We helped a large FMCG player
Develop a Mobile App to Enable their Rural Sales Staff
In 2001, our client, an FMCG giant, started a project to financially empower rural Indian women by generating opportunities for them to sell various products and earn a livelihood. The company also appointed rural sales coordinators to manage between these entrepreneurs and the distributors for order collection and inventory management.
They wanted to automate the supply chain and workflow between the entrepreneurs and sales coordinators and had already developed a mobile app. Their current app had a low adoption rate.
In order to to figure out which features should be included in the new app, it was essential to understand the issues faced by stakeholders in the supply chain.
Order placement was done manually, despite the mobile app. The sales coordinators would connect distributors via phone calls to order products. They would take note of the order, ring up the distributor to check availability of the product, relay the stock status to the entrepreneurs, and then update the orders. This process often took as long as 2-3 days.
There was no mechanism within the app to check an order's delivery status in real time. Due to the distant locations of these stores managed by different entrepreneurs, each with a given sales coordinator, the coordinators had been struggling to keep track of all the delivery statuses.
In the existing model, the sales coordinators had access to only domestic products, and the connections with distributors were limited. They wanted to be able to connect with suppliers or third-party products as well.
Our digital team spent a day with the rural sales coordinators and the entrepreneurs. They conducted ethnographic research to identify key challenges these sales coordinators face in ensuring the product supply for the entrepreneurs.
We developed this app using a native Android platform with Python (Django framework), PostgreSQL, and REST APIs at the backend. We also used AWS SNS for sending SMS notifications to users.
The new app has a feature that allows the sales coordinator to schedule order collection for each entrepreneur and receive automatic alerts and reminders for them. This has automated the ordering process and made it possible to place orders in real time.
Since the app enables the sales coordinators to place orders in real time, they can now check availability of required products and could update the entrepreneurs of the status during their scheduled visits to each of the stores.
The stores run by the entrepreneurs are located far away, making it tedious for the sales coordinators to visit each of them to check delivery status. The order update feature in the app saves them from making a separate phone call to each entrepreneur to check the status.
The app connects sales coordinators with the distributors of third-party products. The coordinators can order products listed by third-party suppliers and check their stocks as well.