goods cannot be stored with other products for fear of contamination, for example.

To help prevent food spoilage, most foods should be stored in a cool, dry environment, away from direct daylight or extreme temperatures.

Following a myriad of such storage guidelines can add to the complexity of B2B food supply chains.

  • Scattered supply chains

Larger establishments like restaurants or hotels require B2B food suppliers to supply a wide range of goods with a varied shelf life, varied delivery windows, and other variables.

Local suppliers aren’t always an option.

It’s become increasingly difficult for B2B suppliers to keep track of the scattered supply chains that are required in order to meet customer demands.

Wholesale buyers and large companies in distribution usually closely monitor their FLW (Food Loss and Waste), resulting in the inaccurate management of resources along supply chains.

Understandably, they are constantly on the lookout for B2B suppliers that deliver goods reliably and consistently.

For B2B food suppliers to emerge and thrive in an ambitious market, they need to optimize their routes and reduce the risk of scrambled deliveries.

  • Inaccurate order allocations

Accurate order allocations are the basis of good logistics operations and inventory management.

If B2B food suppliers fail to place orders correctly, their customers may not get the right goods at the right time.

For example, allocating orders to the wrong delivery vehicle or supplier can lead to significant delays, spoiled goods, and, ultimately, customer dissatisfaction.

In order to properly allocate orders, B2B food suppliers must have an accurate view of their inventory levels and delivery windows at all times.

  • Legal compliance

B2B food suppliers must remain compliant with the legal requirements supplied by governmental organizations.

Often, these standards differ at each stage of a product’s life cycle (something you can see in the diagram below).

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For example, in the US, one of the most important regulations that keep sanitary standards in check is the Sanitary Food Transportation Act.

In the UK, it’s The Food Safety Act of 1990, The International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs Act of 1976, and other similar pieces of legislation.

Legal risks are also increased when delivering to international buyers. B2B food suppliers must adhere to the regulations of each country and make sure that their goods comply with all laws.

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How to optimize your B2B delivery operations when handling food

For B2B food suppliers, optimizing delivery operations boils down to technical efficiency and compliance.

Here are some key tips on how you can get ahead of the most common food delivery challenges:

#1. Use a delivery management solution like eLogii

eLogii is an innovative, end-to-end suite of cloud-based planning, routing, and dispatch software.

Let’s see how eLogii provides B2B companies with the tools they need to succeed in today’s competitive market.

eLogii review

eLogii is a comprehensive and easy-to-use cloud-based delivery management solution.

We could go on about our excellent platform, but instead, why not let customers give you a real glimpse into what it’s like using the platform? Here are some reviews of eLogii:

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Key features:

  • Optimized route planning and optimization
  • Single and multi-depot planning
  • Live operations
  • Reverse logistics
  • Driver management
  • A driver app with a live chat tool
  • Compliance monitoring
  • Real-time data analysis

Pros:

  • eLogii helps B2B food suppliers manage their routes, maximize efficiency, and reduce fuel costs while keeping the needs of sensitive food products at the forefront.
  • eLogii has a massive number of custom integrations and configurable parameters.
  • eLogii offers a vast range of POD collection methods.
  • eLogii has live vehicle tracking to help you make adjustments to your route and tasks if needed.
  • eLogii’s plans include unlimited drivers, vehicles, and users.

Cons:

  • eLogii is a “new kid on the block”, so it’s not as widely recognized as some other platforms.
  • eLogii doesn’t offer a free trial, but you can book a free DEMO.

Pricing:

eLogii doesn’t offer one-size-fits-all prices. Instead, each plan is custom-tailored to fit your particular business needs perfectly.

You also get an unlimited number of drivers, vehicles, and users on all plans.

eLogii has three plans:

  1. Starter – Which includes 2,500 tasks a month.
  2. Premium – Which includes 8,500 tasks a month.
  3. Professional – Which includes 40,000 tasks a month.

You can compare the full features of each plan here.

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Use cases:

B2B food suppliers can take advantage of eLogii and maximize productivity.

For example, you can use the route planning feature to find the most efficient routes for delivering food products, allowing you to cut down on fuel costs. eLogii will always make sure that your vehicles run at capacity no matter the product categories they’re assigned.

eLogii supports the following delivery types:

  • Hot food delivery
  • Alcohol delivery
  • Takeaway delivery
  • Restaurant delivery
  • Corporate catering delivery

eLogii is a good fit for small, medium, and large businesses. Thanks to the scalability of the platform, it can grow with you.

If eLogii sounds like the perfect tool for you, book a demo today.

#2. Use dynamic routing over static routing

Are you still using pen and paper to map your delivery operations? It’s time to upgrade!

Dynamic routing is a modern and efficient way of organizing delivery operations. Rather than manually planning each route, dynamic routing uses algorithms and data to generate optimal routes in real-time that account for factors like traffic patterns, weather conditions, product storage guidelines, and customer preferences.

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eLogii’s route optimization tool considers an almost infinite level of operational requirements to ensure the most optimal and efficient routes are produced within your pre-defined constraints.

#3. Assign the right vehicle to the right route

Each type of food product has different storage requirements. For B2B food suppliers, this means that not every vehicle is suitable for transporting all types of food products.

Different vehicle types carry different cargo:

  • Regular semi trucks can carry pasta, cereal, canned foods, and other shelf-stable goods.
  • Tanker trucks can carry oil, corn syrup, and milk.
  • Refrigerated trucks can carry eggs, dairy, or meat.
  • Freezer trucks can carry ice cream, frozen pizza, pie crusts, and frozen vegetables.

It’s hard to manually allocate vehicles correctly in a rapidly changing environment. Businesses need to adapt quickly to fluctuations in food production, manufacturer closures, and ever-changing customer demands.

The easiest way to ensure you’re using the right vehicle at all times is by employing route optimization software like eLogii.

#4. Invest in good customer communication infrastructure

The way B2B businesses are conducted is transforming with the adoption of traditional B2C practices.

One such change is more frequent communication with customers.

B2B food suppliers’ main customers are restaurants, hotels, caterers, stores, and food service providers. Keeping them up-to-date with product information and the status of each delivery is essential to their success because it helps them plan better.

They will really appreciate a smooth ordering and delivery process.

For example, eLogii has a customer communication module that B2B food suppliers can use to keep their customers informed about deliveries en route. It’s also a handy feature that your field sales reps can highlight in their pitch to new customers.

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eLogii’s customer communication features also include email and SMS notifications, real-time updates, and driver tracking. These features help B2B companies reduce the number of client queries and complaints while also providing clients with a positive experience.

#5. Have a failed delivery workflow

Failed deliveries happen. But they should only be considered a “fail” if there’s no contingency plan in place.

B2B food suppliers should have a failed delivery workflow to cover all eventualities. What if a restaurant had a flood on the morning of a delivery? Or if your delivery driver got stuck in traffic? What if there is no one on-site to accept the delivery?

Having a workflow for these situations ensures B2B food suppliers are prepared for any outcomes and can still deliver the product on time or make alternative arrangements that work for everyone.

eLogii has a failed delivery workflow feature that B2B food supply businesses can use to plan ahead and take care of sensitive food cargo when in need.

#6. Collect data and apply it accordingly

Data can be a food supplier’s best friend.

By collecting data on their routes, B2B companies can identify inefficiencies and areas where they can make improvements.

Such data may include:

  • Delivery times
  • Delivery locations
  • The number of orders delivered per day
  • Customer feedback
  • Driver efficiency
  • Fuel economy

eLogii has an analytics and reporting feature that B2B food suppliers can use to monitor their performance.

You can export key analytics and raw task data across your entire operations for further analysis.

Final thoughts: Deliveries for B2B food suppliers

Logistics may never go back to the way it was before COVID-19.

It’s time for B2B food suppliers to reap the benefits of modern technology and maximize efficiency, safety, and customer satisfaction with the help of automation.

By using dynamic routing, assigning the right vehicle to each route, investing in good customer communication infrastructure, having a failed delivery workflow, and collecting data on their routes, B2B companies can optimize their deliveries and improve overall performance.

eLogii is also a game changer for B2B food delivery operations.

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