Why wholesalers and cash and carry businesses need to automate manual processes to raise productivity rates

Posted by Jackie Taylor on Wed, Apr 03, 2019

Why you need to use an intelligent wholesale system to boost productivity rates sky high.


Using the latest technology is now imperative for wholesalers and cash and carry businesses. With customers now operating in an always-on world, where order fulfilment is required at any time and in any place, those businesses unable to respond will increasingly find themselves left behind.

Without the technological capability to support more demanding customers and their expectations for convenience, wholesalers will rapidly lose market share. Building capability throughout the business, with investment in automation and operational capacity, is a must for wholesalers that want to drive up productivity rates.

Upgrade and automate the back office

To support front-office systems, such as warehouse and delivery systems, that are fit-for-purpose, wholesalers will need to upgrade in the back office too. Many wholesalers are doing exactly that, recognising that new technologies provide a means with which to drive efficiencies and greater profitability.

  • 38% of wholesalers plan investment in ecommerce capabilities to drive revenue growth in 2018

  • 59% see improved employee productivity as the key to cutting costs

  • 49% cite the need to streamline and automate processes to improve productivity.

The key for wholesalers focusing on these objectives is to recognise that the opportunities to automate can be found in every area of the business. Linking up different operations through an integrated technology solution will deliver the greatest gains.

Where can automation raise productivity rates?

Below, we take a look at why wholesalers and cash and carry businesses should automate manual processes across their operations, the benefits it can bring, and the impact it has on productivity rates.

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Technologies such as voice-directed picking allows hands-free order picking, enabling staff to complete orders more quickly and accurately. Such tools automate the picking process, cutting out the need for printed lists, and automatically routing the orders to pickers so they can save time and effort. The overall effect is to reduce the potential for errors and to increase order picking speed.

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Access to real-time information using customer relationship management (CRM) systems provide staff with an efficient and productive way of working.  They enable sales staff to place orders whilst with a customer. Automating the ordering process cuts out manual interventions, and offers additional functionality such as the opportunity to update customers on special offers and promotions. The CRM system empowers staff to answer stock and account queries on the spot.

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Electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) hugely reduces the amount of manual processing work required from delivery staff. Automating this process provides a means to capture customer acceptance signatures electronically and to make delivery amendments at the customer’s site. This drives greater delivery accuracy, higher staff productivity and allows efficient vehicle management with valuable vehicle and driver checklists.

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Cash and Carry businesses with till software can offer their customers a much more dynamic and efficient check-out system, while eliminating the need for manual processes within the business. With faster processing, the system cuts customer queuing times, while providing a constant feed of data to the credit control department to help protect cashflow.

The till software offers real-time reporting to other departments and provides reports on efficiency and performance, and updates stock data to help with purchasing decisions.


Web ordering software allows customers to place orders online at any time of the day or night. Customers are able to place their orders through any device they wish to use. They can manage their account online, track orders, plan delivery dates, and receive copies of invoices and statements. The effect is to improve customer satisfaction while increasing sales and saving time by eliminating manual data input. 


Wholesale purchase ordering software can help wholesalers make much more accurate forecasts of future demand, leading to better inventory management. The software can cut out much of the manual work and save time when managing supplier relationships. The system provides delivery and performance statistics to help with negotiating supplier terms.


The key with all these systems is that they substantially reduce the amount of manual work wholesalers have to carry out. An integrated system across the business enables end-to-end execution and manual interventions are eliminated. An integrated system not only reduces cost, but it also offers customers a more seamless experience, encouraging them to place further orders and increase loyalty.

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Topics: Wholesale Distribution Solutions