BiC is the worldwide leader in the FMCG sector offering since 1945 a portfolio of well-known products that are positioned in the Number 1 place in the preferences of the customers. In Greece the history of BiC Violex SA is connected to a number of innovations focusing on the customer satisfaction, promoting the same logic in the distribution network of its products, applying from 1996 till today a number of innovative methods that develop continuously the know-how and the effectiveness of the organization.
In 2015 the company invested on an ambitious project, in order to implement an innovative cooperation model with the Network of Special Partners, in the context of its vision for the constant & measurable evolution of the products path till they reach the customers (Route to Market).
For the implementation of this project, BiC cooperated with Retail@Link (member of the Entersoft Group), the innovative partner of S.a.a.S solutions that focuses on serving the needs of the Supply Chain since 2003, supporting daily a continuously developing network of 50.000 connected businesses in its electronic hub.
Bic Violex SA, along with the solutions & support of Retail@Link , implemented the R@L e-DCM (e-Distributors Channel Management) project for the automated collection, an analysis of the Sell-Out Data, from Special Partners Network, making possible the daily monitoring of the performance of the network and applying a “win-win-win” approach with mutual benefit for all parties. For BIC, for the Special Partners Network, for the customer.
At the beginning of the distribution of its products in the greek market, BIC worked with a network of wholesalers for every geographical area. During the 90’s decade, a radical change in the retail business map (with small, medium and big Super Market Chains and Cash & Carry entering the market) and the emerging need for monitoring consumer needs (that the industry had to meet with essential innovation), created a new and more demanding environment, where BiC was a pioneer by creating a competitive distribution network. Therefore in 1996, and having as a target to make the transition from the passive sale to a new era of dynamic alignment with the consumer needs, the wholesalers were replaced by a team of Special Partners, that had an active role in the development of the network. With the constant guidance, support and knowhow of BiC, the Special Partners gradually took over the collection of Sell-Out Data on a monthly basis, reporting to BIC directly. Through the constant investment in new methods of collection/cross-checking and statistical analysis of the data in the years to come, a rich knowledge base was created and a number of KPI’s were set that helped the network develop continuously through the optimum use of the data and the design of new strategies.
After all, it is a long term commitment of BiC to focus on covering the customer needs, the key-point for the continuous high customer loyalty to its products.
In 2015 the company decided to develop even more its distribution network, targeting its alignment to a dynamic consumer profile, who tends to continuously reduce his loyalty to well-known Brands and transfer his preferences faster, in a context of deep depression of the Greek economy during the last years. In this context BIC decided to enhance its cooperation with the Distribution Network, applying an innovative cooperation model. The bet for this ambitious plan was to have measurable progress in the below basic KPI’s:
- Acceleration: Collect faster the Sell-Out Data
- Quality : Measurable improvement of the data reliability
- Visibility: Enhance the visibility all the Network regarding the overall performance
- Diffusion: Easy extendability to all the Distribution Network
- Engagement: Extended cooperation motives to the Special Partners
Evaluating the available choices, BIC selected the Software as Service solution R@L e-Distribution channel management by Retail@Link, that offered a new approach in the electronic interconnection & cooperation with the network. The implementation of this solution is based on a methodology similar to the Electronic Invoicing (the collection of Sell-Out Data from the Spool Files), extending its benefits and offering:
- Automated Sell-Out Data exchange from the Special Partners Network.
- Constant update of the B.I. of BIC with Real-Time
- Rich statistical presentations & Reports through the specialized Online Portal of Retail@Link for the easy monitoring from the Sales department of BIC.
- Provision of a Business Intelligence Portal for the Special Partners of BiC and the exchange of valuable knowledge all over the network.
The R@L e-DCM solution is an innovative method of cooperation since it is different from the rest of the tools & applications in the below important points:
- The collection of data is fully automated, ensuring that the procedure is flawless and reliable.
- The collection of data is drastically accelerated, since every record is collected upon creation without and intervention.
- No manual administration is required from the Data Processing department of the Special Partners or the Sales department of BiC.
- The solution is completely independent from the structures and the systems of the Special Partners, making possible the immediate implementation & extendability.
- Through the exchange of knowledge and the available extensions, the solution extends the advantages to the Special Partners, applying a win-win approach.
The success of the project was based on the excellent communication with the Special Partners that was successfully ensured by BiC and the operational flexibility of the solution R@L eDCM. Targeting the immediate & successful electronic interconnection of 22 Special Partners, the two companies worked according to an implementation plan that was divided in 4 basic parts:
- Project Planning
- Pilot Implementation
- Extendability of the Implementation to the Network
- Plan of Continuous Support & Extension of the Benefits
Additionally, for the optimal completion of the goals of the project and the transmission of vision to the Network of Special Partners, the two companies created a complete Induction Kit for every Partner, that included indicatively:
- Concrete plan of Roles & Communication with the commercial team of BiC & the Special Partners
- Directions – Communication Script to inform the Special Partners from the Project Team of Retail@Link
- Supporting material (online & print) to educate regarding the vision & targets of the project
- Promotional material (Brochures) for the potential of this new method and the benefits for each Special Partner
- Analytical guidelines for the use of the service (Service Manuals)
- Guides Do’s & Don’ts for the proper use of the service (White Papers)
- Promotional Material for the education of the Special Partners regarding the advantages of using the B.I. portal that was created by BIC & Retail@Link for the maximization of their benefits
Finally, we need stress the fact that for BiC the basis of the success of the project was the maximization of the overall benefit for the Distribution Network, since in this way it ensured that the Special Partners would not only be receivers of a new method, but also carriers of a vision for effective synergies and increase of efficiency.
The most important quantitative & qualitative results of the implementation of this project are briefly shown below:
- The frequency of data collection was increased by 97%. Before the implementation of the project, BiC Violex SA evaluated the sales of its network at the end of the month. Today the monitoring of the performance is done on a daily basis.
- The quality of data is currently totally measurable and is estimated minimum at 99% as a result of the complete automation of the data collection procedure.
- Decrease of the administration time of the Special Partners by 90%: Contrary to the manual data extraction that traditionally required 1,5 hour for every monthly report , the daily monitoring is fully automated, requiring 2-3 days for the implementation of the interconnection of every Special Partner with BiC.
- 100% Automation for the whole Network without the need of intervention in the structures & existing systems.
- Transparency & Safety in the cooperation: The model of cooperation offers safe & encrypted data transfer, with the control & the conditions of every Special Partner & the ensured confidentiality of his data
- Win-Win cooperation with mutual benefits on the visibility of the daily performance, for its Special Partners, through a user-friendly Distributors B.I. Portal, that offers significant additional value, with the investment of BiC & without any cost for the Special Partners
Zero Investment – Multiple benefits: The Special Partners have currently the possibility of electronic archiving and electronic delivery of documents without any installation & implementation cost, since the solution uses the operability of R@L e-Invoicing.
With the completion of the pilot implementation & extension to the whole network, BIC had important & measurable results in 5 basic KPI’s. In the short term and in the context of the use of the benefits of the R@L e-DCM, BiC targets multiple advantages for complete chain:
Benefits for BiC:
- Complete & Easy Reporting – Decrease of time for the salespeople
- New potential synergies with the network
- Visibility based on metrics – KPI’s for constant improvement
- Better understanding of the consumer needs
- Better segmentation & targeting by geographical area
- Improved targeting of offers and marketing operations
Benefits for the Network:
- Increased acceleration in the data exchange
- Possibility of monitoring the daily sales performance
- Increased security, transparency, and confidentiality of data
- Easier estimation of Rebates / Sales Bonus – improved planning of PNL
- Possibility of Reducing the Administration Cost >50% with the use of Electronic Archiving by Retail@Link
Benefits for the Point-of-Sales & the Customer
- Optimum balance between Stock Levels & Service Levels
- Better product placement-improved customer preference towards the point-of-sales
- Appropriate product mix by geographical area & store
- Targeted product mix & offers
- Environmental benefits, as a result of the rationalization of the deliveries (gas emissions) and the decreased use of paper
As stated by Mr Triantafyllos Tsikaloglou, Commercial Director at BIC Violex SA: “For BiC, the implementation of the new method, evolves dynamically the effective management of the Distribution Network, supporting through cutting edge technologies the focused effort and results of our Commercial Team, that has measurable progress every year since 1996. R@L e-DCM is the “next day” in the organization of the Network, offering a user friendly environment of cooperation that inspires the synergies with the Special Partners, providing the overall network with tools that allow better targeting & faster service of the needs of the most important link of our supply chain-the customer”.