Growth may be seen as the Holy Grail for companies, but it sometimes reveals some blind spots in the analysis. For ASL Packaging, a Kenyan company manufacturing corrugated cartons and expanded polystyrene boxes, the time has come to expand their production capacity.
Sales manager Henry Maina developed a multiple-tools strategy to sync sales and production.
The importance of having accurate data for sales and production
ASL Packaging has two key business values: quality and in-time delivery. They usually proceed this way:
1. Getting in touch with the prospects through visits
2. Defining the customer needs
3. Sending the proof to get approval
4. Launching production
5. Delivering the product
Quality is something ASL Packaging knows how to do. But facing a peak demand, one of the priorities is to keep on delivering in time: if the production capacity is overestimated, it might induce delays in getting the products to complete orders. Likewise, sales are necessary to financially sustain the investment made into new production capacity.
Balancing production and sales is a high stake when a company is scaling up. To do so, Henry Maina uses SAP to get accurate data every morning about sales and stock. According to these figures and to the current orders, he is able to know to what extent he should push sales.
Behaviour is the biggest blind spot we all might tend to forget
Knowing how much you can or you should sell is a first good step, but you should also make sure that your sales strategy is well implemented.
ASL Packaging is presenting their products during visits planned by the sales manager. Henry Maina had to completely rely on his employees to do the visits and to do the reporting, as it was done with pen and paper. As there is a minimum number of visits to make per day, one might be tempted to add more visits than what one actually did.
Workflow designed for the mobile user to capture interaction with client
As he says,
Whereby you would say that you have gone to this place, before Smala, nobody would know whether you went there or didn’t go there.
Collecting information to restore trust
The GPS location collected through Smala makes this kind of information available. The manager then is able to monitor the sales very easily and have a fair assessment of each employee’s work.
Henry Maina sets up the list of products the employees have to sell and plans visits and calls through the app so he can have a clear idea of what is going on on the field.
He noticed several changes by analysing this new data:
1. Before using Smala, he based his assumptions about visits only on biased criteria because he wasn’t able to have reliable information
2. Employees felt more responsible of their work and did more visits than usual, knowing that the manager would appreciate their efforts
From a blind spot to a new way to improve customer identification
Henry Maina uses the features available to create follow-ups and monitor payment. Doing so, he’s able not only to identify the best sellers but also the best customers in terms of payment. Being the sales manager, Henry Maina needs to know how to organise the sales time and efforts. Thus, knowing either a customer is a late-payer or not gives him useful information on the most interesting customers to put resources on.
Performance reports with dummy data