Nestlé automates its sales force with a SONDA solution

Client: Nestlé Industry: Manufacturing Solution: Mobile sales force

Summary

Nestlé Chile challenged SONDA to develop a project to automate its sales force in the field taking advantage of Information Technology (IT). Nestlé has been present in Chile since 1934, with a wide range of food products and recognized quality brands. Its production and exports have an impact on Chile’s economy and contribute 0.7% of Chile’s GDP. It employs 4,200 people, which includes 440 field sales staff that have now become mobile executives. This sales force is responsible for the retail trade which represents a high percentage of Nestlé’s sales. However, these customers operate with different buying patterns, since they are buying for short periods, often due to restrictions in space, logistics or finance.

Nestlé Chile challenged SONDA to develop a project to automate its sales force in the field taking advantage of Information Technology (IT).

Nestlé has been present in Chile since 1934, with a wide range of food products and recognized quality brands. Its production and exports have an impact on Chile’s economy and contribute 0.7% of Chile’s GDP. It employs 4,200 people, which includes 440 field sales staff that have now become mobile executives.

This sales force is responsible for the retail trade which represents a high percentage of Nestlé’s sales. However, these customers operate with different buying patterns, since they are buying for short periods, often due to restrictions in space, logistics or finance.

Solution

Mobile sales force Echoing these needs, SONDA delivered the Hardware including GPRS communication, Software, and a range of services including a help desk and operational continuity delivering first class service levels. The sellers are equipped with PDAs or mobile devices and printers that are synchronized with Nestlé’s systems. When they go to a store they have all the information about the customer to hand, including their commercial sales conditions, mix of products, current account details, and others. The seller takes the customer’s order and generates purchase orders that are immediately transmitted to the central system, thus activating operational and logistic processes. In addition, the solution is able to generate management reports that can be displayed constantly, since each sales supervisor can enter the system via the Internet and check what is happening in their sales team or territory. René Marty, Customer Business Manager at Nestlé Chile stressed “originally we needed many supervisors to monitor the sales force. Today, we can see on-screen the type and quantity of products ordered by the customer and what time the order was transmitted. If we see that something is not working correctly, or if demand has fallen away for a product, we can take immediate action. We no longer have to wait until the next day.” This is possible because the PDA contains systems that include the commercial policies and strategies implemented by Nestlé to serve its customers in a comprehensive and complete manner. Furthermore sales staff can provide a more personalized, agile and efficient service for their customers. Shortly after implementation, the Chilean experience became so successful that SONDA, together with the Nestlé organization GLOBE, began to receive requests for the implementation of this solution in other countries across the region. In August 2006 it was introduced in Uruguay to 40 mobile sellers, and soon Bolivia and Peru hope to implement it.

Mobile sales force

Echoing these needs, SONDA delivered the Hardware including GPRS communication, Software, and a range of services including a help desk and operational continuity delivering first class service levels.

The sellers are equipped with PDAs or mobile devices and printers that are synchronized with Nestlé’s systems. When they go to a store they have all the information about the customer to hand, including their commercial sales conditions, mix of products, current account details, and others.

The seller takes the customer’s order and generates purchase orders that are immediately transmitted to the central system, thus activating operational and logistic processes. In addition, the solution is able to generate management reports that can be displayed constantly, since each sales supervisor can enter the system via the Internet and check what is happening in their sales team or territory.

René Marty, Customer Business Manager at Nestlé Chile stressed “originally we needed many supervisors to monitor the sales force. Today, we can see on-screen the type and quantity of products ordered by the customer and what time the order was transmitted. If we see that something is not working correctly, or if demand has fallen away for a product, we can take immediate action. We no longer have to wait until the next day.”

This is possible because the PDA contains systems that include the commercial policies and strategies implemented by Nestlé to serve its customers in a comprehensive and complete manner. Furthermore sales staff can provide a more personalized, agile and efficient service for their customers.

Shortly after implementation, the Chilean experience became so successful that SONDA, together with the Nestlé organization GLOBE, began to receive requests for the implementation of this solution in other countries across the region. In August 2006 it was introduced in Uruguay to 40 mobile sellers, and soon Bolivia and Peru hope to implement it.

Results

The automated sales system allowed Nestlé to open new channels with horizontal commercial operators. These companies were not directly part of their sales force, but were offering Nestlé products in niche markets that the company had difficulty in accessing directly. The project has generated several benefits along the way, René Marty points out that while these are innumerable, there are two worth high-lighting: “the issue of speed, as time management has dramatically improved. Originally our sales staff had to take orders manually. Today, these sellers enter a store, take orders and transmit these directly which generates logistical efficiencies. We no longer have to wait for 6 or 8 hours to find out what is happening, or how a sales visit progressed. We know this immediately and can schedule the entire logistical operation around it.” The second major benefit for Nestlé has been information visibility, “knowing what our sales staff are doing on the street. Today I have visibility and I can respond in time to correct any variation in the demand or supply of our products,” the Nestlé executive explained. Due its success, Nestlé may incorporate further technology into the system, with the aim of automating practically 100% of the sales process.

The automated sales system allowed Nestlé to open new channels with horizontal commercial operators. These companies were not directly part of their sales force, but were offering Nestlé products in niche markets that the company had difficulty in accessing directly.

The project has generated several benefits along the way, René Marty points out that while these are innumerable, there are two worth high-lighting: “the issue of speed, as time management has dramatically improved. Originally our sales staff had to take orders manually. Today, these sellers enter a store, take orders and transmit these directly which generates logistical efficiencies. We no longer have to wait for 6 or 8 hours to find out what is happening, or how a sales visit progressed. We know this immediately and can schedule the entire logistical operation around it.”

The second major benefit for Nestlé has been information visibility, “knowing what our sales staff are doing on the street. Today I have visibility and I can respond in time to correct any variation in the demand or supply of our products,” the Nestlé executive explained.

Due its success, Nestlé may incorporate further technology into the system, with the aim of automating practically 100% of the sales process.

Benefits

  • Hardware with GPRS communication.
  • Software and a range of services including a help desk and operational continuity delivering first class service levels.