Prakash Sreewastav

Prakash Sreewastav, CEO, WINIT Software, India’s leading Sales Force Automation Company.

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Mobility and Analytics Changing the Face of FMCG

We are now in the next phase of Sales Force Automation and this is being powered by Analytics, machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Digitalization and mobility adoption in FMCG companies happened a decade ago through Salesforce Automation (SFA). This was ably steered by large multinational like Unilever, BAT etc who always believed and used technology as a competitive advantage.

The early stages of SFA and digitisation were just about transition from paper based to paperless selling process which involved automating the field force and distributor sales man through hand held devices also known as PDA’s. The data, even though not real time, definitely brought in visibility and valuable information on workforce productivity, physical distribution and tracking of displays.

Since then the technology landscape has changed faster than anyone has ever imagined. Advent of android and thus affordable smartphones, deeper penetration of internet and mobile network, and the emergence of cloud computing made even small FMCG companies easily adopt digital technology and specifically sales force automation to improve their field force effectiveness. Modern solutions enabled real time data movement and analysis thus enabling business leaders drive course corrective action than just Post mortem analysis. Such solutions have demonstrated significant shift in overall productivity up to 25% and reduction in non-productive administrative time by up to 30% resulting in ROI realisation within a year.

We are now in the next phase of Sales Force Automation and this is being powered by Analytics, machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Leading e-commerce, retail and consumer technology companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook etc are living testimony of analytics as core driver and a business accelerator. For FMCG companies also, the usage of Mobility, Analytics and Real time Collaboration is truly ground breaking and changing the very purpose of digital adoption from being a productivity enhancing tool to a Selling tool.

This shifts the focus in the right areas of how an organization can ‘Sell More and Sell Better’ through technology and automation.

Machine Learning and Analytics are complex back room science. User experience design sits as on overlay on top of this complexity providing the end user, the sales man, with easy to use mobile solutions leveraging the complex data science. Easy to use cloud based, mobile solutions lay the foundation for solutions that scale across the organisation.

Some real business cases where Analytics is re-defining the Sales and Distribution game are:

• Route Optimisation:
(Static RO & Dynamic RO) Using Geo Codes of retail stores and organisation business requirements, the solution can propose the route clusters and the suggested coverage sequence. Leading organisations have experienced time and distance saving up to 47% which results into 15% of distribution cost.

• Order Recommendation: As earlier mentioned, Amazon and Netflix are benefiting by using such algorithms to improve their consumer engagement and sales per transaction. On similar lines, using machine learning and algorithms, FMCG companies can sell more to every retail store - more SKUs and more value. Initial results done by leading FMCG organisations are showing great promise and it will only grow in coming times.

Some other areas like target setting and forecasting, business planning, channel pricing, trade promotion management etc. can be powered by analytics to improve profit and sales.

The outlook for Analytics in FMCG companies continues to show a lot of promise over the long term. However, organisations need to be decisive of a clear strategy, choose right solution and implementation partner and of course take the first step towards a fulfilling and profitable journey through the ‘Science of Selling’.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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