Column: Why Tech Is Key in Transforming Alcohol Distribution

Though it was just last month, it feels like a lifetime ago when Cheryl Durzy and I sat down for the interview that appeared this week in Shanken News Daily. In it, we discussed how RNDC and LibDib are transforming our business to help suppliers and buyers navigate and innovate in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Since that time, the pandemic and its impact on our business has shown us that the pace of transformation has to shift into warp speed, and that it must offer the kind of resources that help sustain businesses in the toughest of times. 

When RNDC set plans in place for the eRNDC ecommerce platform, we knew we had to offer more than an online ordering portal – much more. Online ordering became just the ante in this fast-paced ecommerce game, and as it turns out, we needed to deliver it faster than ever before.

So we did. eRNDC is a three-sided marketplace that supports each part of the three-tier system – the supplier, the distributor, and the buyer. There is nothing like it in the industry. eRNDC transforms the way we support our business partners. 

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A major piece of eRNDC is the Supplier Portal. This side of our tech platform provides 100% of our suppliers with 24/7 online visibility into the status of requests as well as the management of their brands and distribution. We now have an industry leading online product catalog that supports our suppliers and our customers.  The response from them has been tremendous, especially as we’ve moved to managing our businesses from remote locations. The Supplier Portal truly evolved the way we thought about and managed our product catalog.

The eRNDC Supplier Portal is so powerful because it makes available product images and marketing content provided by our suppliers or marketing services team. Our suppliers, customers and sales teams can all access our product catalog with rich content.

There was an incredible amount of engineering that went into developing this technology. That’s why the RNDC team partnered with LibDib’s software gurus to work in partnership with our incredible RNDC IT organization to make this happen.

We will continue to accelerate the rollout of eRNDC, and we expect that by the end of July 80% of our buying customers will have access to online ordering. This is a huge milestone in our digital transformation. 

I believe that innovation is the key to sustaining the three-tier system now, and into the future. I am thrilled to accelerate the launch of eRNDC across our entire footprint. Because the “ante” will only get you into the game. It’s what you do with your cards that will win it. 

Tom Cole, a veteran of the alcohol beverage industry, is the CEO and President of Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) and Young’s Market Company (Young’s).

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