Digital is at the heart of a large size operation. But it can always be in the danger of becoming everything and at times nothing. We therefore try to break it down and get specific.
“We’ve got more to do. Because there’s no way we can aspire to help engage with our consumers and help our customers if we ourselves can’t be at least on the front-edge in terms of how things work digitally. So we’ve made a lot of investment and we’re doing a lot of work to bring that up to speed internally. And, we are working with our bottling partners to do that,” said Quincey.
Digital everywhere … even in procuring display racks
Every time one walks into a store or a supermarket and sees HCCB beverages, there is always a consistency - a familiar sight of our products neatly placed on PVC racks or inside coolers, waiting to be consumed. Ever thought of the journey that these display racks would undertake before being placed for product displays? It can be quite a lengthy cycle from production to procurement and finally the display stage.
HCCB uses the power of digital to effectively and efficiently procure the racks, through an E-Auction process on the Ariba platform.
In the traditional process, obtaining details of suppliers and their quotes can be a long process. Instead, HCCB uses the E-Auction platform, where after identifying the potential suppliers and through standardizing material specifications, the suppliers are asked to bid.
Since the E-auction platform allows suppliers with their unique ID, it becomes quick and easy to evaluate the bids and finalize the lowest bidder. The entire process of evaluation can get over in an hour where in traditional processes; it would take three or more days to just evaluate the bids.
Also, the E-auction process is transparent and real-time, which further facilitates negotiations and discussions. “The E-bidding provides equal opportunities to the suppliers for participation in bidding and receiving the order. Earlier, 20 bids meant 20 interactions with the supplier, which is physically impossible. With E-auction, this is as real as it get. This is the edge that digital provides,” says Sharad Kumar, AVP, HCCB at the Procurement team.
Market Growth Representatives (sales team) of HCCB follow a standard protocol. Visit the retailers as outlined in their journey plan for the day, take orders, get a first-hand understanding of the demand, merchandise the outlets and ensure that company products are arranged and showcased properly.
But before they get to the market, MGRs are given a two-week training to enhance their familiarity with the digital ecosystem. They are also trained on the use of mobile tablets and the Sales Force Automation (SFA) tool, therein.
With a connected mobile tablet in hand, blessed with the SFA tool, MGRs are able to offer the best deals to their customers (retailers). Also, if there is any customer about who he needs to know more, it is just a click away on his always-connected tablet.
HCCB’s customers find it a great way of working too. Because when MGRs have completed taking an inventory of all the products that are needed by the retailer, the final spend and margin for the customer is displayed on their tablet screen.
HCCB spent 18 months to map the entire process of sales automation and in customisation of the software that is being used on the tab.
HCCB’s new, digital way of working is also in sync with the Digital India and Skill India plans announced by the NDA government. Skill India mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to train 400 million people in various skills by 2022. Digital India, also launched in July 2015, aims to improve digital literacy in India and connect rural India with high-speed Internet.
With upskilled teams like those of MGRs, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages is preparing for the launch of more products, for which the always-connected tablets are critical.
Digital starts with digital payments
HCCB in partnership with State Bank of India (SBI) has been working to make the retailers’ transition to digital transactions smoothly, thereby encouraging digital payments and transparent financial transactions across the country.
It is training the retailers on methods and know-how for easy-to-use and convenient modes of transaction. The partners are also helping these merchants and their customers ready themselves for larger financial transactions.
In the long run, this will help the retailers take their offline services online, where they can better showcase their products/services, thereby increasing their customer base and bringing in greater profits. The project provides customers easy-to-use and convenient modes of transaction. While reducing dependence on cash, the project also aims to train and educate the retailers and distributors on handling digital payments, and its benefits.
The Government of India’s focus to include as many people and transactions into the formal economy is being aided by its focus on building a digital economy. Several small Indian retailers, who have been reliant on cash and liquid money for major transactions for decades, suddenly find themselves in alien territory. As with most game-changing decisions, some of the retailers think that digitisation is a threat to their business.
With the help of this programme, the retailers will not only be on par with their counterparts in the cities, but will also give them stiff competition with their products and services. They will also be able to expand their businesses manifold in the coming years and contribute in a better way to the country’s economic growth.