Firm cuts sleuthing costs with database automation

Off-the-shelf product fit for techies, luddites.

Market management firm SellAgence has slash printing costs by 80 percent and reduced it's phone bill by 40 percent with an off-the-shelf field sales automation platform.

The Auckland-based company supplies market management services including field force operations to customers including Procter and Gamble, Ferrero and Kodak.

Reports detailing local market presence and shifts in competitor prices and offerings are sent to clients by the company's 80 field sales staff who operate on tight deadlines.

The hosted solution from vendor O4 was deployed within eight weeks.

SellAgence IT systems manager Mark Emirali said staff previously had to collate changes in the retail landscape on paper-based documents which slowed the company's responsiveness.

"We think we can cut our printing costs by about 80 percent and our mobile phone bill down by 30-40 percent," Emirali said.

"We are aiming for an aggressive one year ROI in cost savings alone. The benefits of improved reporting and response times, more effective field representatives and increased customer satisfaction are even greater.

"We can react quickly to a real time situation such as a competitor dropping their prices, or a product being out of stock, distribution not up to where it should be."

SellAgence field staff can retrieve updates and messages from the central databases using handheld devices before they enter retail stores, and can upload reports immediately after.

The system processes all compliance checks, stock tallies and product and promotion surveys, cutting administration and printing costs, while additional money was saved in wages for data entry staff.

Business development director Jenny Peploe said the company wanted a solution to cater for techies down to luddites.

"We wanted something that was easy to use to cater for different levels of tech-savyness in the field team and was also robust and reliable and wasn't today's latest toy," Peploe said.

"Our guiding principal was that the system had to be flexible and able to manage an entire call, view a spreadsheet, take a photo and make a phone call."

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