Southern Wine & Spirits Proves Technology Pays For Itself

As the largest wine and spirits distributor in the United States, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. values technology to keep its business growing. Founded in 1968, Southern is determined to provide the best possible customer service, and technology helps them do just that.

Southern Wine & Spirits is headquartered in Miami, Florida and distributes wine, spirits and other beverages from divisions in 12 different states. Ten of the divisions use Roadnet Technologies’ solution to run 900 daily routes and service over 20,000 customers from 37 warehouses.

In early 1990, Southern Wine and Spirits improved its transportation efficiency by moving from route cards to Roadnet, a computerized routing and scheduling solution from Roadnet Technologies. While, Roadnet continues to play an intricate role in its daily routes, Southern Wine & Spirits took its routing process to the next level by giving its customer service staff real-time delivery information. The market-leading beverage distributor again turned to Roadnet Technologies and licensed MobileCast.

MobileCast is a real-time route execution tool which works in conjunction with Java and GPS-enabled Nextel® phones. Southern Wine & Spirits has almost 1000 phones with the MobileCast application. Implementation of this solution has significantly improved the company’s routing and overall efficiency.

“We’ve used Roadnet for years, but when we implemented MobileCast, our route plans also improved,” said Mark Booth, project lead for Southern Wine and Spirits. “Our services times were off, so our routes did not return as planned. MobileCast has made our route plans much more accurate by recording actual service times for each account and then updating Roadnet.”

MobileCast also provided a return on investment much sooner than expected. By significantly reducing overtime, Southern Wine & Spirits realized the system had paid for itself in less than 10 months, more than two months quicker than it had planned.

Additional results include:

  • $250,000 decrease in overtime
  • 2% reduction in driver payroll
  • 5% reduction in total routes
  • 7% annual business growth

When Southern Wine & Spirits implemented MobileCast, it also licensed Roadnet Info Center, an enterprise wide tool that gives employees access to both Roadnet and MobileCast data. Southern uses MobileCast proactively to improve customer service when orders are shorted on the truck. For example, a sales person is notified that a delivery will be short, and the sales person then contacts the customer with the delivery time and the items that are not being delivered. “This new program is working very well and our customers are amazed that we can provide this information,” said Booth.

Unlike other systems, the integration of MobileCast and Roadnet allows Southern to compare where a driver is versus where the driver is supposed to be. If a driver is running late, for example, the route time is recalculated. Southern then alerts its customers to a time change in their delivery window.

Given that these time windows are critical for wine and spirits delivery, MobileCast also provides the driver or dispatcher the opportunity to re-sequence the route. “Approximately 4% of a route needs to be re-sequenced, and MobileCast allows us to stay on top of these stops so they are not forgotten,” remarked Booth. “Before, we did not know what deliveries were skipped until the routes came back at the end of the day. Now we watch as they happen and proactively contact the customer to make alternate arrangements. It’s revolutionary.”

MobileCast takes the guesswork out of Southern Wine & Spirits’ delivery day. “Having visibility to our routes helps us plan better and provide outstanding customer service,” Booth said. “This proves to our customers that we are aware of the latest technology and we invest in it to provide better customer service.”