MAY-Foods, being a major tea and coffee supplier needs to always control goods layout and availability in retail networks. MAY-Foods employs a team of merchandisers that visit all points of sale where MAY-Foods products are sold on a daily basis.
Merchandisers have to regularly audit the goods supplied by the company and communicate with the store teams on whether the products are in stock. A MAY-Foods merchandiser has to visit about 10−15 points of sale per day, including major retailers and small privately owned shops. A comprehensive audit should be conducted on site, including product layout control, picturing the shelves, and filling out the report on a certain point of sale.
A merchandiser should note the product layout, its quantity, availability, and other shelf placement criteria. Besides, MAY-Foods auditors also function as salesmen: create new orders and communicate with store managers. A comprehensive motivation system takes into account a number of criteria: the number and complexity of trips, timeliness of such trips and quality of the reporting provided, increased number of orders received from stores, MAY-Foods product line expansion, etc.
The audit included a standard offline process with paper document management, and filling out multiple forms, surveys, and reports. The documents contained data on a dozen of brands and a great variety of products, which, naturally, slowed down work. Filling out a large number of paper documents and routine led to multiple problems:
- errors in reports;
- lacking signatures and pictures;
- delays in data provision.
The audit department management recorded violations and abuses on a regular basis: duplicated reports, false reports with no audit. The work scope was not performed in full, about half of visits and audits were false, i. e. never happened in reality. Product layout also left much to be desired, which impacted sales and new orders.