Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Pursuing increasingly sustainable practices can result in big changes
Given their influence and status in the Food & Beverage distribution industry, large wholesale distributors are urged to lead the way in more sustainable business practices, reducing wastage from food to paper.
Leveraging a sustainable stance and moving towards more actively efficient and environmentally-aware practices sets the standard for the rest of the industry, as well as improving customer rapore and becoming more recognised as ethical businesses.
Setting the Standard
A study published in 2017 regarding the need for large wholesalers to consider an ethical transition, stated that:
"large retailers are in a singularly powerful position to actively promote sustainability through their partnerships with their suppliers and through their daily interactions with millions of consumers" (Jones & Comfort, 2017)
By adopting more ethical standards of procedure, large distribution companies have the ability to mark the path for others to follow in the future.
Assisting in this changing stance, is the potential for technologies to help innovate practices, alongside catalysing the process whilst operations are maintained.
Turning backs on paper-based systems, improving efficiency and streamlining operations will help reduce both paper and food waste, whilst improving business function and creating a more attuned, efficient, smooth operational standard for the industry.
Promoting sustainability subsequently is also a promotional tool in itself
A company with a sustainable work ethic can not only reap the benefits of reduced waste and increasingly smoothened daily and managerial operations, but being publicised as an environmentally-aware and conscious wholesale company *is an encouraging factor for customers who are also turning towards more ethical-orientated practices. *
Digital Reporting & Records
Going digital and turning away from paper-based systems if the most easily accessible way to reduce a company's wastage. By harnessing the ability of the cloud to store large quantities of data securely means less reliance is necessary on paperwork as well as improving the productivity of the whole operation.
Extensive records make for accurate resolutions
Automating sales, sales history, invoicing, returns, deliveries as well as maintain heightened accuracy of stock levels, in turn, helps the analysis of business processes. This enables a better understanding of business, points for improvement as well as where wastage is occuring; properly identifying issues and their extent massively helps to reverse their impacts.
CRM & customer-orientated innovations
Accurate, suggested stock which are potentially needed by each customer means more stock can be appropriately distributed, bettering relationships with customers through improved service all the while. Highly-perishable products need a system which promises a quick turn-around and smooth running.
Tightening Supply-Chain Links
Optimizing routes allows distributors to spend less time, money & distance travelling, which contributes to falling numbers of miles driven alongside reducing emissions.
Given the scale of Europe's wholesale distribution industry, a collective transition towards adopting more streamlined, efficient methods in turn reduces emissions and environmental impacts hugely.
The report highlighted the lag-time between retailers and distributors in Europe regarding to their environmental stances;
"Leading retailers are larger and have more mature management structures and are possibly more attuned to leading edge management thinking and practice than their wholesale counterparts."
This should act as an alarm to wholesale distributors as they are currently engaged in less sustainable practices.
The report pointed towards the adoption of automated management systems to reconfigure business procedures to ensure they are striding towards more sustainable, more efficient forms of operating.
Easily incorporated, easily navigable digital management systems which accommodate for heavy amounts of daily routes and operations can provide a window of opportunity for forward-thinking wholesale distributors.
The current slowed development compared with the industry's retail counterparts provides a point for leverage for large distributors, who can use technology to improve their productivity and reduce waste and emissions, whilst also setting the industry standards for sustainable growth.