Essential Features in Field Force Solution for FMCG companies
The FMCG industry is no stranger to mobile-based field force solutions. In fact, FMCG companies were among the pioneers to implement this technology. However, the solutions deployed by market leaders over a decade ago may no longer meet current business priorities and technology standards. Therefore, FMCG companies should exercise a more holistic and futuristic approach when deploying a field force management solution for their employees and not blindly follow market leaders.
The End Objectives
The first thing FMCG companies should do is list the end objectives as a way of establishing essential features that the solution must have. Available tools and apps are tailored to achieve five primary goals:
- Managing availability
- Managing visibility
- Minimizing expiry/return
- Better control on distributors
- Enabling deep penetration across geography
Essential Features for an FMCG SFA Solution
A complete solution should have features that can be used by both merchandisers and sales executives to view consolidated data in a single platform. Below are the recommended features based on experience serving several FMCG brands worldwide:
- Order Capture: Integration of distributor billing system (DMS or ERP) with readymade APIs available ensures timely retail replenishment. The solution can also identify SKU or region-wise demand, allowing for predictive analytics.
- Order Fulfillment: Complete visibility of order fulfillment is beneficial in improving brand confidence and detecting inefficiencies in the distribution network.
- Retailer Stock: A comprehensive solution should maintain sufficient availability at retail outlets. The feature should include complete visibility of critical and alarming stock levels, which can then be correlated with order fulfillment to initiate necessary actions.
- Product Expiry: A solution must be capable of capturing details of SKUs that are expiring soon. The proactive adjustment of stock levels based on this data helps avert immediate losses and support predictive analytics.
- Promotions and Offers: Tracking in-store promotional and offer activities is essential for the success of FMCG sales. Tracking also helps the company take quick and immediate action in case of any default.
- Share of Shelf: Visibility is key to the success of any FMCG product. The solution should provide insight into whether products occupy enough shelf space, particularly in "hot zones" that the company has paid for.
- Trade Schemes: The solution must be able to create distributer-to-retailer schemes visible within the sales app. This feature ensures that neither the distributers nor the retailer misses out on available schemes.
- Data Analytics and Visualization: The solution's potential should extend beyond data collection. At the end of the day, the company should access insights into the market from the various data captured to boost business growth. The solution must provide powerful data analysis tools and capable analytics engines such as heat maps that show coverage in interior areas or a more effective beat plan.
Assistive for FMCG Field Sales Use Cases
Assistive technology can manage all FMCG field sales use cases while integrating with existing IT infrastructure. With this technology, FMCG companies can customize the solution according to business needs and objectives. Companies now have access to advanced tools ranging from data analytics to continuous monitoring, thus providing access to relevant field data and insights on the go.
FMCG technology continues to evolve, including field force management. FMCG companies must not only keep up with technological advancement but also look for areas where they can improve. Implementing a field force management solution that fulfills personalized needs and end objectives has never been more important. The features and capabilities highlighted above should serve as a comprehensive guide in deploying an FMCG SFA solution that can support the present and future growth of the business.