by October 1, 2011 0 comments

Great Food and Beverages, a Haryana-based FMCG company, doubles its market share in one year

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For a UK-based organisation that started operations in India just an year back, the challenge to understand the price-sensitive Indian consumer and get a strong foothold in the highly sought-after Indian market required meticulous planning. To give the company a head start, the management decided to adopt a strong and robust IT foundation to streamline operations and business processes. GFB began operations in India last year by setting up a beverages plant at Manesar, with Fruitchill being the first product to be launched. As the market for the product grew, an ERP implementation became indispensable.

The shift to ERP

GFB had plans to expand its business in India. “We knew we would be requiring pan-India marketing offices, and hence ware looking for an ERP system on the SaaS model,” says Mr. Vijay Thakur, IT Head — Great Food and Beverages. After a lot of deliberation and product comparisons, the company decided to opt for RODE (Ramco OnDemand ERP). The company wanted to implement an ERP system that could streamline and systematise its distribution system and also let it track the sales of a particular product in a specific region. “Apart from this, GFB specifically wanted to find out which of its products were amongst the fastest moving. Considering these requirements, the Ramco ERP solution suited us,” says Thakur.

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The case for a SaaS-based ERP solution

Firstly, having an ERP run on SaaS helps in getting rid of all the physical infrastructure costs of installing and later maintaining the systems, says Thakur, adding that, “Since the capex of a SaaS model is very low, and also because we didn’t have big IT budgets, we opted for on-demand model of ERP.” “Apart from this, in a SaaS model, most applications are delivered over the Internet, and are managed by the vendor. The system also allows users to work on different software functionalities without having to bother about installing additional hardware or software,” says Thakur.

The functions covered under the ERP system at GFB include standard modules on human capital management, cost planning, maintenance and financials, and services management. However, there is a special module dedicated to providing a business analytics solution. This feature allows decision makers to ‘measure, monitor and manage’ their business objectives and assess their progress over a period of time.

The need for customisation

Since GFB had unique process-level requirements, it needed an ERP system that could be moulded to adapt to the needs of the organisation. The Ramco ERP system was thus customised to address these needs.

1. Tuned to the needs of GFB’s distribution system: GFB follows a ‘direct to the customer’ approach in its distribution policy. There are designated distributors all over the country, who place direct orders with the company. GFB, in turn, delivers goods to these distributors, configured as customers in the ERP system. Once an order has been placed and the payment confirmed, goods are dispatched to the distributors . They, in turn, have employed sellers who take the product further into the market and to the end-consumer. All this information on how a product travels from the time an order is placed till it reaches the distributors is fed into the ERP system. The data on how a product is further distributed by the distributors to sellers is currently being captured in online secondary sales portal.

2. Streamlining inventory management: Perhaps one of the most important factors for an FMCG company is to manage its inventory well. Naturally, this was of great importance to GFB as well. Since distributors place orders directly with the company, GFB needed a mechanism by which it could speculate with relative accuracy, how much it needed to stock up. The ERP system provided solutions to track the inventory movement. The order bookings, despatches, the sales returns, stock left over in the inventory, etc, is continuously being fed in to the ERP system. “As soon as a distributor places an order for a product, we are able to evaluate the order and have the product in our inventory well in time,” says Thakur.

Investment on time

The entire ERP implementation was completed within 45 days and it has been a fairly easy ride for GFB. “That’s the joy of adopting a SaaS-based solution,” affirms Thakur. The SaaS-based model has helped the company go live with the ERP system, swiftly. The result is that the company is witnessing improved controls and better management of operations and inventory. The management is also empowered by better decision-making capabilities owing to transparency in systems and the availability of critical information and data in real time, from anywhere and at anytime, says Thakur. It is mainly because of this efficiency in operations achieved through the ERP system that the company has been able to grow significantly in the post-ERP era. Thakur shares the statistics that validate these facts: “At the time of the ERP implementation, GFB had about 20 appointed distributors across the country. But now this number has risen to 70.”

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