2009 Mobilizer Awards: Best In Supply Chain/DSD
By Susan Nunziata
Anheuser-Busch InBev saw sales increase after deploying a mobile delivery platform.
Headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, Anheuser-Busch InBev
employs 120,000 people in more than 30 countries worldwide.
The company needed a way to improve its supply chain systems
for 4,500 users in Brazil and 500 users in Belgium to improve field sales,
field services, and distribution. The goal: to improve productivity for their
direct store delivery operation and improve accuracy of their invoicing and
Drivers were making an average of 10 deliveries per day and
tracking their progress with a paper-based manual system. At the end of the
day, data entry bins were filled with paperwork from hundreds of drivers,
awaiting input into the company's finance system. The company worked with
Deloitte Consulting and Spring Wireless to implement a fully mobile application
solution based on the Spring mSeries mobile platform. The solution uses
Microsoft BizTalk to integrate with InBev back-office systems as well as their
SAP applications. This puts access to key business applications in the hands of
field workers via Motorola MC70 rugged handheld computers. Some of the devices
are also equipped with barcode scanning capabilities.
ROI was achieved in six months and positive cash flow by the
third month. In addition, the availability of real-time data for accurate and
timely invoicing streamlined the invoicing process, reducing days sales
outstanding (DSO) by 15%, from an average of 45 days to 39 days.
Other metrics include:
time for picking products and inventory counting by 30%
productivity increased by 10% with elimination of paperwork. Each driver can
make a minimum of one additional stop per day than previously possible.
sales have increased 9% because drivers frequently sell additional product
beyond the order at delivery time. The additional driver stop per day provided
an increase in sales opportunities.
of administrative staff has increased 15% as a result of the elimination of the
neeed to manually key in the information into the computer.
START THE PRESSES
Magazine merchandisers for CMG deliver store data in real
Comag Marketing Group (CMG), jointly owned by Conde Nast
Publications and The Hearst Corp., provides leading magazine publishers with
comprehensive sales, marketing and promotional services. CMG employs a
400-member merchandising staff who are required to collect data and perform a
series of in-store condition checks.
CMG provides merchandising services to thousands of US retail locations
as well as US airport newsstands.
At airports, data was previously collected via legacy
handheld devices with an application designed and deployed in 2003 that was
limited in its flexibility to integrate into other CMG corporate systems. The
retail merchandising staff used either a manual "bubble form" or
entered the data into Excel spreadsheets.
The bubble forms were mailed weekly, and CMG's IS team had to process
them into an electronic data warehouse.
The Excel spreadsheets were submitted via email.
The new mobile solution allows merchandisers to scan barcode
information using a .NET custom application. The data are fed in real time into
CMG's Dynamics CRM environment, which allows for immediate reporting throughout
CMG worked with a number of vendors, including Panasonic
Toughbook and its VAR Trac2Mobile; Eastridge Technologies, which developed the
.NET Application; and Customer Effective, which developed and implemented
Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The retail team uses Panasonic Toughbook T8s, while the
airport team uses Toughbook U1s.
Both have embedded Gobi mobile broadband cards.
In the past, data collected in the field took three to four
weeks to be reviewed and processed. This data turnaround time only allowed for
trending; since most magazines have a shelf life of a week or a month, titles
were often off the shelf by the time information was available. That process
has been reduced to one to two days.
The total cost of the project (including hardware) was less
than $2 million. The company anticipates ROI within three years. "We can now substantially measure
where people go, how much time they spend in store, and we can do an efficiency
model or build in route optimization," says Sean Poccia, Senior Director
of Information Services with CMG.
Independent distributors needed a mobile solution to get
Tastykake to market
Philadelphia-based Tasty Baking Company offers more than 100
products under the Tastykake brand name, available as far west as Cleveland,
north to Northern New Jersey, south to Northern Virginia and east to the
Eastern Shore of Maryland. Products reach convenience stores, supermarkets and
other retail outlets across this geographic territory via a direct store
delivery system (DSD) operated by more than 450 independent sales distributors.
Until recently, these distributors used an outdated DOS-based application plus
Tasty Baking wanted to provide distributors with a mobile
solution that would give them a broad range of information to help them their
businesses. A software application vendor helped Tasty Baking create a
proprietary route direct store delivery (DSD) system, embedding Sybase's Afaria
and SQL Anywhere into the application. The Route DSD application was installed
on Motorola 9090 handheld devices equipped with barcode scanners, which
distributors use to capture data on product being removed from and delivered to
store shelves. The devices are connected via Bluetooth to the Zebra RW420
portable thermal printer. The application includes electronic signature
capture; store recipient's signatures into delivery tickets printed on site. Signatures are also electronically
transmitted to Tasty Baking as proof of delivery.
Afaria enables Tasty Baking's IT staff to manage the
distributors' devices from a central location. SQL Anywhere provides database
and synchronization capabilities. Tasty Baking wanted to optimize
synchronization between the Motorola devices and its Microsoft SQL Server and
SAP ERP system. "We wanted the whole package," says Tasty Baking CIO
Brendan O'Malley (a member of the Mobile Enterprise Editorial Advisory Board).
"One of the things we've focused on is to not have 17 different tools to
integrate. Whenever we can get a vendor to provide us with a complete
end-to-end solution, we think that's a good thing. Sybase having all the tools
for data integration, device management, [even] the device itself, that was a
While primarily developed to help streamline its
distributors' business operations and help distributors become more profitable,
Tasty Baking Company has seen a return on its investment through the reduced
billing cycles and improved product forecasting. Tasty Baking and its
distributors are now exploring a move to scan-based trading. Under this system,
products delivered to a store remain the property of the distributor until they
are actually scanned as sold by the store's register. At that point, the
transaction is reported and the store invoiced for the product, providing
accurate and efficient inventory management and billing.