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As easy as [chocolate] pie

Cadbury is mobilising its sales force.

BY  Samantha Perry , 2 December 20090 comments

Gary Whittock, says his company's sales force is out on the road, in the countryside.Gary Whittock, says his company's sales force is out on the road, in the countryside.

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Cadbury, the wellknown confectionary company, recently completed an implementation that saw it roll out a mobile sales order processing solution, from JustEnough Mobile, to its sales force.

According to Pieter Spies, sales director at Cadbury South Africa, this is giving the company a significant competitive advantage, boosting revenue and reducing costs.

“We are anticipating a five percent growth in revenue as a direct result of more efficiencies in the system,” he says.

The solution allows reps to process orders, check stock levels in real time and print invoices. Simple enough tasks, but it’s making a big difference to Cadbury. Says Cadbury national sales manager Gary Whittock: “The project kicked off in April 2006 with the gum part of the business.”

Gum had a separate system to chocolate and the sales force on that side started out with what Whittock calls a ‘rugged version’. Sales reps work on the road, selling stock literally out of the back of a van.

Says JustEnough VP Mark Morris: “These guys pretty much draw stock from the depot during the day, go out and see customers and do top-up sales [on site], so they have to manage the process of drawing stock, making sure they have enough of the right stuff because if they get the mix wrong they sell less. They make up orders at the customers. Once it’s made up, they can now scan goods outside the van and the mobile processing system produces admin, like goods received notes and delivery notes, etc.”

“Based on that [success] we decided to implement the solution for chocolate too,” says Whittock, “bearing in mind they don’t sell off a van – it’s all done via SAP.” The chocolate implementation kicked off in April 2008, says Whittock, and has been hugely successful.

“The vast majority of our sales force is out in the country, not in the urban centres,” he says. “Information flows could take days or weeks. Reps are also not necessarily dedicated [Cadbury reps], they could be representing ten principals on a day, they don’t have time to phone and gather information.”

Since the implementation, information flows are instant, and reps can see on their PDAs what is in stock.

Other information reps have access to includes a customer’s history, their sales targets, how they are tracking against said target and snapshots of customers they’re scheduled to see on a day.

In the past, says Cadbury sales capability manager Dean Maritz, reps needed to call in to activate deals in SAP and it took 45 minutes to an hour to do a free stock deal [a volume incentive, e.g., buy five get one free]. “Now it’s instantaneous.”

Cadbury needed to reduce its discount claims, Maritz says, which the system has helped it do because the PDAs get pricing that is correct at the exact moment the deal is being done, where in the past reps would have to work it out. And with the number of variables involved, and the timing, errors were common.

“This has a big impact,” says Whittock, “because some customers will not pay an entire invoice if there is a claim on it.”

All this information, Maritz points out, is useless unless Cadbury can report on it, so JustEnough created a SmartClient package that lets individual users report back on daily sales, missed calls and so on.

From its customers’ point of view, says Maritz, they want to know what they need to buy, if they need to buy it, is it in stock? “We feel the interaction between reps and customers is more professional as the information reps take to them is more complex, and they’re being seen as more knowledgeable as a result. Order fulfillment is better and they can substitute items [immediately] if something is out of stock. Order placing is better and they can get an idea of how they are tracking for the month.”

Cadbury now has 180 users on the system, which has been rolled out nationally. The company learnt some valuable lessons along the way.

Says Maritz: “For me the biggest lesson was that if you don’t make middle management part of the process from the beginning, there is potential for them to feel left out. Whittock says the choice of software partner is critical. “We were fortunate – JustEnough could satisfy our current needs but almost pre-empt how the project formed and be proactive in terms of future releases.”



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