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“Our goal - transparent and honest relations with our distribution partners”, Sergey Neforosov, Head of the Audit Department, Alkoline LLC, TM Bolgrad

Who could be truly interested in sales as much as the manufacturer of the product? It is on his shoulders that the responsibility for the development of distributors’ ecosystem and thousands of points of traditional trade rests. How can a manufacturer manage to “reach” each point of sale in time, to extend the ACB (Active Customer Base) and establish transparent relationships with distribution partners, - details about the experience of sales management transformation says Sergey Neforosov, Head of the Audit Department of Alkoline LLC, TM Bolgrad.


Sales represent a complex process with many elements. And, audit is one of the main processes that ensures the effectiveness of the entire sales chain from the manufacturer to the final customer.


Previously, an audit at Alkoline Company, TM Bolgrad, was limited to controlling representation in the chains channel using photo reports from merchandisers and monthly paper store-checks from territorial managers.


The process looked like this (probably, many readers will recognize their own process): merchandisers sent photo reports to the cloud, and an employee in the office processed these data arrays of 100 photos a day. In such a way, we obtained a general understanding of what was going on in the channel, and motivation was formed on the basis of such photo reports. Clearly, it was impossible to verify the reliability of photo reports and understand the real situation on the store shelves. Manual process is equally uncontrolled and not amenable to standardization. Therefore, it’s rather risky to make an assessment, make forecasts and distribute marketing funds without reliable analytics.


To gain complete control over our shelf, we decided to implement the effie> IT service. In such a way, we obtained a control and analytics tool for literally everything that happens in the fields. And the next logical step was the formation of a completely new, full-fledged audit department: in essence, the distribution control department.


Now we receive reliable analytics, with the help of which we determine our real market share and we don’t just keep it but increase it by constantly monitoring our presence on the shelf. We also get detailed analytics of the assortment matrix, one of the most important indicators in the network channel, for the conformance of which we pay money.


In addition, we have begun to monitor separately indicators related to trade marketing activities. For example, now we are separately tracking additional points of sale. Our task is to study the Ukrainian market, visit each point of sale (POS) at least four times a year to understand trends and our position compared to competitors. effie> helps us to consolidate data on all POS and all parameters and, thanks to an advanced analytics system, receive reports in any cross-sections.


At the first stage, after implementing the effie> service into the merchandisers’ work, we understood how we are represented in the chains channel. Starting in May 2018, after the launch of the Distribution Control Department, we additionally introduced the functions of representative control in traditional retail and the use of marketing investments. It is also very important for our company.


In addition, we started to measure the indicator of an active customer base, being one of the key indicators of the Sales Department. Today we monthly monitor our coverage: which client base worked, how it worked for each distributor, for each territory, respectively, and for the country as a whole. This was previously measured as well, but not so effective, there was only a general understanding of the situation (rising or falling), now in one click we can delve into a specific outlet with photos of the shelf.


Our auditors have the task of constantly adjusting the customer base (CB), for which a special step in visits was created. CB, after all, as a living organism, is constantly changing. Another key aspect is the search and development of new POS, which are a potential for the development of the Company's sales. Thanks to the introduction of effie> and the work of the Control Department, since the beginning of 2018, the ACB of Alkaline company, TM Bolgrad has increased by 15%, and this figure continues to grow.


According to the store checks results today, we understand what the average SKU is and at what point of sale it is, that is, we measure quality distribution and the quantity of our products on the market. This indicator was previously measured as well, but not as simple as in effie >. The store checks were performed by our territorial managers in paper form, then they (the store checks) were electronically entered by a separate employee, after which the average SKU for the territory, for instance Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Chernihiv and so on was displayed.


After introducing reports, creating an audit department and more extensive work of auditors in retail outlets, we began to clearly understand, for example, what was the dropout percentage from assortment matrices in networks. This is a very important indicator for us.


We started to measure TOP SKU. Alkoline, TM Bolgrad, like any other large company, have their TOP-assortment items, the sale of which brings the greatest benefit of the Company, or the representation which is a priority at this stage. There is a number of SKU, which must be 100% represented in every alcoholic POS in the country, except for the network channel (the chain channel has its own assortment matrices).


With the help of reports in effie> we began to understand what the average representation of SKUs from TOP-15 is in a particular territory and in the country as a whole. Previously, we did not have such an opportunity.


Today we understand where we need to put more effort, in which group, and where everything is fine. Based on this, we understand the tasks for the Sales Department.


At this stage, the most tangible results can be considered a significant improvement in the quality of distribution in the chains channel (the number of drop outs from assortment matrices has been reduced by an order of magnitude), the search and connection of new POS, and the monitoring and optimization of the marketing budgets use.


Our goal is a transparent and honest relationship with our distribution partners. Automation of information exchange between our companies is one of the important components of such relations and we are working together with IPLAND on its implementation.


Company Information:

The Bolgrad winery, founded in early 1900, represents the rich historical heritage of the winemaking of Ukraine. The volume of production capacity allows to process up to 40 thousand tons of grapes per season.


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