Contributed by Ritu Rooney, Global Product Manager for Kewill Forwarding

Direct Despatch offers major business benefits and is enabling companies of all sizes to cut costs, reduce exposure to stock and improve customer service - all without losing control over customer relationships. Already a hit with small to medium sized businesses, the solution is also now becoming popular with larger retailers to – across both stores and ecommerce platforms.

Ritu Rooney, Global Product Manager for Kewill Forwarding, a leading provider of solutions that simplify global trade and logistics reviews its advantages and some factors to consider:

1. Direct Despatch is one of the keys to growth for companies because it enables them to offer a much broader and deeper selection of goods through multiple channels, because the management of orders is handled by suppliers and crucially, because the stock no longer resides in the companies’ warehouses. Companies can significantly grow Internet orders and expand their range of products on offer without having to take such heightened financial risks.
2. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has been around for many years, but has now developed to the point where retailers and suppliers operate as partners within an intimate community, where stock management, orders, promotions, pricing and labelling, and returns can be managed with a large degree of automation. This is backed by alerts that ensure exceptions can be ironed out before they impact the customer.
3. These systems also guarantee a single version of truth across all channels to market – store, Internet, mail order – so that the retailer and the supplier’s supply chain can instantly react to new events such as order changes, delayed or lost deliveries, returns and so on.
4. Potential adopters need to seriously consider whether or not their current systems will enable them to manage Direct Despatch themselves; as in-house changes may simply be too expensive, too time-consuming and may still not provide the required flexibility.
5. Flexibility effectively means responding to market needs and opportunities, such as introducing new brands and finding gaps in the market. Because of the nature of Direct Despatch, this can be launched with minimal risk and can be tailored specifically for one channel (i.e. online only). Flexibility is also about scale; being able to add suppliers and also suppliers’ product ranges.
6. Visibility of orders is critical, and both the retailer and the supplier have greater visibility of orders and stock by using an automated Direct Despatch system. This enables them to forecast activity much more accurately by analysing previous performance, monitoring current activity and planning promotional activity much more quickly to meet market opportunities.
7. Improved visibility also means that businesses still have control of their supply chains, even though orders are being fulfilled by their suppliers. It also means that both they and their suppliers can improve their respective efficiency, because they are both now sharing the same information.
8. Automated Direct Despatch is not just about orders though - buyers and suppliers can also work together to develop and manage products, ranges, merchandising, pricing, fulfilment and returns – amongst a range of many other supply chain-related benefits.
9. Ultimately, automated direct despatch must give a return on investment, and companies are realising that there are other plus-points in addition to being able to expand their business and offer a faster service. Chiefly: time savings in order processing; a fall in late or incorrect orders; and faster processing of supplier invoices due to the whole process being automated.
10. To date, the most significant benefits have included: cash no longer being tied up in stock; lower order processing costs; more efficient use of labour; visibility of orders at all times; supplier performance monitoring; and improved service to customers too.

About Kewill plc:

Kewill delivers solutions that simplify global trade and logistics.
Global businesses face ever increasing complexity across their supply chains including decisions on sourcing, customs, compliance, transportation, storage, finance, visibility and connectivity.  Inefficiency in any of these areas will lead to supply chain delays and result in increased costs.  Kewill has a suite of software solutions that significantly simplify the management of the most complex global supply chains for enterprises and logistics service providers. 
With experience in global trade management and logistics since 1972, and over 600 employees worldwide, Kewill is a long-time innovator of solutions for manufacturers, distributors, retailers, freight forwarders, transport companies, customs brokers, 3PL’s and 4PL’s, as well as other related institutions involved in financing and underwriting global trade such as banks and insurance providers.
Kewill’s solutions are in daily use by more than 40,000 users worldwide and our global customer base which entrusts us with the management of their supply networks includes divisions of Bayer, Caterpillar, DHL, FedEx, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, H.J. Heinz, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Levi Strauss, Mazda, Nestlé, Nike, Palm, Procter & Gamble, Smith & Nephew, Sony, TNT, Unilever, UPS, Vodafone, Yamaha, Xerox.

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