Nestlé’s distribution network digitalized with TMX-SD
Burque is a leading distributor of Nestlé’s products in Asia and East Africa. It distributes products of this transnational food and beverages giant to thousands of customers across several countries. Burque has worked in close collaboration with Nestlé and TLX Mobility to digitalize its sales and distribution network.
For many distributors of Nestlé’s products in Asia, maintaining and managing the paper trail of orders, deliveries and payments is extremely cumbersome and error-prone. To efficiently manage a vast network reaching 200 million consumers and to enable real-time visibility across its entire sales channel, Burque – Nestle’s main distributor in Pakistan – decided to deploy TMX-SD – a field sales mobility solution for distribution companies.
With clients distributed from large urban centers to remote rural areas, Burque needed a solution that would work even if there is no data connectivity. Timely reporting was critical to plan delivery routes for a large number of field agents. Alerts on stock levels, deviations from planned routes or management of tardiness was important to help achieve greater customer satisfaction.
The TMX-SD product proved to be the answer. It has an easy to use web portal for managers and an Android mobile App for field agents. TMX-SD is also fully integrated with the Oracle ERP at Burque. Sales orders and deliveries are captured on the Android smartphones and synchronized into the ERP solution, while information on pricing, promotions and stock availability of inventory items fiows from the ERP to TMX-SD.
Sales and Distribution Operation Challenges
Nestlé (the principal) and Burque (distributor) rely heavily on field based sales and distribution to retain and grow their market share. The performance of the field sales team is key to achieving this objective.
Burque was using paper forms for managing their sales and distribution operation. Information from the field was collected and collated at least a day later and manually entered into its distribution management system. There were several major issues, including:
Field Agents were:
- Making errors while using paper forms for recording sales and deliveries.
- Under-supervised with no management visibility into performance in the field.
- Waiting for hours to mark the day-end due to long queues at branch offices and the problem was becoming worse due to an increase in sales.
The decentralized system for capturing the sales operation was:
- Causing at least a one-day delay in getting productivity KPIs required for daily morning and evening sales meetings.
- Resulting in data errors such as duplication at shops, customers and items level.
- Hurting sales – with frequent stock shortages resulting in order cancellations and unhappy customers – since agents in the field did not have accurate inventory levels in storage depots at the time of booking sales orders.
TMX-SD as the Solution
TMX-SD is a mobility solution to manage the activities of Burque’s field sales agents. Our goal was to make Burque:
- A real-time business with “always-on” access to field staff.
- Achieve demonstrable improvements in service quality.
- Manage the field force effectively and accurately with unprecedented insight into performance.
- Control and reduce costs.
TMX-SD was implemented over a private cloud and integrated with Burque’s Oracle ERP system. The major system components include:
TMX-SD Mobility Portal – provides access to information and reporting for enterprise users at head office. Burque management is now able to perform the following functions using a customizable portal dashboard:
- Complete order processing from booking, fulfilment, payment, and receipts.
- Manage warehouse and inventory adjustments via tactical promotions and order management.
- Manage customer information including store locations.
- Manage field agent operations by defining and communicating daily sales plans, routes, and geotracking for quick and accurate updates for customers.
- Create daily reports for sales and distribution planning.
- Gain insights by using analytics to identify sales opportunities, evaluate field agents’ performance and more.
TMX-SD Field Agent Mobile App – automates key sales and distribution transactions for field sales agents who can now perform the following functions over their Android hand-held devices:
- Receive their daily activity plan from the head office and start by creating a personal journey plan for the day.
- Order processing at customer locations: Field agents can book orders, sell at the spot, deliver goods, process returns, collect payments including cash memos, generate receipts and capture customer signature on their devices.
- Secondary functions that improve their work efficiency such as set daily field targets, SKU Search, Bluetooth printing, generate reports and get notifications via email or SMS.
- Marketing functions such as identifying and communicating schemes and promotions, merchandizing by item placements and taking before and after pictures for the head office, capturing customer feedback, and collecting competitors’ information.
TMX-SD Android devices use communication links to send their data immediately to Burque servers. If connectivity is not available, data is stored locally on these devices and synchronized with servers automatically whenever a network connection becomes available.
TMX-SD has delivered the following benefits to Burque’s Sales and Distribution operation:
- Data capture time at the day end has been reduced from 6 hours to less than 1 hour.
- Duplication of retail outlet data has been minimized drastically.
- Order execution efficiency has been increased by 20%.
- Near real-time visibility of sales orders allows managers to plan next day’s activities within one hour of the day end. Previously, they would rely on two-day-old data with significant data entry errors.
- Location access via GPS allows sales managers to plan more efficient routes for their field sales officers decreasing the fuel and vehicle maintenance costs by 15%.