Consumer goods distributors continue to struggle with balancing the manufacturer’s challenges of talent, supply, and demand while managing large teams of field force agents, each associated with multiple stores across different routes, sales reps, and delivery slots. Streamlining and automating distribution tasks would enhance the efficiency and productivity of field force agents. However, the concerning factor here lies in the silos of data within the three-tier distribution system at various levels.
Solutions for a Three-tier Distribution Model
A three-tier distribution system requires multiple software like a Distribution Management System (DMS), Direct Store Delivery (DSD), and Sales Force Automation (SFA) solutions. Manufacturers use a DMS to manage their distributions and track inventory in real-time. Distributors use solutions like DSD to boost ordering from retailers directly, and SFA helps them manage their field force agents.
At present, each of these systems works independently. These have their analytics and reporting tools in place, providing data and KPIs achieved by the individual entities. For an organization, this means comparing and analyzing multiple reports and graphs. Data silos fail to give a bird’s eye for the manufacturer to understand how each product performs.
Challenges in Building Distribution Ecosystem for Large Organizations
Typically, in a three-tier distribution model, each solution is considered a separate entity, and data flow from one entity to another is limited. It leaves organizations with no choice but to buy or build their solutions.
Knowing that only some solutions could meet these large organizations’ specific needs, they overcome this system deficiency by trying to build an ecosystem for their custom requirements. However, these systems come with problems listed below:
Integrating diverse products for manufacturers, used by distributors, and those incorporated by merchandisers and ensuring they work seamlessly together can be technically complex and time-consuming. Incompatibilities or conflicts arise due to the forceful integrations between these systems.
Manufacturers to field force agents are not tech-savvy individuals, and they might need help to adapt to multiple products with different interfaces, increasing the learning curve and potentially leading to resistance and stalled productivity.
Cost and Resource Overhead
Maintaining multiple products requires more resources, such as IT support, licensing, and ongoing maintenance expenses.
Security and Compliance
Managing data and user access across multiple products can be challenging from a security and compliance perspective, especially if data is shared between them. Additional requirements like data encryption at every layer of connection become mandatory.
Companies may become dependent on specific vendors, making it difficult to switch to alternative products or service providers if necessary. Paying each vendor for their services accumulates and becomes expensive over time.
Competitors with more streamlined and integrated ecosystems may have an advantage in speed and agility. It pressures companies to improve the ecosystem, which becomes a change request with the developing company.
These factors have to be considered while setting out to build an ecosystem. Though they seem doable, implementing such a massive project is time-consuming and requires the right partners.
Unified Commercial Platform by Ivy Mobility
As an alternative to tedious ecosystem building, Ivy Mobility developed a Unified Commercial Platform, an ecosystem on its own. They have integrations between every product used in a three-tier distribution management system. Ivy DMS, Ivy DSD, and Ivy SFA solutions have seamless data connectivity and can offer an effect similar to blockchain to understand how, when, and where products move post-manufacturing.
This close monitoring and tracking of product sales allow manufacturers to understand the demand, predict and forecast the requirements, and improve product packaging and quality based on the data collected from the field. Advanced AIML-based products like Ivy Recommender and Ivy Insights help organizations make data-driven decisions.
Here are the reasons why every CPG business should be considering the Ivy Unified Commercial Platform:
It would cost companies a minimal budget to use an existing ecosystem compared to building an ecosystem from scratch. Platforms have also proven to be more reliable, safe, and effective when budget is a constraint for enterprises.
Ivy Mobility solutions are compatible with each other and third-party systems, built with versatile and dynamic data parsing capabilities to allow seamless data exchange between different systems.
Ivy Mobility solutions are cloud-native as well as have on-prem versions available. With the highest security protocols in place, every transaction is secure.
Our solutions work on all handheld Android and iOS devices used by the field force agents while allowing hundreds of users to access the solution concurrently.
Book a Demo with us to learn more.