By Tom Cole, President and CEO, Republic National Distributing Company
Our industry has survived tough times, from world wars to prohibition, and it will survive this pandemic, too. On the other side of this crisis, however, there is no doubt our business will look different.
The question on all our minds, of course, is, “What does different look like?” The answer to that changes every day. But one thing I am sure of: business solutions will need to be innovative, intelligent, and immediate.
I’m proud that our ecommerce platform, eRNDC, is ahead of the game on innovation. eRNDC is a powerful tool. It’s not just online ordering — it’s an online experience on steroids. It’s a three-way platform that connects suppliers with our associates and management, and buyers with their sales reps. eRNDC is now available in seven markets, including Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Our goal is to reach more than 80% of our customer base by the end of July, and we are looking forward to introducing this exciting platform to our customers across all our markets.
What makes eRNDC so unique in the industry? It’s built on the latest technology, it’s fully integrated, and it’s intelligent. And it’s 100% proprietary – built from the ground up to be entirely tailored to the beverage alcohol distribution industry. That is especially important to us because there is a high degree of complexity to consider with market level regulations. eRNDC is a customized solution that provides a seamless user experience because we have designed it specifically to meet the needs of our suppliers, customers, and associates. And, we will continue to expand the features and options for our various users.
Even before the pandemic, we had shifted into a world of immediate accessibility to information. And eRNDC delivers technology that offers all our users real-time access to information needed for informed decision-making and responding to change.
On eRNDC, suppliers can access their full product portfolio leveraging our digital product catalog and contact our team members directly while having access to all the key systems they may leverage with us. Customers have access to the entire RNDC digital product portfolio, product marketing materials, and quick reference to account information such as order history and delivery status. And perhaps a key differentiator is how eRNDC encourages collaboration between our sales reps and customers by providing access to all the same information, plus customer management features like recommendation lists, sell sheets, and account performance.
A significant part of my vision for RNDC’s digital transformation was one amazing online place where we could do business together efficiently. There are so many moving pieces to the wholesale business and eRNDC has connected them all. And in an industry that will continue to evolve, we are built to evolve, too. I love thinking about what eRNDC will look like one year, three years, and five years from now. The power of what we can do together is incredible and will modernize this industry for the future.
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).