App eases merchandisers' remote woes

A Sydney-based company has launched a two-way sales and merchandising system aimed specifically for field staff in the fast moving consumer goods market.

The application, Purveyance, from De Data, is designed "from a merchandising point of view, where many workers are employed on a casual basis”, De Data's managing director Frank De Palo, said. “Existing systems tend to target the full-time sales professional with a notebook. Purveyance is applicable for each type of worker and can be deployed on a PDA to reduce capital costs.

De Palo said there was a shortage in the market for two-way supply chain and sales data systems, and this led to the development of a vertical package with a small footprint for use with mobile devices.

“Purveyance can capture and send data to and from field locations to keep track of sales and promotions,” De Palo said. “The data is not locked down and transfers can be done via a land line 1800 number or with GPRS and GSM.”

He said the solution scales well horizontally, but that the real benefit is the vertical integration with back-office applications such as payroll. “The reliance on manual systems is reduced , which speeds up workflow systems. The data follows through to the end user from the retail outlet, so problems in the supply chain can easily be identified.”

Sybase's Australia and New Zealand director Peter Fletcher said mobile databases are cost effective. “iAnywhere is a thin and lightweight database that has the features, such as recovery, expected of a full scale database,” Fletcher said. “We support 38 different databases including ODBC so we can talk to anything.”

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