02 Nov 2015 15:00 IST

Internet and GPS make business more efficient

How various processes in business use mobile enablement to work on pain points

After exploring how sales managers use mobiles to improve efficiency of their workers , this article will look at the way Internet and GPS are being used to mitigate the pain points of the brand team and collection team.

What are the other areas of business which use mobile for their process enhancement?

Let’s discuss two small case studies on how brand teams and collection teams use mobile. First, the brand team. A typical brand manager is always keen to see how his brand is placed in the market. He wants to see how his ‘POSM’, or Point of Sale Material, is placed. These are the banners, danglers and sign boards that you see when you visit a store.

So what are the pain points of a brand manager?

He appoints teams called merchandisers, who put up POSM at all retailer points. But the only way the brand manger can see these are through the photographs sent by the merchandiser, with labels pasted on them. The brand manager receives thousands of printouts and it is literally impossible to pore over so many, and pick out the best and worst ones. There is no way of verifying the authenticity of the photograph, or finding out whether it is a repeat. Or whether the merchandiser indeed visited that particular market.

So how does the brand manager solve these issues via mobile?

Of late, they have started using apps which help them track brand visibility. The merchandiser carries the app, clicks a picture of the POSM or the display windows and submits the data to a central server. The app also captures the location of the user, using GPS.

So when a brand manager logs into his dashboard, it shows him the complete information related to each photo. He can only pick those related to a particular brand or territory, and choose photos which have been rated as poor by the user, so he can work on improving the brand visibility in that area. Apart from this, it also contributes to the environment, because the huge reams of printouts, which were part of the process, are completely eliminated.

Okay. What about collection agencies’ usage of mobiles?

Collection agencies have their own set of pain points.

Since it involves collection of cash from customers, there are chances that executives might misuse the cash; or lose it somewhere. Either way, his reputation is at stake.

The risk involved is another pain point. There have been instances when a customer paid money to a fraudster, who knew the customer was due to pay on a particular day. In these cases, the fraudster is armed with a fake ID card, and visits the unsuspecting customer to collect the cash.

So how is this, then, avoided?

This is why the executives have been provided with apps, so that when they visit a customer, they collect cash and feed the data into the app using a handheld terminal. This also allows the customer to input his signature, using just his fingers. Again, the location of the user is collected for validation purposes.

Once the data reaches the central server, an SMS is automatically triggered to the user, so that he/she knows that the collection has been done by a valid agent from an authorised agency.

In case any mishap occurs, the investigating agency will know the complete details of the executive’s travel, and solve it easily. This also de-risks the job of the executive to some extent.

Now, many companies have started using such apps along with handheld devices. You may have noticed when you order some product on e-commerce sites, they take your signature on their handheld device after handing over your order.

These are various applications of the same functionality of the mobile. The internet and the GPS functions are used in various combinations to achieve desired objectives.

Well, that’s it for now. In our subsequent discussion, we will look at more such applications.

To read more from the FundaMental section, click here .

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