Next 7: ACNielsen ORG-MARG

PCQ Bureau
New Update

Data Acquisition for Market Research using PDAs is an

innovative and large-scale implementation of bringing down the audit cycle time

from 18 to12 days. ACNielsen has implemented this practice of automated field

data collection in their Retail Measurement Services division that conducts

retail audits. Around 700 field auditors are spread across 173 locations that

cover as many as 65,000 retail outlets. Before going for this implementation,

they used to first send out pre-printed schedules to the field force. These

schedules provided information to the field officers on which outlets to visit.  



Retail audit cycle time was as high as 18 days


Roll out PDAs to field staff, preloaded with an application for data collection






HP iPaq 2110 (750 series), Nokia IP 330 with Checkpoint, Embedded VC++

Akerkar Executive Director (ICT),ACNielsen ORG-MARG

The field officers would then note down all relevant

figures such as stock, sale/purchase from each shop they visited in these

preprinted books, and sent them back to their


processing center. Here, all data from across the country was compiled to

create reports for clients. This entire process involved handling enormous

volumes of paper work on a daily basis, required significant efforts, and was a

costly affair in terms of handling logistics and data entry.

While arming the field staff with a notebook each was a

good alternative, it was a costlier option. This problem was solved when they

rolled out about 700 HP iPaq 2110's to each of their auditors. The PDAs come

preloaded with an application that enabled entering relevant data in a standard

format. This audit data collection software is developed in-house in Embedded

VC++ while the database is encrypted in Binary format. The backend server is

running an Oracle database. The auditors, after taking the data from various

retail outlets, upload it to a central FTP server. This is done from the

Reliance Web World centers the company has tied up with, or from dial-ups/cyber

cafes in remote locations. Now, the current scheme allows the organization to

audit more than 55,000 shops every month.