She says Coca-Cola wants to be the leader in creating the most efficient and effective operational process with its retail partners. "We also want to continue to promote the use of GS1 Standards to ensure those processes can be adopted by all. This allows the retailer to get scale for the maximum efficiency."
Which retailers are leaders in DSD procedures? Dozier declined to name specific companies, but other industry experts point to Wal-Mart and Target as models of excellence.
"The retailers that tend to be best in class are those that are very collaborative with their DSD vendors," explains Dozier. "They're willing to share strategies and align on the processes that need improvement. They are willing to commit resources to deliver results. They are also focused on in-store training and clear communication of strategies that need to be executed.
"Retailers that are working with the CPG DSD companies to identify and develop best practices and then are willing to put the teams in place to execute them are those that are winning in driving efficiency and effectiveness at the store level. They are also winning at the shelf because they are collaborating to ensure shopper needs are met through the right assortment and the highest levels of in stocks," she says.
DEX, NEX Transmissions
Another form of DSD receiving that is deployed more nowadays is electronic invoicing in the retail facility for product being delivered via DEX (Direct Exchange) and NEX (Network Exchange). DEX links the computers of supplier and retailer at the back door, while NEX links the computers of supplier and retailer over telephone lines.
"Basically, the computer does all the work. It measures to make sure that everything is the proper cost so the receiver just verifies quantity," explains Ron Kimmat, a solution engineer with Retalix USA in Delphos, OH. "If there are any discrepancies, they are sent back to the vendor electronically in a different file. The driver has the ability to make the corrections, or those corrections have to happen from his corporate headquarters. So it speeds up the receiving process."
While DEX and NEX receiving are a few years old, they have not been deployed widely because a lot of smaller manufacturers didn't have the proper technology until recently, according to Kimmat, who says one the DEX clients of Retalix for years has been Bashas, a grocery chain in Arizona.
What some supermarkets are now doing, he explains, is having handhelds that the vendors are required to come in and use. The order is entered into the unit that provides the DEX file to send over.
At Safeway Inc., every division is responsible for its own DEX certification with any DSD supplier; NEX certifications are processed at the corporate level. The format of the DEX/NEX transmissions that Safeway accepts adheres to the GS1 guidelines.
Regardless of the type of receiving deployed, experts say DSD will be critical for retail success going forward.
"I think we'll see a growing labor shortage in stores in the future. DSD offers a lot of advantages as in-store labor becomes harder and harder to find," says GMA's Stegeman.
"Retailers will really take better advantage of what DSD offers, which is having people in the store to be able to help with the merchandising and help with the in-store experience. DSD companies have the basic feet on the street. They have people who know the geography, who know the consumers in that area, and who know the stores themselves," she says.