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Merchandising automation – a new phase of sales evolution

Sales management in manual mode often prevents business community from sound progress and market share increase. The development of ambitious plans invokes other advanced technologies – automation of processes, which helps free the resources and forward them systematically onto the business objectives achievement. Why ALBO company has decided to automate processes of merchandising and how it helps within the implementation of sales plans, told in the interview Aleksey Druzenko, Director of strategic development and innovation department.

 

What objectives should merchandising complete?

Main objectives – merchandise display of products on the gold shelf according to the representation standards, developed by our marketing department. The proper presence, shelf share, Material Disposition, prices and marketing activities control, all the work so essential in sales.

 

What is your ultimate outcome?

100% of shelf are meant to be ours.

 

Does your company have experience in automation? Have you ever used any approach?

Previously we didn't use mobile application. There were automated only commercial agents in distribution company and there was no team of merchandisers as such. In the year 2017, we started to form our own merchandising department in sales and production direction.

We realized that the automation course is more accurate, and we followed it. It provides greater amount of control and operational control of the merchandising department, reducing, in particular, the costs for reporting.

In our experience, during a downturn, you can reduce any costs other than marketing and sales expenditures. These very expenditures directly increase the business performance. You need to work on the reduction of fixed expenses. And now this is the time when others are reducing marketing expenses, and we are increasing them.

 

What did you like most of all in the Effie> service? What objectives would you like to complete using the service?

Initially, we came to IPLAND company to automate the work of territorial managers. When we delved in the processes, we realized that automated Store-check might be very helpful for us. Working with this report shows exactly what kind of point has imbalance and whereon to focus.

The possibility of automation of field training for field staff of distributors was relevant to us, it is very convenient and effective in the terms of location of distributors in different cities of Ukraine.

We have long wanted to move beyond the usage of hard copies, in particular, forms of negotiations, and it has become possible now with the help of Effie>. Right now, in the course of the work, we arrived to the point when we are entirely satisfied with the service – there was a number of important reports being developed, the existing reports were upgraded.

 

Which reports are the most interesting for you?

Most essential to us are the following reports – Efficiency of merchandiser's performance, Efficiency of the territorial manager performance – in a few clicks any important information on the work of field staff becomes available.

Store-checks are very important, they save much time – the territorial managers don't have to generate them manually and the time saved and the data obtained may be used for task description directly to commercial agents.

Owing to higher control of problematic sales outlets, identified with the help of this report, the agreements with networks are being firmly held.

 

What are the new opportunities you got with the service?

Initially, we did not set the task of price survey over the networks. Having received such opportunity, we were able to adjust our own pricing and monitor changes in price strategy of the competitors. Dashboard give us an opportunity to more timely respond to the situation in commercial networks.

Besides, by the virtue of store-check, we consolidated control over the representation of products in points of presence, we can now efficiently work with range and representation of the brands on shelf.

We also obtained an opportunity to monitor such marker as out-of-shelf (Out-of-stock – OOS) in order to reduce such situations to zero. With the help of Effie> we began to make inventory of goods, which allows us to avoid the problem with incorrect balances.

 

Was it the tender being held, were there any other automation options?

We had a few options in consideration. Unfortunately, these companies couldn't always react promptly to our requests. But at one of the events, we came to know IPLAND, which interested us with its development.

During the pilot, we realized that this is what we needed. There were new reports developed additionally and the services were slightly modified to meet our needs. All of this was completed very promptly, and almost immediately following the pilot period, we brought Effie> into operation throughout the coverage. Also it is very helpful, that twice a month the developer updates the service, improving it and adding new and interesting features. For example, the possibility to put orders straightforwardly on the tablet or avoiding fake GPS-coordinates usage.

Thanks to Effie>, you can move entirely beyond the phone calls and Excel-files. Now, the territorial manager can view the performance record of the field staff per day with data upon every turn of each of them enroute available.

I can tell more specifically that the service and the company answer our purpose. The service suits us by usability feature, and the company always responds promptly to all our requests.

 

Information:

The group of companies "ALBO" is engaged in distribution of food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in Ukraine since 1996. The main objective is to make the distribution in Ukraine more well ordered, convenient and efficient.

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