HEINEKEN Russia CIO shared the details of the SFA project made in conjunction with First BIT
The chief editor of the business IT magazine Intelligent Enterprise/RE («Corporate systems") asked Marek Tolasz, CIO at HEINEKEN Russia, about the details of the SFA project made in conjunction with First BIT Company, HEINEKEN Russia IT partner.
Marek Tolasz, HEINEKEN: We need a multiplatform system
Intelligent Enterprise: Please tell us about the project of automating HEINEKEN sales in Russia and what it entailed.
Marek Tolasz, HEINEKEN: This was the automation of HEINEKEN Russia sales department. We have implemented an SFA system and in turn integrated 98% of our distributors. Now we are centralizing the operation of the entire trading network – from now on the company management is able to control sales plan implementation and merchandising work compliance with HEINEKEN standards throughout Russia.
What was the solution?
The solution developed by First BIT, our IT partner, at the request of HEINEKEN Company is called Jeans. The program is a mobile application allowing the sales representatives receive all the operational information, like the distributors' warehouse stock balance, outlet backlog, routes of visits, etc. on their smartphones. Distributors receive orders via Jeans.
What does Jeans mean?
Jeans is a common piece of casual clothing. We have chosen this name in order to make the system symbolize a simple solution for everyday operation. The solution is really quite unpretentious and easy to use, it works offline, and immediately after visiting an outlet, you can see your results to date and control them – it motivates sellers constantly increase their productivity.
Is Jeans also responsible for business analytics?
Data consolidation and analysis are performed with QlikView (by QlikTech – Editor’s notes).
Since we are talking about a mobile solution, which devices do your sales reps use?
For historical reasons we are using iOS-devices – iPhone 4s and iPad. The decision to choose a particular family of devices was made 3-4 years ago, when we needed to focus on a single platform to simplify the project. Back then iOS was an obvious solution. Now the situation on the mobile systems market has changed and we realize that we are ready for a multi-platform system. And once this solution is implemented, we’ll introduced the BYOD concept – Bring Your Own Device. Our alternative focus will primarily be on Windows Phone 8, and then Android systems.
We started to use mobile solutions in our work a long time ago. For instance, all the warehouse operations are monitored using a Windows CE mobile application. Besides that, we use mobile solutions to improve the production process – in particular, for registering defects. To do this our employees are “armed” with iPad tablets.
Both in the production and in the warehouse we are trying to protect the devices against aggressive environments (moisture, dust, etc.), covering standard Apple devices with special cases.
Let's talk about Jeans – what kind of functionality does it have and which data does it work with?
As I said, this is a solution for sales representatives and supervisors, and its first and foremost purpose is to automate operations. The second group of users is the back office, regional managers, who are responsible for planning and control. The system processes a large amount of data, including master data, data about contacts, outlets and directories; data for planning and information on the results of visits; information from distributors, reports, etc.
Smart phone users have a single mobile solution, back office employees work with several of its modules. The solution is a database connected to both the mobile application and the modules with a web interface. It also includes a QlikView analytics interface. Mobile users receive ready QlikView reports in PDF and Excel formats.
The Jeans system has become our tool of controlling the entire chain of sales and collecting the necessary data out of the office on the visits of representatives, current orders, surveying contractors, cash logistics, etc.
And what solution do you use to manage mobile devices?
We are using an MDM solution.
If you had the opportunity to ask the manufacturers of mobile devices to make some alterations to their product, what would you ask for? For the benefit of Heineken Company, obviously?
The new iOS upgrade is only partially compatible with its previous version. Releasing new updates is great for private users, but not for businesses, because many things in the application must in fact be completely remade. I would love to draw the manufacturers’ attention to this issue. I would also ask to increase battery life to make it retain the charge during the day and after a year of active use.
What are the results of system implementation, and what are your plans for the future?
We’ve already done a great job resulted in reduced processing time and calculated KPI of HEINEKEN employees and distribution companies online. Our next step will be to optimize the system and improve the existing functionality.