Marico’s Distributor Sales Representatives (DSRs), when
out on the field, did not have access to information pertaining to
stock levels at the distributor point and buying patterns of each
outlet. Routine processes such as order booking, collections, and
sales were captured manually in books. The DSR would manually enter
these details into a distributor software at the end of the day.
This was very time-consuming and prone to errors. Over the years
Marico’s portfolio got diversified and the company entered
new categories. There was an exponential increase in the number of
brands and the width and range of stock keeping units. Marico
realized that it had to give the DSR focused information on demand,
so that he could execute sales plans effectively. The need of the
hour was a Decision Support Tool.
Marico decided to go in for a PDA-based Sales Force Automation
Solution, which was developed using Microsoft .Net Compact
Framework with SQL CE as the backend. This application now gives a
DSR focused information during sales calls. The PDA application
also provides focused information about each outlet. This has
improved the quality of interaction between the retailer and the
sales force. It also helps the DSR to drive channel-specific plans.
The PDA application makes DSRs productive from day one. Earlier a
new DSR would take up to two months before he could effectively
perform in his new territory. With the help of the PDA application,
all information about the retailers is immediately available. The
application has also introduced standardization ; each DSR
has access to the same data points in similar formats. Further, the
application has been very effective in new product launches. DSRs
can explain the new product features to the retailers through video
clips on their PDAs.
* PDA has resulted in business growth of more
than 15 percent (in cities in which they are used)
* Outlet level target achievement has increased
by over 35 percent