07 June 2021

UK food sector focus: How can EPOD systems help to overcome business challenges?  

The UK food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the country. Generating around £121 billion annually and employing 4 million people, the UK food sector is undeniably a powerhouse. However, like all industries, the food and drinks sector face challenges, both long-standing and due to recent global events, such as COVID-19 and changes in consumer behaviours and appetites. We look at some of the key challenges being faced by food delivery businesses and how the ‘PODStar’ Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) system from Touchstar can help to overcome them.

1.      Challenge: Sustainability

Not only is sustainable working driving a change in consumer demand, but sustainability is also a wider priority for the food sector. The largest companies and fleets make the biggest contribution to the industry and global carbon footprint – through rearing of livestock, farming methods and the national and international distribution of products.

It is imperative that both small businesses and larger enterprises look to adopt a system which encourages sustainable operational practices.

Solution: Route optimisation and paperless invoicing

After a customer signature is received, the PODStar system enables proof of delivery information to be sent directly to the back office in real-time, where electronic invoices can be processed and sent. A paperless approach to invoicing saves time, expenditure and is an environmentally conscious step forward. Planning tools within the PODStar system also enable jobs to be planned and routed in the most logical order, making vital time and fuel efficiencies. These are key components for adopting a sustainable approach to business operations.

2.      Challenge: Ensuring quality standards are met

The impact of the global pandemic on consumer demand within the food industry is undeniable. Not only have consumers shifted more towards online grocery shopping but appetite for food delivery services continues to soar, with Deliveroo generating £4.1 billion revenue in 2020, a 431 percent increase year-on-year. The result? Due to the significant demand for online orders, it is imperative that food companies ensure that quality standards are met. Not only is this key from a customer retention perspective but also from a food safety point of view too.      

Solution: Traceability & temperature compliance

Companies operating within the food sector already take great care to ensure full traceability inside their manufacturing and storage facilities. PODStar will seamlessly extend that to the point of delivery and acceptance by your customer, whilst at the same time, creating a complete digital record for your products journey. This demonstrates improved compliance and is readily auditable.

For those organisations handling chilled or frozen foodstuffs, PODStar enables fleet drivers to prove cold chain temperature compliance. This is achieved by capturing the temperature of the goods in transit and on delivery and comes with the added option of including photo evidence.

3. Challenge: Competition

In such a highly competitive marketplace, food sector businesses are faced with the challenge of standing out from the competition. They do this by providing quality products together with slick operations and unrivalled customer service.

Solution: Great customer service

To compete in the food sector, achieving great customer service is key, and this is where PODStar can help.   The last thing customers want is to be waiting for their food delivery to arrive late, particularly if they are expecting it at a specific time. An EPOD offers up front optimisation of client delivery windows, meaning no unnecessary delays as driver routing is all pre-planned. This ensures customer orders are not missed or delayed and clients are kept in the loop at all times.

PODStar’s drop & go disclaimer also protects delivery drivers and assures the customer that goods have been left in an agreed safe place. If the customer is not able to receive it, the POD allows photo, date, time and geo-location to confirm that the delivery was made successfully.

Transform your food sector delivery operation today

Enjoy easy integration with your other information systems to ensure real time, end-to-end traceability, and optimal control over your supply chain. If you are a business or enterprise in the food sector and are looking to make business-critical efficiencies through essential EPOD upgrades, contact Touchstar today.