Industries face increasing complexity and eroding margins, with global operations feeling the pressure most acutely. Finding ways to simplify operations and embracing emerging opportunities is a challenge every organization faces. At Consafe Logistics we look to new technologies to help our clients find the right balance – and increase their sales.
Imagine having a sales force so powerful and numerous it could meet with every customer, face-to-face, on a weekly basis. Imagine having a sales force with a deep knowledge of the customer’s buying patterns. And now imagine their services wouldn’t add one single Euro to company costs.
Henrik Nielsen, Sales Manager in Consafe Logistics, says that sales and marketing force is hidden in plain sight. "Empowered with the right technology, delivery drivers have everything they need to be more actively engaged in the sales process."
Traditionally, the delivery role is limited to moving goods from the warehouse to the customer. But, says Nielsen, new mobile systems can transform drivers into a powerful sales force at minimal cost. "Your delivery drivers have that face-to-face connection with your customers," he says. "They see them on a regular basis. They know the buying patterns. And with the right support, they can identify new opportunities."
Mobile solutions are the key to transforming delivery drivers into sales and marketing professionals.
The same mobile platform that allows them to manage distribution effectively can also deliver vital information related to the customer’s order history and offer suggestions for additional products and services that fit their buyer profile. Armed with this information, drivers can start a conversation with customers to better understand and meet their needs.
In addition, each driver’s mobile device provides a training mechanism, with e-learning modules delivered anywhere and anytime to help them train for their expanded roles.
The Carlsberg project
Consafe Logistics recently demonstrated the effectiveness of a mobile logistics solution in supporting both a direct store delivery network (DSD) and driver-initiated sales activities.
Carlsberg Group, one of the leading brewery groups in the world, with a large portfolio of beer and other beverage brands, contracted with Consafe Logistics to develop a mobile system capable of supporting 1,500 users in six European countries. The system needed to allow users to monitor the transport and distribution of products from warehouse to store while enabling faster delivery times and eliminating time-consuming paper processes.
"We were searching for a solution that could reduce time-to-market in our DSD network," explains Claus Jensen, supply chain adviser for Carlsberg IT A/S. With the new system, Jensen says, "We will be able to monitor the distribution fleet at all times and handle deviations and non-conformance events in real-time."
The Carlsberg system was built on a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) solution using the Antenna AMP platform, which was recently selected by Gartner as the leading MEAP (Mobile Enterprise Application Platform). Designed to integrate with Carlsberg’s SAP ERP system, the mobile system will decrease internal administration and service levels and deliver a lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) than their previous solution. Plus, being cloud-based, the SaaS model means Carlsberg doesn’t have to worry about implementing or servicing the system.
With the new system in place, Carlsberg and Consafe Logistics are exploring ways to use the mobile logistics platform to create new sales opportunities within the supply chain.
"Carlsberg sees the potential, and they’re asking for a range of sales functionality to be built into the on-road delivery system," says Nielsen. "We’re looking at things like special offers and tailored sales campaigns that use historical data to predict the customer’s needs and interests."
Ultimately, this type of system will support a new level of service to customers, Nielsen predicts. "Today, the driver’s role is reactive. This type of mobile platform supports a more proactive role, with drivers learning new skills and getting access to more information."
The fusion of sales and logistics is a new trend, but it’s one that’s already attracting interest. With prominent players such as the Carlsberg Group piloting new ways of selling throughout the supply chain, drivers’ roles could change dramatically in the near future, as could the function of logistics within the larger organization.
"Traditionally, the supply chain department sees itself as strictly a delivery mechanism," says Nielsen. "That won’t be the case for much longer."
Emerging best practices
What are some of the key considerations for companies interested in exploring the sales potential in their supply chain? These are some of the key learning’s from the Carlsberg project:
1. Future-proof it.
If you’re investing in a mobile solution that supports both sales and logistics functions, choose a platform that’s built to last. We built the Carlsberg solution on the Antenna AMP platform, which has been reviewed and approved by respected technology experts.
2. Think creatively.
To get the most out of your mobile solution, think outside your organization’s existing job descriptions. Today, e-learning tools make it easier than ever to deploy mobile training that helps employees move into new roles confidently.
3. Take it slowly.
While you want to know your system will give you "room to grow", you don’t want to grow too quickly. Formulate a plan that allows you to deploy new functionality bit by bit to give employees time to absorb new information and try out new tools.