The client is one of India’s largest sales and distribution company in the country. The client provides value added distribution for partners, including last mile connectivity and support in marketing and promotions for products covering more than 15,000 towns across India. Their distribution network reaches more than 100,000 retail outlets, over 800 direct and micro distributors and over 12,000 channel partners across India.
Identifying needs and challenges
To enhance sales, the client offers incentives to its distribution dealers in the form of value and/or volume driven discounts. Incentives may differ across dealer, region, distribution channel or product model, with each unique combination termed as a scheme. Each scheme is valid for a specified time period.
At the end of a scheme period, the operations team would manually pull out invoices issued to each dealer and check their eligibility for a discount. A large number of dealers resulted in the generation of a large number of records. To maintain a track of these schemes, hence, became a problem area for the company.
Additionally, the schemes applicable to any dealer had to be painstakingly maintained using spreadsheets. Due to the large number of dealers, this process became tedious, causing processing errors that often led to bad user experience and conflicts between the parties involved.
The key challenges faced during the process of scheme development were:
⦁ Designing schemes based on different business logics and strategy concerns.
⦁ Evaluations and approvals from supervisors at different levels created a lot of confusion.
⦁ Credit Note generations, reconciliation and tracking in the ERP system had to be done manually, which was time consuming and prone to error.
⦁ Due to creation of multiple schemes, it became difficult to keep a track of each scheme and the beneficiaries of those schemes.
The client wanted a cost effective software interface that would reduce the errors in scheme creation and discount calculation, time taken in the entire process and personnel required to perform the tasks.
Technology stack used
ASP.NET MVC 5
SQL Server 2014
WCF as Middleware
Since dealer satisfaction is directly proportional to sales, the client was looking for a system that could reduce scheme processing time and errors and hence increase dealer satisfaction.
Polestar developed a software application called the Scheme Management System to create efficiencies in the entire scheme process.
Using the Scheme Management System, schemes now are generated by employees with the requisite access.
Once a scheme has been created, they are automatically sent for evaluation to pre-defined approvers. The entire workflow process is automated so that a scheme is sent to the appropriate approver depending on the particulars of the scheme (e.g. region, channel, etc.). The Scheme Management System also allows for additional approvers to be added at the time of scheme creation. All activities within the Scheme Management System are logged with an audit trail.
When a scheme is accepted, dealers are informed about the details of the scheme
Once the validity of a scheme is over, the Scheme Management System automatically pulls out dealer-wise invoice details from the ERP system. The System checks whether a dealer is eligible for the discount based on the total value or volume, as applicable, of the invoices for the period by comparing it with the scheme details. Discount is then calculated for eligible dealers.
The Scheme Management System exports dealer-wise discount data into excel sheets. Since the System is tightly integrated with the ERP software’s Finance module, it is automatically imported by the ERP to create Credit Notes. These Credit Notes provide future discounts as they are set off against future invoices raised on these dealers.
Polestar’s Scheme Management System directly provided the following value to the client:
⦁ Impact on sales: A positive impact on client’s sales numbers was realized in a short period of time.
⦁ Flexibility: The System efficiently enables users to design dynamic and creative schemes that have loyalty programs for dealers with configurable rules.
⦁ Increased dealer satisfaction: The systematic process and tight ERP integration helps in quick and proper launching of schemes and maintaining transparency. It also delivers error-free processing of Credit Notes. This increases the confidence of the dealers in the process and motivates them to boost sales.
⦁ Higher productivity: Automation of scheme evaluation not only reduces manpower requirements but also increases the speed of the process. The work that required about 8 to 10 man months previously now only takes 1 man month.
⦁ Better accountability: The audit trail feature of the presents an undeniable advantage, recording all transactions and credits at the scheme level and also maintaining an account of all scheme related spends.
ConclusionThe implementation of the Scheme Management System reduced manual efforts of the client’s workforce, thereby reducing the risk of errors, enabling optimum utilization of human resources, saving precious amount of time and improving user experience.