Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting Columbia Distributing for an onsite visit. The Columbia team traveled down from Oregon to celebrate their success as a distributor utilizing Fintech for alcohol invoice processing and to experience all that Tampa Bay has to offer. We were able to sit down with them to discuss how Fintech has streamlined its operations and its ongoing needs to better serve its customers.
About Columbia Distributing
Columbia Distributing, Mt. Hood Beverage, and Gold River Distributing came together in 2008 to form the Columbia Distributing we know today. The company expanded further in 2018 with the acquisitions of Marine View Beverage and General Distributors, Inc., making it one of the largest malt beverage distributors in the United States with hubs in Portland, Oregon, and Kent, Washington. It boasts a wide selection of over 300 brands, including both non-alcoholic beverages and various craft beer, wine, and spirits.
Creating Distribution Efficiencies With Fintech
In partnership with Fintech, Columbia Distributing optimizes its deliveries with retailers across the entire Pacific Northwest. Pitching Fintech to retailers is easy when it comes to time management. Managers don’t need to be onsite to provide cash or checks for deliveries. Fintech’s automated electronic funds transfer (EFT) capabilities support faster deliveries and simpler reconciliation.
For smaller owner/operator or mom-and-pop accounts, integrating technology can be intimidating, but Columbia Distributing bridges the gap by explaining the benefits and by making it easy to enroll right through its own personalized enrollment links. Drivers can provide QR codes for real-time sign-up, or customer support reps can walk them through the online process. Another significant selling point is that Fintech doesn’t touch the retail account’s funds but rather facilitates automated payments that speed up the process and free up resources to dedicate toward other areas of the business.
Investing in Tech to Support Drivers
Commercial drivers are the backbone of the three-tier system. Companies like Columbia Distributing recognize the importance of ensuring their drivers are happy and support them with solutions like Fintech. These types of solutions show drivers that the company is taking strides to make their day flow as smoothly as possible. This builds trust with drivers and confidence in knowing the company has their backs.
Instead of walking into a delivery and waiting to collect payment and a receipt signature, accounts can even set up dark drops before business hours where drivers can deliver the product with limited interaction. This enhances route efficiency for drivers by reducing the time at each stop.
EFT payment solutions like Fintech also promote driver safety by eliminating the need to carry cash on hand throughout their entire delivery route.
Supporting Retail Accounts With Payment and Ordering Capabilities
The Columbia and Fintech partnership also helps retailers. Businesses can be prone to robberies with cash on hand for deliveries, with some businesses going so far as to stash money in various spots. With automated EFT, payments are handled on the backend, and businesses can sit back knowing their money is secure.
It is also better for accounts with flexible scheduling. When accounts sign up with Columbia, they have the option to designate the types of products they need (alc/non-alc), 5-hour delivery window, preferred delivery days, lunchtime delivery options, and much more. Coupled with Fintech’s invoice payment automation, deliveries are a breeze for both the distributor and retailer. On-premises accounts can even opt for draft system installations as needed.
Columbia Distributing has another tech capability to optimize ordering for accounts. The Fridge, Columbia’s online ordering portal, allows accounts to move through the checkout process faster, view and track orders, store multiple shipping addresses, and more.
Empowered by Industry Partnerships
Columbia’s success as one of the top malt beverage distributors is a testament to how they treat their customers and staff. By employing tech solutions like Fintech and The Fridge, Columbia is able to enhance operational efficiency on both sides of the transaction. We’re proud to work with Columbia Distributing and will continue to improve alcohol distribution across its growing network with our expanding solutions.
If you are an alcohol distributor looking to enhance operations, learn more about how Fintech can help here.