Here’s an app for retail sales and distribution
Paperwork can be tedious, especially if you run a business that sends and receives truckloads of paperwork on a daily basis. Now Experion Technologies, a Techopark-based solutions and services company, has developed a pan-India app called FieldMax that links all sorts of sales and distribution activities through the mobile phone.
“Apps for business are not yet too prevalent in India as compared to the United States or Europe. Perhaps it’s because only a fraction of the 700 million-plus mobile users in India use smart phones. But things are changing, rapidly, and they say that this year 10 per cent of the phones in use in India will be smart phones. FieldMax, though, is an app that does not need a smart phone. It works on simple GPRS capable phones and smart phones as well. We have different versions built for smart phones and regular feature phones,” says Binu Jacob, managing director and chief operating officer of Experion.
Since it went live in 2009, the app has more than 50 businesses on its rolls and that includes many multinationals and national brands such as Mars International, Dr. Oatker, Coca Cola (North India), Nestle, Double Horse, Phillips Lighting, and so on.
The app can be likened to a one-stop shop with which sales and distribution executives, can capture orders, record new enquiries, collect payments, log complaints, appraise competitor information, give field sales status updates to managers and be pro-active in brand building activities, all in real time.
“When at the retail stores, all that the sales people need to do is log into the app with their password and enter whatever data they have/need. They can even plan their route for the day depending on the stocks at various outlets,” says Binu, who has a master’s degree in Management and Systems, IIT Delhi, and is an Electronics and Instrumentation graduate of the College of Engineering, Trivandrum. Binu was a commissioned officer with the Indian Air Force, before joining the corporate sector and has been in management for the past 20 years.
The app is not only a helping hand to agents on the field, but is an effective back office tool too. Says Binu: “It sends market information to the back office in real time and completely eliminates the need for manual data entry. It allows for instant responses to demands in the supply chain and integrates all related software,” adds Binu. For business that means, among others, “quicker return of investment, good visibility, expediting operations and accurate data.”Vinod Manjila, director of Manjila Group that retails, among others, Double Horse rice, and one of the first organisations to introduce FieldMax for its sales and supply lines, finds it a “simple and useful” app. “We’ve been using the app for more than a year in our rice division. It has helped avoid a lot of duplication of work and it has also helped to plug the communication gap that sometimes exists with product sales. Our younger agents caught on to the app really well, but generally, all the agents found it easy to use,” says Vinod.
Experion hopes to expand its operations into “similar markets” in Latin America and Africa soon, and a special version of the app for pharma companies is also on the anvil.