Improving Field Sales Teams with a Location Tracking Mobile Application
Headquartered in Ahmedabad, India, Symphony is a global company that is committed to developing sustainable and responsible products, including evaporative air coolers. They also deliver them to domestic as well as industrial customers in 60 countries around the world.
Distribution channel is a key medium through which they have expanded their reach and increased their value. In order to effectively manage their distribution channel, sales representatives regularly visit distributors and must handle their requests efficiently.
Symphony also utilizes a standalone ERP system to manage the details regarding the sales team and their visits to distributors. Sales reps were manually entering the data regarding their visits into the ERP and it was becoming increasingly difficult to verify the details of their visits.
Symphony lacked a tool to monitor, in real-time, the movements of their sales reps during visits to distributor/dealer locations. They sought to utilize GPS technology to verify sales reps locations in real-time, through a location tracking mobile application.
Solution and Approach
In order to address the specific needs of Symphony, Indusa was sourced as a partner for their mobile app requirements.
The developed GPS mobile application was integrated with their home grown ERP system. It captures GPS coordinates of the sales reps’ location when they visit a dealer/distributor. The coordinates are sent to the ERP system via web services, where the server performs a check whether the sales rep is within the predefined radius. The application helps connect their location with a stored distributor location. This connection helps to record the visit(s) to the distributor location. The application tracks the most recent and accurate coordinates of a sales person by functioning in the following manner:
- Whenever a rep loads the application, it will fetch their current location with high accuracy using Android GPS APIs.
- It also monitors the current location in the background every 25 seconds. This enables the rep to easily perform check-in and check-out on-the-fly and allows the ERP system to get the latest coordinates each time.
- When a sales rep visits a dealer/distributor location for the first time, they can capture an image of the distributor’s store, and with the help of the app, send the location’s GPS co-ordinates to the ERP system via web services for building up the initial location details of the dealer/distributor.
- An offline feature is also available in the app, so that when a sales person checks in or checks out, if there is no internet connectivity available, the app stores the data into the mobile database and syncs automatically when they reach a network.
- Accumulation of geo-coordinates for distributors is also performed in the same manner.
The app is configured to generate three types of reports:
1. Check-in/check-out status
2. Capture image and sync status
3. User notifications
Push notifications (Google Cloud Messaging) functionality is also provided in the app. An admin from headquarters can circulate or broadcast any announcement or send a message to a specific sales person on his or her mobile device. The application shows all those incoming notifications in the form of reports, so that the sales person can view them all at one time.
The app also helps sales people to locate distributors via maps. This functionality helps them track time, automatically depending on location, making it easier for them to see the time spent at each distributor.
Fetching sales person's current location
Data stored in mobile database
With the use of the location tracking mobile application, Symphony is now able to locate employees in real-time.
Due to direct integration of the app with the organization’s ERP system, it is easy to manage the details regarding the salespeople and their visits to distributors.
The app has provided an effective mechanism to hold members of the sales team accountable for their sales visits. This has encouraged salespeople to regularly visit distributors, ensuring distributor requests are satisfied efficiently inevitably increasing their value to their customers. Symphony has also been able to expand their reach and have realized 70% increase in productivity of the sales team.
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