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Ascania FMCG: “We managed to build a nationwide unified merchandising system. It was done due to the effie> service and teamwork of our KAMs and the Marketing Department. As a result, the sales have increased and the OOS decreased.”

A large distribution business requires maximum consistency in the processes structuring. Andrii Voichuk, Trade Marketer, talks about the secrets of Ascania FMCG’s success.

 

Please tell us about the Company’s business and brands

 

Ascania FMCG is an importer and distributor of confectionery, grocery, tea and coffee range, and other food products. More than 60% of its own products are sold through its own distribution network, and direct deliveries are carried out to more than 18,000 points of sale.

- 6 own distribution entities;

- more than 50 partner companies in Ukraine;

- more than 500 full-time employees;

- own merchandising structure;

- own production;

- storage facilities in different regions of Ukraine;

- own freight forwarders structure with a fleet of vehicles of different carrying capacities;

- own vehicles with refrigeration units.

 

Brands: Lavazza, Tchibo, Davidoff, Dilmah, Althaus, Storck, Kotanyi, Rio Mare, Hortex, Nordic. Own TM: Yarylo, GardenZ, Okki, Mr.Сorn, Spela, Skandinavika, Polar Star, Carta Verde, Erbe.

 

Why did the Company decide to automate the processes of standards and sales management in the national retail chains? What was the reason?

 

The Company was in the process of merchandising reorganisation. Before, the Merchandising Department was subordinate to the Sales Department, and now it is controlled by the Marketing Department.

 

We needed to review all the merchandising control tools, because the old methods, like Viber control by photos sharing, were not good enough. And we began to study the market and offers from the companies, and this is how we found the need for service.

 

How did you choose the service? Why IPLAND?

 

We have reviewed all the market offers, made tables with questions and answers on the features, and noted all the pros and cons of each of them. I also installed every mobile app on my phone and personally tested all the demo versions.

 

As a result of a practical comparison of features, we choose the effie> as the most suitable app for us. The service covered all our needs, plus it provides the best, in my opinion, data visualisation in the form of analytics.

 

What tasks were set at the start of the joint project with effie>?

 

One of the main tasks was to create an assortment matrix (product range).  We already had the matrices for some chains and for others did not, but we need them to understand in which stores and with which products we are presented.

 

The task was set for merchandisers to design the assortment matrix for those chains which do not have it, using the effie> service. We found ourselves in this situation because the chains either did not want to provide matrices or asked the money for it. We were able to create a unified product matrix with the involvement of our merchandisers.

 

The second task was to deal with out-of-shelf products in points of sale, their digitisation and reduction because the old system (in Viber or direct calls to KAMs) did not work. We wanted to digitise and fully control the situation, and we succeeded.

 

The third task was obviously to control the discipline of field employees. We managed to solve it very quickly with the service.

 

IPLAND_effie_Ascania_en_01

 

A few months after the pilot project, we were able to revise and develop a new incentive system linked to the performance results in effie>. And while there used to be a salary rate plus bonuses for performing specific tasks, with the new system we have a salary linked to various KPIs and effie> indicators.

 

What features are most in demand today? What kind of options do you have with them?

 

First, it is an assortment matrix that gives us a complete picture of our brands representation in the retail chains. We continue to deal with out-of-shelf products making analytics on a weekly basis. Using the service, we track the dynamics as to decreasing or increasing.  

 

Certainly, there is also a photo gallery where we can view the situation on the shelf. This is very convenient for office employees who cannot visit stores.

 

With effie>, we can control filed employees when their manager is in any other city. Price monitoring is one of the important tools enabling us to track the competitors’ dynamics.

 

Among the important tools, there is control over the timely start of trade marketing activities. Again, we can control how any promo works in a particular retail chain. Whether it started or not, whether there is a promotional product on the shelf or not. This is very important as well.

 

How has the brand management process changed in the chains today? How do you work with analytics? What decisions do you make? What does it give you?

 

The service helped us understand our representation, product range and calculate the costs for each brand, since we have a large portfolio. Due to the service, we proportionally allocated these costs with no effort.

 

IPLAND_effie_Ascania_en_02

 

Of course, the lockdown affected our work. The main problem is logistics, the movement of mobile employees around the city. We solved it by revising the routes. We allowed visiting any points randomly, which is more convenient in terms of logistics. effie> allowed us to do this very quickly.

 

We are actively working with the assortment matrix dashboards, which make it possible to control out-of-shelf products, in particular. The dashboard allows us to quickly track the representation of our products, their range, and which POS they are available at.

 

It often happens that a chain decides to close or open the possibility of shipping a product item to a point of sale without notifying KAM. The system allows receiving promptly information from the merchandiser that a certain product has appeared in the range or has been taken away. We can quickly make changes to a product range, while KAMs get the information they can use to communicate with a chain to clarify the situation.

 

Information on OOS products obviously allows the Sales Department to communicate with a chain and decide on the increase in shipments because we see both OOS products and critically low stock. Thank to this we understand that the volumes that chain orders are not enough. Accordingly, the order amount must be increased. KAMs use this data as well and communicate with chain representatives to impact their orders.

 

Please share the results the Company has recently achieved due to the automation.

 

We managed to create a unified assortment matrix, and we can quickly download and work with it, which we did not have before.

 

With the automation, we managed to improve discipline to almost 100%, since the salary of merchandisers is linked to KPIs fulfilment. Everyone knows their indicators, the supervisors bring this information to their teams on a weekly basis.

 

Everyone is interested in getting their bonuses, so, as a result, the guys are very responsible for their work and the work with the app. Of course, this has an impact on the work quality. They know that they are always under control, and they give their best at the point of sale.

 

IPLAND_effie_Ascania_en_03

 

We managed to build a nationwide unified merchandising system. It was done due to the effie> service and teamwork of our KAMs and the Marketing Department. As a result, the sales have increased and the OOS decreased.

Nikolay
Phone: +38 050 593 39 18
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