C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. is literally in the business of keeping the nation fed, supplying more than 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases, and institutions with over 140,000 different food and nonfood products. To deliver the goods, the Keene, N.H.-based firm relies on a fleet of about 2,000 trucks and 8,000 trailers across a combination of private, dedicated, and third-party transportation service partners.
Ensuring prompt deliveries is imperative to avoiding spoilage and meeting customers’ exacting requirements, so the company has traditionally devoted considerable time and resources to alerting clients to potential delays or missed deliveries. In the past, that effort required its transportation team to provide delivery updates to the customer-service team through a customer relationship management (CRM) software platform, sending updates whenever a shipment was at risk of missing a delivery window.
Although effective, that system of manually entering updates and making phone calls was also resource-intensive. In hopes of finding a more efficient solution, C&S recently turned to FourKites, a technology company that specializes in supply chain visibility.
As a result of their collaboration, C&S is now using FourKites’ predictive supply chain visibility platform to automatically send its customers “C&S Delivery Alerts,” logic-based messages with updated tracking info—including when a truck has left the warehouse, when it is approximately one hour away, and when it has arrived. The messages, which are sent via text and email, provide C&S customers with unprecedented visibility into delivery status, according to the two companies.
In addition to improving the customer experience, the solution has delivered the efficiencies C&S was seeking. To date, the C&S Delivery Alerts system has resulted in a 65% time savings in communication processes that has reduced internal productivity loss, the company says. Among other benefits, the system drastically reduces calls from retailers, eliminates the need for a dispatcher to monitor and enter updates into the CRM software, avoids the need for extensive outbound calling, and significantly reduces calls made by customer service to dispatch teams in search of information, according to C&S.
“It’s all about transforming the customer experience and providing superior service from orders to delivery. C&S Delivery Alerts give our customers all the information they need to plan—from employee schedules to shopper promotions,” C&S Chief Commercial Officer Joe Cavaliere said in a release. “When customers know when to expect their deliveries, they can make operational choices that reduce costs and drive their revenue.”