Technology helps food distributors meet demands during football season

Businesses that are in charge of transporting food products from regional depots to local grocery stores and supermarkets may find warehouse distribution software to be a major advantage during the winter season. January and February are typically two of the most trying months for fleet owners. While severe weather and slick road conditions are often major factors contributing to shipping problems, the National Football League playoff season may ultimately be the main source of stress for both transportation companies and food service providers.

Football is one of the most popular sports in the U.S. Especially during the playoffs, fans around the nation have a reputation for hosting their own parties to watch the games with friends and family. These activities naturally require frequent trips to the grocery store. As it turns out, this year's playoffs have already contributed to a large number of shortages at supermarkets throughout the nation.

Playoff season leads to temporary supply chain issues
According to a report from The Associated Press, Kraft Foods recently announced it is experiencing a shortage of its Velveeta cheese products. As a result, football fans may have trouble finding ingredients for many popular dips to leave out at their viewing parties in the next several weeks. While Kraft didn't offer an explicit reason for the shortage, Jody Moore, a spokesperson for the company, said the issue will be especially noticeable during the playoff season. Kraft had already been running television commercials during previous games advertising a recipe for a special dip.

"It is possible consumers in any part of the country may not be able to find some Velveeta products," Moore told The AP.

Grocery stores in the U.S. may suddenly find themselves with a heightened need for fast and reliable foot shipments to fill the void left by a shortage of Velveeta. Fleet managers can rise to these challenges by investing in advanced technology such as truck dispatch software to keep better track of scheduled assignments and deliveries.

Football fans are staying home to watch games
If recent consumer trends are any indication, grocers and supermarkets will likely struggle to keep their shelves fully stocked during the remainder of the football season. In fact, Business Insidersaid many NFL teams have been unable to sell all the seats to their home games, despite the fact that these are often the most high-stake and sought-after tickets throughout the months-long season. Some cities have cited recent cold weather as a major barrier to getting people to the stadiums. However, the website said the NFL invests so much in primetime network television coverage that most fans have simply opted to watch the games from the comfort of their own homes.

"The NFL is a juggernaut," the article stated. "It's a $9 billion business. Forty-six of the 50 most watched TV broadcasts of 2013 were NFL games."

While television ratings for other sports broadcasts have declined in recent years, the NFL continues to achieve strong live viewership numbers every week. The online publication Sports Media Watch compiled information from various television networks and found football games made up the first 26 of the 50 most-watched sporting events in 2013.

Since such large numbers of people plan to have friends over to their homes to watch the rest of the NFL playoffs, food distributors may be responsible for completing more shipments than normal over the next several weeks. Grocery stores depend heavily on the ability to keep their aisles supplied with the products their customers are most likely to purchase. In the event of a shortage, a swift ground delivery can make all the difference in preventing sales numbers from sinking. With the right logistics software, fleet managers can boost the overall efficiency of their operations and satisfy the demands of their customers. This technology will also allow businesses to be more flexible in the face of temporary shifts in consumer trends. After the Super Bowl, the need for more shipments may die down - at least until the next event that encourages more people to stock up at the local supermarket. No matter what the economic conditions, fleet owners must embrace automated tools to make their businesses run at full speed.