There are relatively few barriers to entry if a supplier wants to DEX with a retailer, and with a bit of planning a DEX implementation can go quite smoothly. Recently, I was contacted about a small manufacturer that was interested in expanding their business to retailers that require DEX. Both the supplier and the consultant they were working with did not have much experience with DEX. This conversation led me to our discussion today. Here are a few things to think about as you begin your DEX journey in Direct Store Delivery.
One of the most important aspects in a DEX implementation for a supplier may be in the communication channel that is set up with the retailers. Different retailers have different processes that suppliers must adhere to before the supplier will be allowed to DEX. At the product level, this might mean an audit of the product and price list that the supplier and retailer have to insure that they match. At the software level it can mean a host of things. Many of the large chains have pre-defined technical specifications for what information must be included in a DEX transmission. Sometimes, even though the DEX standard may list a certain piece of information as optional the retailer will require it. Certification of the software may also be necessary at some retailers. This usually involves a trip to the retailer’s headquarters to run the software through a variety of scenarios that may happen in the DEX process.
The retailer’s solutions, although customized for their needs, may come with much of the DEX functionality built into certain modules that they must install and activate. The supplier’s solution may come with the route accounting software that is being used, but at times this software is not DEX capable. This may necessitate some customization of the software to make it DEX capable. Making the software DEX capable will require that the invoice be translated into the proper DEX format, and translated back out of the DEX format for reconciliation. The DEX software will also have to transfer identifying information and perform communications handshakes with the retailer’s system. It is important that a supplier choose a software partner that is experienced with DEX in DSD. This can make the transition to DEX easy and efficient for both the organization and the driver/operator.
Here are some Value Added Partners you can contact to help get you going with DEX: High Jump Software, Versatile Mobile Systems, FwdMbl Solutions, and LaceUP Solutions. All of these strong organizations can help you grow with DEX.
When the route accounting software is in place and DEX capable, it is important that the proper integration takes place with the suppliers system. Because the DEX process, is the proof of delivery, it is important to record some of the information such as the digital signature from the transmission for later usage.
In summary, expanding your direct store delivery operations to retailers that require DEX can be very profitable. It is important to make sure you have a software partner that understands DEX and can provide the best DSD solution for your business. I again, would like to acknowledge Phil Lachman for his insights and content contributions to this blog.
Thinking about adding retailers that require DEX to your business? Tell us how.