Solution That Caters To Small Distributors
targeted information to retailers and wholesal-
ers to provide specific information on how to
remove recalled or withdrawn products and
handle them safely, as well as address reim-
T oday’s foodservice distributors are facing numerous challenges. The tough econom-
ic environment coupled with increasing customer demands are taking a toll on the
industry—especially on those smaller foodservice distributors that are struggling just to
Rapid Recall Exchange is supported by the survive in this highly competitive environment.
Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Help is on the way for these smaller companies, however, in the form of an afford-
and National Grocers Association (N.G.A.). able hosted software solution from Chicago-based Ai2 (formerly known as Access
International Inc.). Ai2 is a software developer specializing in order entry solutions for
Greatwide Commits wholesale distributor organizations that rely on their sales representatives for generat-
Significant Investment In ing and transmitting “pre-sale” orders to the wholesale distributor’s host computer
Technology Platform system for processing.
G reatwide Logistics Services, a Dallas-based
national provider of non-asset-based trans-
portation and third-party logistics services, has
Last June, the company released POET, a remote order entry solution for sales
representatives. As one option for the foodservice distributor, Ai2 provides the solu-
tion in a Software as a Service (SAAS) business model. The orders are generated
committed significant investments in several and transmitted to a secure server environment hosted by Ai2—so companies do not
new technologies to enhance its offerings for have purchase, install or maintain the software. “The distributor’s cost for the SAAS
customers. model ranges from $99 to $199 per month (with a minimum two year contract), so
“Greatwide has made about 15 years of it’s affordable for even the smallest distributor,” says Ray Walsh, Ai2’s vice president of
technological advances in the past year,” says sales. “This price includes webinar-based training and desk support for each Distributor
Raymond Greer, the company’s chief execu- Sales Rep (DSR).”
tive officer. Utilizing Panasonic’s Toughbook PC product line—or any basic laptop, notebook or
“The whole idea is to leverage our com- netbook running on Microsoft Windows—DSRs have access to their company’s most
bined services in ways no one else can. The current information on customers, products, purchase history, inventory and pricing.
key to that is to have one common view of In addition, the sales reps can generate orders, check inventory, calculate prices and
information as a basis to build truly unique profit margins, check for substitute items, and send and receive e-mails.
products around our core dedicated, broker- “Automating the order entry process improves a company’s productivity by eliminat-
age, warehousing and TMS competencies.” ing calls to the office for information that is now available on the laptop,” says Walsh.
The technologies in which Greatwide