Can a strong enterprise mobility strategy help you beat your competition? Can it help you get a jump on your biggest competitor by allowing you to react faster to essential customer information? In order to answer these questions, think of what happens when your salespeople visit customers. Think about the information they gain from those visits and how important it is that you get that information as soon as possible. Imagine the impact when you, and everyone at the head office, get all the vital information needed to win the business. Now imagine the difference between getting that information instantaneously, and having to wait until the next morning when you finally receive your salesperson’s trip report. Do those 12 to 24 hours really make a difference? Absolutely! Can you better use that time to get a jump on your competition? Yes, you can.
Regardless of whether it’s mitigating the high costs of customer deliveries, reducing freight costs on incoming shipments, or merely reducing the costs on customer returns, all companies see reducing freight management costs as an essential part of improving profit. Some rely upon a strategy of using bulk shipments to drive down the per-unit freight costs on incoming shipments, while others try and use competitive bids to nail down the best possible deal. It’s a difficult pursuit and one made all the more difficult by a company’s manual processes. It’s like trying to catch lightning in a bottle; success is measured by the ability to have everything align and have absolutely nothing go wrong. Unfortunately, rarely does this happen. If something can go wrong, it will. However, there are some solutions to skyrocketing gas prices and the going concern of fuel surcharges, and they include managing freight via enterprise mobility solutions. So, what are some of the ways that your enterprise can reduce freight costs via a mobile, handheld computer?
Sales metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) are only successful if your sales force is constantly trying to improve upon their metrics. Since your salespeople spend so much time on the road, your enterprise mobility solutions must be able to track their ability to attain these performance indicators. KPI are meant to define the value of a given sale. They allow your company to measure your sales team’s performance in attaining specific goals, ones you’ve deemed important to increasing market share. For instance, your company may decide that its sales metrics should be focused on incentivizing your salespeople to attain a certain gross profit percentage on each transaction. You may place greater emphasis on sales volumes, units sold over time, territory and customer account growth. Or, you may even decide to measure your sales team’s abilities to reduce inventory and receivable financing. However, how will your management manage salespeople in the field if they don’t have access to real-time data? This is ultimately why your enterprise mobility solutions are so important.
There isn’t a single company that doesn’t bemoan the high costs of freight. All companies would love to be able to reduce these costs, while at the same time mitigating the damages caused by delivery delays. Unfortunately, given the high costs of gas, and constant fuel surcharges, most companies seemed resigned to their fate; pay the freight bill and absorb the fuel surcharges because there’s no getting around the problem. However, is this really true? Do companies have no choice but to accept their fate, one marked by extremely high freight and the frustration that there’s little they can do to reduce the damaging effects of delivery delays? Well, the short answer is “no,” they don’t.
One of the surest ways to improve your sales forecast accuracy is by having the right enterprise mobility solution. This is especially the case if your salespeople spend the majority of their time in the field. Not convinced that having a handheld computer will help with your sales team’s ability to properly forecast sales? If so, then perhaps it’s important to ask yourself how fast your salespeople are able to update their forecasts without having a handheld computer. More importantly, how accurate can these forecasts possibly be when your salespeople are constantly moving from one customer meeting to the next? If you’re not convinced, then perhaps it’s best to review the steps involved in retaining and transferring this information to the head office.
How does your company give its salespeople their marching orders? Do these discussions take place before your salespeople leave on a business trip, while they’re visiting customers, or once they return from a long, hard trip? Well, most companies give salespeople their objectives at the beginning of the year. They may then tweak them during a given month or quarter, but for the most part, their objectives are well understood at the outset of a new year. The hope is that the sales team will be incentivized enough to identify and close on all opportunities. However, how do you track their performance while they’re in the field?
How often does your enterprise take the time to track the cycle times emerging from a given work cell? Are you even set up to track the fluctuations in these cycle times, or are your current manual processes making the entire exercise impossible? More importantly, how much better would your enterprise be if it were able to track cycle time fluctuations in real-time via an enterprise mobility network? In order to answer these questions, think of how important it is to isolate the root causes of down time. Think of the high costs of work stoppages and how these interruptions impact your production and ultimately, your company’s bottom line. Granted, analyzing cycle times and minimizing work stoppages is extremely difficult with manual tracking methods. However, it is a much easier endeavor when your company upgrades its production team to use rugged handheld mobile devices and barcode scanners. So, how can the right enterprise mobility solution empower your company to not only track fluctuations in cycle times, but ultimately eliminate the high costs associated with down time?
The “Great Recession,” as it’s now called, has certainly hit every company pretty hard. Demand is down, fuel costs are up and uncertainty abounds. Supply chain professionals understand that today’s fuel surcharges are just part of the day-to-day hassles of managing incoming shipments. Higher freight impacts gross profit margins, and companies are often forced to absorb the losses. However, procurement professionals aren’t just burdened by higher freight; inventory financing is also steadily increasing, this despite today’s historically low interest rates. Unfortunately, if customers take too long to pay their invoices, then a company’s financing costs will increase, no matter how low interest rates are. So, with freight on the rise, and financing steadily increasing, what must your company do to reduce its inventory and supply chain costs?