Field sales automation management software for leading global beverages manufacturer

The Client

The client, Supreme Distilleries Limited (SDL), a subsidiary of the Lexcel Group of Companies, is one of the largest wines and spirits-producing companies in Nigeria. Established in 2010, SDL manufactures beverages in its state-of-the-art facilities and markets fourteen brands of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in over thirty-five packaging options and sizes.

The Challenge

As a market leader in Nigeria for alcoholic beverages, SDL has established a large network of distributors for supplying its products across the country. The field sales team comprises SDL’s direct staff as well as salespersons employed by their distributors. 

The activities performed by the field sales team include:

  • sales representatives taking orders directly from key customers and distributors and from retailers on behalf of the distributors 
  • market development representatives doing merchandising activities

Sales orders collected by the field team were communicated in-person to the respective branch office or distributor at the end of a working week. This model posed a series of challenges for the company and there was an inordinate delay in field information reaching the operations and management team. SDL’s production team had no visibility of the orders picked by the field sales team and was hence unable to plan its activities in advance. This led to high production costs due to the ad-hoc nature of production planning. 

SDL was also forced to keep a very high inventory to ensure a reasonable order to delivery performance. Other challenges included delayed and insufficient competitor information coming from the field, and customer complaints beginning to escalate as they were not recorded formally and hence remained unattended for a long time.

The Solution

Experion implemented FieldMax Field Sales Management software to automate the sales & distribution process of SDL. The solution was customized and configured to match the exact business processes followed by the client. This was done after extensive discussions between Experion’s consultants and SDL’s business and IT teams. To maintain data integrity and seamless flow of data with existing IT infrastructure, the solution was integrated with the custom ERP solution used by SDL. The implementation of the solution was carried out in a phased manner and currently, the entire sales force of the client uses FieldMax solution for field sales operations.

The secondary order-picking process by the distributor sales team was automated with the help of FieldMax too. Sales personnel use Android-based applications to manage field activities – from planning field visits to capturing sales order information and stock details at retail points to managing offers and promotions, managing attendance, leaves & expenses, reporting sales numbers, and recording market feedback & customer complaints. The mobile application also utilizes GPS-based capabilities for route planning and real-time tracking as well as Bluetooth connectivity for the printing of invoices using compatible printers. In rural locations where network connectivity is limited, the mobile application provides the option to work offline and synchronize data when connectivity is re-established.

Field information collected from the mobile application, including sales orders, are communicated instantly to the solution’s backend servers. This information is accessible on a web application for branch offices or distributors to immediately process orders as well as respond to specific requests from retail partners. 

The company’s sales management team is also able to view real-time field sales data across sales territories as well as access market intelligence reports from the solution’s BI dashboards.

The Payoff:

  • The order to delivery time reduced from an average of 10 days to 3 days
  • Production efficiency improved as the team now has clear visibility of the orders being taken and is able to plan better.
  • Inventory held by SDL reduced by 5 day’s stock.
  • Productivity boost in field sales performance improved by 30%.
  • Real-time and accurate data available with management for making quick decisions in sync with the market.

Technology

  • Android
  • Microsoft .NET
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Power BI