Africa is predominantly a patriarchal society with the expectation that women should be typecast into specific gender roles. Women should be home makers with ‘interests’ in business, fashion, and any other industry seen to need a woman’s touch or should fit with more ‘socially acceptable’ roles. In today’s world however this trend is changing, with more inclusion for women. This is definitely true within the startup technology space in Nigeria. Our Co-founder and VP of Product – Toyin Oshinowo in addition to two other women, Odunayo Eweniyi Co-founder and COO of PiggyBank NG and Adia Sowho, MD and VP, Commercial of Mines Nigeria were interviewed by Ugo Aliogo from ThisDay Newspaper to share their perspectives and their experience within the industry. They represent a small handful of individuals who are making their mark within the Nigerian technology startup ecosystem. Click here to read the interview.
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The Chief Digital Officer of LafargeHolcim, Philipp Leutiger and his team, dropped in for a visit today with Delivery Science at our Yaba Office, Lagos, as a part of the Lafarge Digital Innovation Journey, a 3-day event which took place from the 14th – 16th August 2018.
We’re honoured and excited to be one of two tech startups that Philip Leutiger and his team chose to visit during the course of this event. We got a chance to speak about Fieldisnight and how it is uniquely positioned to change the data collection culture in Nigeria and across Africa as a whole.
Here are some pictures from today’s visit.
Lanre Oyedotun giving a talk on Fieldinsight
The Chief Digital Officer of LafargeHolcim, Philipp Leutiger and his team.
Lanre Oyedotun and Toyin Oshinowo answering questions after the talk
Spot the DS Ninjas here
The LafargeHolcim Team leaving after the visit
The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (previously the Council of Logistics Management) defined logistics as “The process of planning, implementing, and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective transportation and storage of goods including services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements. This definition includes inbound, outbound, internal, and external movements.”
From the above we can see that logistics is the bloodline, indeed the fuel, that keeps the supply chain in all businesses running. Therefore logistics managers need to constantly improve on their processes to improve customer experience/retention and stay ahead of the competition.
Sadly this, as with all other things in business, is not bereft of challenges. Logistics managers are responsible for a host of things ranging from the health and safety of employees and other road users to managing fuel costs, managing and servicing fleet, creating shortest routes for deliveries, maximising fleet capacity load etc.
And as with juggling too many things often and at once, several things are bound to either go wrong, be overlooked, or simply done poorly. Let’s look at four of such challenges and how technology can help make things easier.
1. Cutting down transportation & maintenance cost: The price of fuel and maintaining the company fleet is a variable that logistics managers often have no real control over, the most they can do is plan and budget for both ahead and leave wiggle room for changes that may arise. The only real control they can exercise is to cut down how much time and manpower is required to complete a task in the shortest time possible.
Before technology, managers often had to resort to doing manual mental calculations and through trial and error, come up with a strategy that allows them achieve the above goal, but now, with a slew of logistics solutions and tools available that provide insight and data on your field operations sometimes in real-time, it is possible to have eyes on the field and monitor the metrics that are most important to you so you can begin making better and smarter data based decisions.
For example, being able to map customers location on a digital map, will help you come up with the best and shortest routes possible for deliveries and doing this consistently will save you money in the long run, deliver goods faster, make your team more efficient and deliver better results.
2. Effective manpower management: It’s part of a logistics manager’s role to manage a team of people often assigned to cover different territories and even states. Depending on the number of people and their roles/duties, being able to keep an eye on all of them, as well as focus on your own tasks can sometimes prove daunting. Being able to spend less time actively managing your team and monitoring what they are up to, frees up your time to get more of your tasks done, and to innovate and improve your product and/or service.
For example, using a solution that automatically collects and aggregates your team’s daily activities in one place depending on what you’re trying to measure, allows you keep an eye on everyone as well as judge performance overtime. This help to reduce the friction that comes with manpower management because it’s harder to argue to raw hard data.
3. Customer satisfaction: When customers are unhappy, it is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Usually, this indicates the presence of other problems in your business or in your fleet, such as late deliveries, bad service etc. Also, constantly innovating and improving your distribution strategy to make the entire ordering and delivery process seamless, easy and transparent is a huge part of increasing customer satisfaction and retention.
Customers are the lifeline of any business, if they are unhappy for long periods of time, they unconsciously start to look for better alternatives. To combat this, begin by making them feel valued and heard, and then embrace the technology that encourages end-to-end transparency for both you and your customer while giving them the ability to reach out to you easily and quickly once something is wrong so you can begin working on a solution right away.
4. Huge information processing: Aside from ensuring smooth operations, logistics managers are faced with the challenge of manually ensuring good condition of their fleets, the safety of staff, fleet loading, cross checking of goods and processing of waybill e.t.c
Automating some or all of these processes, saves you time and mental energy that would be better spent elsewhere, which in turn enables logistics managers to channel their energy into often neglected but equally important aspects of the core business operations.
Most of the challenges faced by managers in the supply chain space can now be easily solved or at least better managed with one or several technology solutions. Know of any other challenges Logistics Managers face and how technology can help?
Logistics or distribution plays a key role in the supply chain of all sizes of businesses especially in the FMCG space and with the advent of technology that allows businesses collect information from the field electronically and perform data analysis when done, business owners can now gain the much needed insight into key areas of their business operations. This allows them accurately measure key performance metrics and then make the changes necessary to improve its effectiveness.
But before you can begin to reap the rewards of data and apply its many benefits to your business, you first need to know what type of data you should be collecting, why you should be collecting it, and how to collect it easily, quickly and in a way you can understand and share it with your team, partners and major stakeholders.
Here are 4 kinds of data you should be collecting automatically to help improve and optimise your distribution strategy and operations, leading to better results for your team.
- Information about customers and the competition: When you find a suitable solution or tool, the first kind of data you should work on getting and analysing is one specific to your business, also known as market research data.
Information like a comprehensive list of who and where your customers are, how your product is faring alongside your competitors (market share), customer complaints and feedback etc can be collected overtime making it easy to spot and correct/improve patterns and trends.
Also, carrying out a market survey, keeping tabs on your customers and competitors by collecting important information about them, and mapping your frequent customers’ location (automatically or manually) so you can develop a journey plan for delivery are all components of market research data and having access to this information will improve your distribution and boost your sales strategy.
- Information about orders from customers: Many businesses, regardless of size, do not have a central automated system for receiving and processing orders or payment as we will see in the next point. Orders are often received from multiple channels including manually via paper forms and phone calls, which therefore makes tracking and getting status information difficult and sometimes results in missing or unprocessed orders.
It is therefore first important to have a system or solution in place that helps you receive, process and track the status of all orders coming in and going out in one place to avoid mix ups and errors, and then you will find that gathering this data overtime will
- give you a bird’s eye view of your business operations
- help you stay better organised
- allow you accurately measure the inflow of income
- see if you are growing as a business
- identify loyal customers and reward them
- identify buying habits of your customers which can make it easier for you to upsell ( or prompt them to buy) certain products at certain times and formulate better customer retention strategies based on real and raw data tailored specifically to your business.
- Information about your business’ payment processes: A lot of businesses don’t think gathering information about payment is important and to be fair, there are several effective ways (such as bank statements and credit alerts) to access and share payment information from customers, but being able to have this information collected overtime via an automated system will help accountability and transparency especially when you need to share that information in a visually pleasing and easy to understand way with partners and stakeholders without accidentally revealing more than you need to as with bank statements.
Some solutions that allow you collect this kind of data often allow you receive payment directly from customers once they place an order, which is good because this eliminates some of the challenges associated with receiving payment after goods have been delivered like
- waiting for a customer to either physically go to a bank to make payment or do a bank transfer of funds
- having to decide if a customer should pay cash or via a POS machine if they choose the payment on delivery option
- and worrying about your delivery personnel misappropriating funds gotten from customers for goods delivered.
Not only will collecting this kind of data in an automated way help solve the above challenges, but overtime, it will allow you to quickly identify and spot demand trends and patterns, spool out financial reports whenever you need them, have a clearer view of your revenue, track performance of your distribution team at a glance, refine your sales strategy, identify your highest paying customers and develop better customer relationship and retention strategies e.t.c and this is valuable information for any business.
- Information about deliveries made to customers: Gathering this kind of data has immediate benefits when compared to the others because you can start to get insight, from the first few entries, into how optimised and efficient your distribution team really is and it can therefore help you manage your people and field assets smarter.
Getting this information through an automated system for example, an electronic waybill or proof of delivery, allows you to begin to process payment immediately after receiving electronic confirmation that your products have been delivered. Gathering this kind of information overtime can help you;
- track your Turn-around-time (TAT) so you can use your delivery vehicles smarter
- create journey plans that optimise personnel time and company resources which helps boost customer satisfaction (often turning new customers into loyal repeat customers) because goods are delivered on demand and on time no stories
- having an effective delivery plan ensures that key distributors of your products never run out of stock
all these are the benefits of gathering information overtime and making better decisions based on it, which contributes to helping your team get better results and in some cases help you cut costs and save time.
It is clear that the importance of these types data for business owners cannot be overemphasised because data is what drives supply chain and logistics optimisation. But for any business to truly get the most out of any kind of data, it must be accurate, timely and comprehensive. There also must be plans for a fully automated system of data collection and transfer from the field to the office for this to work effectively and seamlessly because manually entering anything other than very minor amounts of data is both too time consuming and too error prone to support optimisation.
Looking for a solution that can seamlessly connect your office to the field and help you manage your operations smarter?
Delivery Science Ltd today announces Chuka Ofili’s departure as the Company’s Chief Enterprise Architect effective July 1, 2018.
Since 2014, Chuka has played an important role in the development and success of the organisation, and we cannot thank Chuka enough for the dedication and passion he has given to Delivery Science. Chuka expressed his desire to leave Delivery Science to allow him focus on personal endeavours. He and the rest of the engineering team have gone through a successful hand-over phase. We are confident and excited about this next chapter at Delivery Science as we continue to transform the way Africa collects and processes data from the field.
We wish Chuka all the best in future endeavours.
A growing number of companies in Nigeria, indeed Africa, are taking steps towards increasing their productivity and boosting revenue generation. To achieve this they are either seeking out sales force automation solutions that closely match their needs or building crude automation solutions themselves in-house, to help speed up their supply chain processes.
A major advantage of this shift from having manual processes to supply chain workflow automation is that it can accelerate the rate at which products and services move from suppliers to customers, while reducing costs and growing the bottom line.
Here are 5 more compelling reasons why you should join the growing number to implement supply chain automation:
1. It makes your sales team more effective:
Process automation increases visibility and control of your field operations without having to leave the office. Examples of this kind of automation includes, but not limited to;
- Having a solution where you can create orders in bulk at the start of each day, and be able to assign them to specific team members
- Having a solution that during the course of the day, allows you get status reports of the orders once they are in transit and once they have been delivered
- Having a solution that allows you know the exact location of your field assets via a live map
and all with the click of a button.
The key result of using this type of solution is that it will shorten and will change your entire sales cycle. This will increase your company’s productivity which will help you cut costs and increase your revenue.
2. Accountability and transparency:
In addition to transparency, automating your supply chain process also promotes accountability of your field operands. With some automation solutions available, it is possible to assign tasks to specific people on your team and track their performance overtime. So it’s easy to know who’s responsible for what and if the task has been completed or not.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Automation takes the guesswork and ambiguity out of your supply chain process” quote=”Automation takes the guesswork and ambiguity out of your supply chain process”] and replaces it with raw accurate data, this often translates into increased team efficiency, because now there’s nowhere to hide.
3. It reduces errors:
Each step in the manual supply chain process is an opportunity for error. This is because the process often involves filling paper forms that end up changing hands several times before they arrive on your desk or end up in a file till they are needed.
Automating the process helps eliminate most of those opportunities and allows you notice quickly when an error has occurred because you get real-time notifications for things you currently want to track and stay-in-the-know of.
4. It makes data collection faster and easier:
Process automation will help your company clear out the paper clutter and speed up the process of collecting data. Instead of your delivery personnel returning with a physical waybill before you confirm delivery and in some cases charge clients, what if you could automatically confirm delivery via a solution like electronic proof-of-delivery (ePOD) and then receive payment via a POS.
Automation gives you freedom, flexibility in your business dealings and the ability to collect and aggregate market niche data from the field faster, easier, and often in real-time.
5. Gain insight into your team’s performance:
Getting accurate data to judge your distribution and sales performance can be difficult – especially if you still gather data and keep records manually via paper. Streamline the process and get that information quickly with data that has been collected and aggregated in an automated way.
In your next meeting with your boss, investors, stakeholders e.t.c you’ll be able to show them a presentation backed up by real data collected from the field by your team.
This will enable all those present to make better and more informed decisions.
Looking for an automation solution to help shorten your sales cycle and speed up your processes?
Give Fieldinsight a try.