When we discuss Technology in terms of Route to Market (RtM) Strategy we are looking at our overall approach to and use of Technology at every stage of our RtM Strategy and Execution.
This includes, for example, the hand-held system we take orders on, the ERP system the company uses, the tracking method we have for targeting the RtM team, the way we measure and track our key account agreements, how we optimise our route planning, and everything else across the RtM space.
The key in many cases will be minimising the number of systems we use, facilitating their integration, ensuring their simplicity and allowing them to minimise human intervention.
Welcome to my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. Over the past number of months, we have gone through the first 13 steps of my model. The purpose of my blog series is to stimulate your thought processes around RtM, and to allow a moment to think and to ask some key questions. The focus of this post is Step 14 ‘Technology’.
Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 14 ‘Technology’:
- Based on the RtM Review in Step 1, what is our current approach to and use of Technology across our Route to Market?
- What is the Systems Landscape operating across our RtM function? To what extent are the systems integrated?
- Do we use an ERP system? Is this linked to any other RtM systems? How does this integration work? Have we adopted systems that are no longer fit for purpose?
- Do we get distributor, customer or third-party sales data? If so, what do we do with this? Is this fed into our own RtM system? Can we measure and report on this? What manual intervention is involved?
- What is our use of spreadsheets across the RtM function, including strategy, execution, monitoring and reporting? How many different departments are using them? Have we looked at this aspect in the past and what view did we take at the time? To what extent are we managing the risks associated with spreadsheet usage?
- What is the current order capture method? Do we use a CRM? Do we use a hand held, tablet or phone? If so, what is their current ease of use and performance? How integrated is the order capture method into the overall company system(s)?
- What systems for we use to monitor the performance of our RtM representatives? For example, do we know how many calls they are doing per day, what their location is at any given time, what their stock levels are, etc.?
- Do we track our distribution and RtM vehicles electronically? If so, what do we do with the data?
- Do we have a solution for setting and monitoring our RtM targets? Is this automated and integrated into our overall RtM system?
- How do we measure product display across our retail, Horeca and customer network? Is there a technology solution for this?
- How do we track, monitor and report on compliance to customer agreements, whether they are national trading terms with key accounts, of single store contracts?
- Do we have any connectivity constraints in our marketplace? Does our RtM team have access to mobile/cellular data across the country or does connectivity wait until the end of the day? How does this impact on our approach to Technology?
- Do we use RtM data analytics across our RtM? If so, what do we do with the data? If not, have we looked at this in the past? What are our next steps for RtM data analytics?
- Do we have a solution for capturing cost to serve data across the RtM? Is this a simple automated process or does it require manual intervention? If so why? What are we doing with this information?
- To what extent do we use technology to set up sales territories and look at route planning? If not, why not? If we do use Technology here, what have the results been?
- What is the current amount of time our RtM team spends using technology? Is this what we want and expect? Is this the best use of the RtM team’s time or have we over complicated any process?
- Do we use social media and other form of digital marketing for RtM? Does it form an integrated part of our RtM strategy or has it been deployed in silo from other RtM initiatives? What have we used it for and what have the results been? Who in the organisation uses social media for RtM? Do we have a clear strategy and guidelines in place for the use of digital tools?
- Do we train our RtM team on all aspects of Technology that we use in RtM strategy and execution? Is it very clear which aspects of Technology are ‘in scope’ and ‘out of scope’ for certain roles/departments?
- Does our RtM team currently employ workarounds due to current system set up?
- What are the current technology gaps in our RtM? Where are the manual processes that need to be automated? On the other hand, are their examples where we are over complicating an area or issue for the sake of technology?
- Given all the above, what is our overall Technology plan across the RtM, Sales and/or Trade Marketing and Distribution function?
I hope you find this useful, as always views and comments are welcome. Next, I will cover Step 15 ‘Distributor Partnership Programme’. Please subscribe to the blog on this page, to ensure you don’t miss the latest updates on RtM excellence in execution and the 20 Steps model. If you would like to know more about the 20 Steps click here.