Blog > Enhanced Supply Chain Management for Foodservice Distributors

The COVID-19 pandemic was a massive disruption in the foodservice segment that forced many companies to create new sales channels to move products directly to the consumer. Enhanced supply chain management for foodservice distributors will be needed for these new sales channels to succeed long term.

Some foodservice operations enhanced their B2B and B2C capabilities with will-call pickups, truck sales, or boxed produce offerings, while others went all in with home delivery models. Rapid adoption was critical, so some programs were implemented with speed prioritized over functionality.

Why enhanced supply chain management is necessary for food industry eCommerce

We evaluated direct to consumer solutions being offered by distributors and found that similar challenges were evident in most cases. Most information presented to the end user at the time of purchase via eCommerce sites was insufficient. We found it to be unable to support the needs of the typical consumer beyond the obvious minimum order/drop size, pack/size, and labeling concerns.

With most online shoppers focused on enhanced product detail and pictures, nutritional content and allergen information have become essential. For instance, many shoppers live on a gluten-free diet, making allergen information a requirement. Yet, after careful evaluation, we found many sites are unable to tell customers which food products are gluten-free and safe to eat.

Most distributors have cryptic item descriptions in their catalogs that are remnants of the days where every byte was important. These descriptions aren’t obvious to the average weekly grocery store shopper. While we know that CHIX BRST is chicken, the average consumer wouldn’t look for chicken breast that way.

Credit Card/EFT electronic payment is also a concern for some distributors. Distributors selling catchweight items don’t know the true invoice amount until the order is picked. Subpar eCommerce solutions cannot accommodate putting a hold on a credit card to authorize an order and then bill upon shipment. Most often distributors are forced to sell fixed weight packages, which opens a whole series of challenges.

Choosing the best supply chain solution for your business

For companies to succeed in both channels, it is imperative that they use purpose-built supply chain management solutions. These solutions should have a functionality designed for business to consumer eCommerce modules as well as business to business eCommerce modules.

Possessing multiple product descriptions, advanced search options, GDSN/ product content, and advanced payment options are a good start but just the basics.

The eCommerce world is very large, but companies like Amazon exist. If you wish to capture (or maintain) business, you need to have functionality similar to that of Amazon in your offering. We’re within a time in which consumers expect and actively seek it.

The system also needs to be suitable to manage workflow for various order types, pricing methodologies, deal/pricing scenarios, freight options, and shipping requirements.

DATUM is the easy-to-use software product designed to address these challenges using automation to free up time and reduce costs. Designed for consumer goods companies, DATUM leverages the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) and supports all attributes of the GS1 US Foodservice initiative, including allergens, ingredients, nutrients, and images.

Ignition DATUM is just one module from the complete Ignition by TELUS supply chain management solution suite and capable of operating as an individual component to integrate with other systems and optimize performance. Visit the DATUM Product Page for more details about the solution and all it offers to combat challenges including:


Product Information Management (PIM)

Product information management (PIM) is a challenge faced by both manufacturers and distributors. Getting the proper information into the hands of the user making a purchasing decision at the point of purchase has plagued our industry since its inception.

GS1 Data Storage

GS1 data storage is addressed by DATUM as it becomes your local resource for product information that is aligned/married to your local item codes. As manufacturers update content in the 400+ potential fields in the GDSN for food products, you will be notified of the changes so you can take action.

Providing Product Information

DATUM enables you to display, print, or email product information to ensure that you secure the sale.

Ignition by TELUS supply chain management software solutions

The complete Ignition by TELUS solution suite enhances supply chain management (SCM) for foodservice distributors and operators to promote business growth and success. Contact Ignition by TELUS today to speak to a dedicated representative and learn how to enable your company to adapt to challenging times.

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