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The Value of Smart Mobile Apps

May 16, 2018

I recently worked with an enterprise mobile app vendor that focuses on improving field representative servicing at FMCG/CPG companies. This offers a good case study in how mobile apps add value in the enterprise. We identified three high-level categories of added value:

  • Efficiency – doing more with the same or less effort. In one implementation, they found that account managers could complete two more visits per day with guidance from mobile apps.
  • Additional Sales – increasing sales by having the right products at the right price at the right stores. This comes from fewer stock outs, ensuring the right product mix and having the right displays and promotions in stores for seasonal sales patterns.
  • Savings – reducing the cost of running and supporting the process including training and motivating people, supporting applications, and proactively addressing potentially costly issues.

Some of the more interesting ways that mobile apps can add value in ways that were not feasible with more traditional applications are:

  1. Geo-fencing: GPS allows reps to spend the appropriate amount of time doing what is expected where it is expected. Algorithms can ensure the right stores get priority and can sequence and route optimize. This, coupled with retail activity optimization, gives focus to stores that will benefit most from attention. Managers and algorithms get insight into where reps spend their time and can optimize associated benefits.
  2. Actionable Alerts: Real time data insight can prioritize action using algorithms to suggest the right actions when they can most easily be completed. For example, it might prioritize and optimize routes for the day based on greatest need, identifying in-store tasks during a visit based on recent exceptions and pre-configuring an order by factoring in sell through information and seasonality.
  3. Planogram Compliance: Merchandising displays can be automatically compared to expected layouts using the mobile device’s camera and image recognition software.
  4. Gamification: Coaching using KPIs that award certifications for demonstrated performance and sharing relative performance rankings. Create games and contests around specific targets to motivate reps. The field force can enjoy the challenge of continuous improvement with focused feedback and can earn real-world rewards.

The confluence of Smart and Mobile is beginning to pay more value dividends and should be considered in any process improvement implementation.

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