Businesses in the beverage industry tend to have larger product lines than those in other industries. According to Bevindustry.com, even the smallest distributors are expanding their product offerings. However, keeping track of an ever-growing amount of products can be difficult, especially if your tracking system is on paper. Not only are paper systems frustrating and complicated, they also cost a great deal of money. For beverage businesses struggling with paper data, it may be time to consider switching over to a digital data system. Check out a few ways paper is costing your beverage business money, and how to solve the issue.
The food and beverage industry is constantly losing and gaining employees. A 2014 study found the industry had one of the highest employee turnover rates at 19%. To ensure you’re hiring and retaining the right type of people, you’ll need to identify who does the job best and bring on people with similar attributes and attitudes. While you have observational data on your top performers, you may be relying on unfair bias. If you keep sales histories and other performance indicators of reps on paper, you’ll have a difficult time truly comparing your best reps. Without this crucial information, you’ll have a blind spot in hiring, which can lead to costly employee turnover.
Digitizing field rep performance is one way for beverage businesses to solve the turnover issue. Field Activity Management software allows back-office managers to see each rep’s rankings, showing things like client visits, new clients, sales history, etc. No manual input is necessary from either the reps or the managers; the tool simply ranks reps based on the projects they have been assigned and those they have completed. The quick access to this information will help your beverage business hire and, more importantly, retain employees in an industry faced with high turnover rates.
Cost of Storage
After paying for the initial cost of pages and the associated price of printing, businesses will have to pay to keep their papers in a safe place. The growing trend to expand product lines in the beverage industry means your business will be handling and storing a growing amount of paperwork. The average storage cabinet costs $275 just for the real estate it sits on. Therefore, businesses are spending unnecessary money storing paperwork that could be stored on the Cloud. Diversifying beverage businesses will want to stay organized and keep their paperwork separated by category. If you have 20 retail locations and each shelf represents one retailer, you could be paying nearly $1,100 a year simply for the space your storage units take up. And the more retailers that take your products on, the higher that number rises.
The solution to poor storage and organization of products and clients is Field Activity Management software. The Cloud storage it provides not only allows beverage businesses to separate clients, but also product lines, revenue levels, and even workforce schedules. Pricing for Cloud services run anywhere from $5-500 annually, but most Field Activity Management softwares already include Cloud abilities. Many versions of this software cover both the production and storage of data, as well as provide financial analysis and territory management tools.
Cost of Time
Paperwork is one of the most inefficient uses of time for managers. And in the beverage industry, 10% of managers admit to spending 20 hours a week shuffling papers. Each time you have to search for a piece of paper data and dictate the information on it to a rep, time is lost. When a manager has to turn his attention to manually inputting client data in a spreadsheet, a potential sales call is lost.
In a survey done by TechnoMetrica, 50% of business owners who switched from paper to digital forms said they had more time to focus on revenue and sales. When business owners and reps are focusing on the product line and retailer relationships, rather than on tracking down lost or disorganized papers, the business is bound to grow. In addition, Cloud-based software solutions allow prospective retailers to quickly scan through product lists on a mobile phone or tablet, making their experience efficient and enjoyable.
Adding Up the Costs
To become a leader in the beverage industry, business owners need to have organized, efficient, and cost-effective operations. Functioning with paper puts an enormous weight on your budget and limits visibility in the hiring process. It takes up unnecessary space and uses up the time of both managers and reps. To limit data costs, beverage businesses should consider leveraging FAM software options. The competitive industry for Cloud-based software will guarantee you a low initial cost, and the online organization that software offers will significantly lower storage costs. If paper is weighing you down, switching over to a digital data plan may be the edge your beverage business has been searching for.
Erin P. Friar
Erin Friar is a Content Marketing Journalist Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is completing a Journalism degree at Suffolk University. She is a master of grammar and is passionate about creating fresh content to help foster efficiency and overall success in small businesses.