Company: MicrosoftCustomer: VenoSubmitted by: ShandwickDate: June 2000(DENMARK) Veno is the sales and distribution arm of the largest biscuit manufacturer in Denmark. It is relied upon to deliver a quality product at a competitive price to the largest and smallest outlets across the country. In the past, the distributor of the famous Danish butter biscuits used paper-based processes and a call centre to handle the processing of customer orders. Veno realised that its existing systems were inefficient and unable to deliver the required level of information into the hands of its field sales force.
Increasing competition led Veno to expand its sales force and seek ways of adding value to its services. It has many exclusive product line agreements with larger cus-tomers and supermarkets. As large retail chains tend to centralise their stock, it is now more important than ever for Veno’s sales force to know key customers’ stock levels.Veno realised that its existing systems were inefficient and unable to place the required level of information into the hands of its mobile sales force.The company has traditionally relied upon sales representatives to visit stores, examine stocks and take orders. While this element had to be improved and processes made more efficient, Veno also wanted to take advantage of its delivery team, who are also an important part of the overall sales process.
By providing van drivers with Compaq® Aero 1520 Microsoft Windows Powered Palm-size PCs, Veno allows them to print invoices, enter orders, collect payment and then transfer this information to the company’s backend ERP system. This reduces Veno’s traditional reliance on sales personnel to process orders.Since implemeting the mobile solution, Veno has been able to process 600,000 orders per year. After viewing customers’ shelves, sales people use the new Windows Powered Palm-size PCs to create orders, input stock level data and schedule deliveries offline. This is greatly improving the number of completed orders and the productivity of the sales force.
Information delivery to the field is vastly improved, as is the speed of the ordering process.
Faster reaction times
Increased competition within the Danish grocery industry has led Veno to automate various business processes as part of its drive to reduce operating costs and improve the quality of information and service delivered to its customers. In order to improve its operating efficiency, the company needed to integrate the ordering and information retrieval processes used in the field with its Microsoft technology-based back office and ERP systems.Frede Bollerup, IT director, Veno, says: “By integrating our back office systems and deploying a Windows Powered mobile solution with offline access to rich infor-mation and excellent functionality, we are speeding up ordering processes and our ability to respond to customer demands.”He continues: “Our previous mobile solution was very inefficient, and its lack of Y2K compatibility gave us a good business case to consider improvements. The old system only provided one-way communication from the sales people to the back office.
All it let them do was place orders, and they had to know the article numbers to be able to do this. The solution was limited and relied a great deal on the sales person’s memory.”
Accurate offline business information
The connectivity options provided by the Windows Powered mobile solution enable the mobile sales force to have access to all the latest data and business logic from Veno’s backend systems relevant to each customer. This is controlled by setting up a profile for the user on the Business Application software from ExpandIT.
It is also possible to update these profiles remotely, rather than having to request the return of all the mobile devices to headquarters, thus reducing the total cost of ownership.The mobile sales force is able to enter data into the devices using the same applications available in the office. Each night they synchronise their devices with Veno’s backend systems and ERP solution using the Compaq Aero 1520 Palm-size PC with a 33.6kbps modem and a landline connection. This ensures they have the latest business information at their fingertips. Furthermore, changes to the data and business logic made offline are automatically reflected in the data residing on Veno’s backend systems.
In this competitive industry it is more important than ever to ensure that the information held on mobile devices is consistent with that on back office systems, so a flexible platform is essential. The mobile sales force has immediate offline access to accurate business information such as pricing and stock levels. The mobile solution is improving data entry accuracy, enabling faster completion of orders and enhancing customer satisfaction.
Adding value to the sales force
The company has been able to integrate its Navision Financials environment using ExpandIT’s Business Application Server (BAS) running on Windows Powered Palm-size PCs. Søren Svinding, IT controller at Veno, explains: “It has always been our ambition to drive our back office using Navision Financials, but we also wanted to integrate our information systems in order to deliver maximum business benefit.”Navision Financials is the ERP platform and runs the back office systems.
“We chose Navision before finalising the rest of the system as it took time to find a platform that would easily integrate into our existing IT network. Windows-based solutions, combined with BAS, create an integrated, easy to manage platform,” says Svinding.Veno chose the synchronisation features of BAS, which uses Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0, SQL Server 7.0 and Business Objects to integrate all client devices, on or offline, with business information from Navision Financials. Integration is key to this implementation and provides much of the tangible business benefit achieved by Veno.
By streamlining processes through systems integration, Veno is drastically cutting operating costs and adding value to the role of its mobile sales force. “The mobile solution has enabled us to reduce operating costs associated with the ordering process by around 40 percent,” says Bollerup.Veno estimates the Windows Powered mobile solution part of its integrated sales solution is making its business processes approximately 10-12 percent more efficient. The company also confidently expects return on investment inside two years.”Integration was vital as we wanted to be able to react quickly to customer demands and cut our costs to improve our compet-itiveness,” says Bollerup.
The company is phasing its implementation, with the first stage involving deployment on the Windows Powered devices of ordering and comm-unication capabilities. Email and live data updates will eventually also be included.
Improved customer service
Using the Windows Powered mobile solution, Veno is able to deliver a first class product and a new level of information to customers. “We are a very customer-focused company and saw the Windows Powered devices as a good way to improve our customer service. We’re confident we already deliver the best products, now we have the service and information to complement it,” explains Bollerup.
Looking forward to Pocket PC
Veno is excited about Pocket PC. Svinding says: “We are impressed by the speed of the platform and plan to upgrade to Pocket PC very soon.” The company also wants to provide its mobile sales force with an email facility, and will consider using GPRS when available so that its sales people have improved means of staying in touch.Svinding says: “We are always looking for ways to update our information faster without incurring large costs. Our goal is to have live data on the mobile devices.
ExpandIT’s BAS gives us offline access to business information – we just have to update information whenever necessary.”