manufacturingtechnologyinsights

Leveraging Mobile Technology to Ensure Quality in the Supply Chain

By Dave Hale, CEO, Gigwalk

Dave Hale, CEO, Gigwalk

Lax Standards in the Downstream Supply Chain

Many companies have unfortunately come to accept or ignore defects in the downstream supply chain that would otherwise be unacceptable in the upstream supply chain. Manufacturers invest significant time and money in new product introductions and trade marketing programs every year with limited visibility into what’s happening on-the-ground. Collaboration and communication is especially complicated in multi-tier supply chains where downstream retail execution problems are difficult to track and fix. This is a complex billion dollar problem that requires a new way to execute work and manage field teams.

Poor retail and promotional compliance is commonplace. According to a recent study, 75 percent of U.S. adults came across an unavailable product in stores last year, accounting for more than $634 billion in lost retail sales in 2015. More specifically, a study conducted by the Grocery Manufacturers of America found that the average out-of-stock rate in the grocery category is 7.9 percent, costing retailers up to a 4 percent loss in sales. Promotional execution hovers in the range of 50-70 percent, i.e. 30-50 percent of promotions are paid for and not executed at retail. Collectively, these problems cost manufacturers billions annually. Imagine if first pass manufacturing yields were only 70 percent, if raw material supplies were out of stock 8 percent of the time, or if your upstream supply chain failed 4-8 percent of the time. These problems are not acceptable upstream, yet they have become the norm in the downstream supply chain.

Current data for tracking downstream product distribution is incomplete and delayed. In general, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies have good information on point of sale, distribution sell-through, and inventory, but lack information regarding retail conditions that may cause sales and inventory fluctuations. The distribution supply chain is a black box and companies need visibility into in-store conditions, in real-time, so they can understand where compliance gaps exist.

Real-time Data Collection - a Critical First step

Real-time data collection is a critical first step to fixing problems associated with poor retail execution. With the rapid adoption of mobile technology, it is now possible to collect and share insights in real-time, and for field teams, distributors and merchandisers to share intelligence across a common platform. In addition, third party data sources such as point-of-sale and inventory management can also be integrated, providing a complete picture of execution to allow manufacturers to fix their downstream supply chain execution.

Gigwalk’s Solution

Gigwalk’s mobile enterprise solution enables companies to gain real-time visibility into their downstream supply chain by mobilizing their field teams and tapping into Gigwalk’s on-demand workforce for expanded reach and coverage. Workers use Gigwalk’s mobile app to collect and report on in-store conditions, such as whether a product is displayed properly or that merchandise is in-stock. These projects typically involve answering a series of questions and/or uploading photo responses. All data collected is geo and time stamped and is immediately accessible to the company, so that issues can be resolved quickly and sales maximized.

Trusted, actionable data helps companies make critical decisions that improve daily operations and drive profits. With Gigwalk’s solution, Whirlpool was able to deploy its own internal team into stores to collect and share essential data. Whirlpool's field staff members were able to submit photos and details on store displays and sales staff activity that became immediately available to other members of the Whirlpool management team. In the past, information was recorded with pen and paper or tracked on spreadsheets, making data collection a long and tedious process. With Gigwalk, Whirlpool was able to easily streamline data collection across the organization.

Gigwalk offers a mobile solution and a large distributed workforce to make it simple to get on-the-ground insights anywhere, anytime. Don’t let your supply chain blindly go off course, take action!