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Digitized Loyalty Rewards for Channel Partners & Contractors

Consumer Brands swiftly move products from manufacturing facilities to end users facilitated by channel partners. Most brands recognize channel partners as the key element to succeed, and they need to ensure that they are highly motivated.

Existing Incentive Programs are Invoice-based Discounts, Rebates, Bulk Discounts, Lucky Draws, etc., which results in limited engagement with Channel Partners. The Trade Schemes of these brands are inflexible and do not cater to the needs of Channel Partners.

On the other hand, some brands are revamping their Loyalty Program with Technology. Digitized end-to-end Channel Loyalty and Engagement Platform with specially curated channel design and strategy, rewards, program management, and analytics to help drive measurable results and build profitable relationships with the channel partners.

Channel partners are responsible for a large percentage of revenue, making partner rewards and incentives a crucial consideration for brands. With a digitized loyalty program, brands can create, execute, and personalize Channel Partner Loyalty Programs that lead to more engagement, higher channel sales, and improved brand experience to motivate Channel Partners to perform better.

Building better Relationships with Channel Partner using Digital Loyalty Platforms:

  1. Personalisation & Tailored Rewards – Digital loyalty programs allow businesses to add a personal touch to loyalty programs and strengthen partnerships with channel partners. A highly personalized reward engine motivates channel partners to sell more of the brand’s products.
  2. Monitor Channel Partner Purchasing Behavior with Real-time Analytics – All loyalty transactions are collected in real-time, so it becomes easy for businesses to monitor trade campaigns and loyalty management. Brands can gain vital insights about their distribution network’s purchasing behavior on an analytics dashboard.
  3. Scalability & Adaptability – Digital reward program gives an ability to upgrade and capture the market at scale with the help of the latest technology and predictive analytics. Digital Programs that support current business and scalability for future growth are preferred over obsolete rigid incentive structures. This helps brands adapt even in the face of future technological advancement.

Embedding Gynger Platform to your Channel Partner Strategy!

With O4S’ Gynger Platform, Brands launched Channel Partner Loyalty Programs in a digitized format. Gynger Platform automates the loyalty management and rewards offered. Brands such as Akzo Nobel and Honeywell have launched the loyalty platform to run targeted loyalty schemes for channel partners across various countries. Gynger has more than 400k channel partners engaging with more than 50k loyalty transactions daily. These brands get real-time updates and data analytics on scheme performance, reward claims, and disbursals. With a DIY format for loyalty and rewards management, Gynger is one of the most efficient platforms for digital loyalty programs.

Know more about the digital transformation of contractor rewards at AkzoNobel and Honeywell usingO4S-Gynger SaaS platform, here.

Higher Sales with Digital Contractor Loyalty Program

Every business starts and runs with the primary objective of earning profits in perpetuity. However, evolving industry trends, business requirements, inflation, consumer preferences, channel communication, and increasing competition push businesses to keep testing waters and implement new ideas to streamline operations and stay at par with the competition. 

A lot of focus has been put by consumer brands on engaging with consumers as they are a direct source of revenue. For instance, businesses spend nearly 11% to 27% of their revenues on Consumer Loyalty Programs which contributes to a 5% to 10% increase in revenues. But brands often miss out on the underlying opportunities i.e. indirect revenue generators or the industry influencer i.e. Contractors. A few prominent brands such as AkzoNobel and Honeywell have been early movers in the space and have already implemented Digital Loyalty Programs for their Contractors/Technicians, Retailers, and other Channel Partners. Check out their platforms here Dulux Connect & Genetron.

The contractor community comprises hundreds and thousands of small business operators who spend millions of dollars to buy supplies, equipment, and material to perform their jobs. The complexity lies in understanding their purchasing and consumption patterns. The primary objective of a Contractor Loyalty Program is to create additional value for channel partners and dealers while driving certain behaviors that not only push top-line growth but also decrease the cost to serve.

According to Drilling Down: 2022 Contractor’s Loyalty Report, 40% of contractors prefer purchasing online while 60% opt for in-store or via distributors. ~90% of contractors want to be rewarded for every purchase irrespective of the purchasing channel. 

The primary driver of enrolling in a program is the benefit aligned with it, which could be winning a cash prize, travel trip, non-cash items such as e-learning modules, webinars, etc. The brand has to ensure that it covers a range of benefits that could encourage contractors to participate in your Loyalty Program.

Points to consider while creating a Contractor Loyalty Program:

  • Lock the Objective of the program: Before launching a Contractor Loyalty Program, be very specific about the purpose whether it is driving sales, engagement, loyalty, or participation. You may also assign percentages or targets in case you have multiple objectives.
  • Simpler Program for Higher Adoption: This aspect is very crucial as often contractors opt out of a Loyalty Program if the contractor is not able to properly understand it or find the Loyalty Program task heavy. Simple participation steps, proper dissemination of information, easy redemption options, and instant access to reward points, along with timely notifications are essential for higher engagement and participation. 
  • Versatile Benefits: Brands should not restrict themselves to rewards, instead, they should offer e-learning/training opportunities to contractors to improve their knowledge and skill set. It is a known fact that humans are complex and every individual has their driving force, one contractor might prefer rewards while the other will prefer non-cash items. So, as a brand, you need to make sure that there are ample options to choose from.
  • Gamify & Engage: It is advisable to add a Gamification element to Influence & Motivate beneficiaries’ behaviors strategically. Brands can enhance engagement by introducing different kinds of game elements such as Spin & Win, Polls, Scratch Cards, Lucky Draws, Leaderboards, Live Scores, etc.

Trends in the Contractor Incentivization Landscape

A slow and steady shift is expected to take place in the incentivization process with a growing preference for online channels, quicker access to information, and instant gratification, among others. Moreover, the pandemic has changed the dynamics of the industry with increasing migration to the online channel. For instance, Forrester’s research suggests a 200% increase in recognizing e-sellers/retailers and a 571% increase in rewarding non-transactional referral partners. 

A steep incline is observed towards the adoption of digital rewards such as Visa/ Amazon vouchers, prepaid gift cards accepted by multiple brands, OTT subscriptions, or various other discount coupons, among others.

Moving away from Invoice-based Incentivization

O4S-Gynger helps organizations digitize their channel partners’ Incentivization Loyalty Programs to incentivize their trade partners to directly maximize sales of their brands. On the Gynger Platform, brands can create and communicate schemes directly to the channel partners and track the effectiveness of these schemes to ensure that the reward for incremental sales reaches the intended beneficiaries. It closes the information and incentivization loop between the brand and channel Partners by connecting them directly. Moreover, it provides a data-driven approach to running trade promotions with real-time analytics to review performance.

O4S-Gynger allows businesses to view their trade promotion effectiveness: rewards disbursed, total participation (engagement & participation), best-performing scheme, and sales generated, among others in a single view. Businesses have experienced unprecedented growth in their incremental sales with 10 times higher participation along with 80% higher MAU.

Know more about the benefits offered by the O4S-Gynger SaaS platform, here.

Industry 4.0: The New Building Block of Manufacturing

After the first industrial revolution which involved the introduction of mechanical production, the second which took place with science and mass production, and the third which focused on digitalization, it is time for the fourth installment of the industrial revolution i.e. Industry 4.0 to make a buzz now.

What is Industry 4.0?

The fourth industrial revolution refers to the digitalization of production and manufacturing procedures. Industry 4.0 uses smart technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, miniaturized sensors, etc. along with real-time data to increase productivity and profitability, simultaneously cutting down the costs of manufacturing.

The new concept that is taking the world by awe is a successor to the 3rd industrial revolution that bought computers in the manufacturing industry. However, unlike the 3rd industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 focuses on helping the organization to manage and succeed by ticking off what’s necessary and what’s not on their checklist.

How is Industry 4.0 supporting Organizational Supply Chain?

Industry 4.0 has been launched, keeping in mind the objective of making supply management better, faster, and more reliable. With the introduction of smarter technologies, high-end quality management systems, and real-time tracking, the 4th industry revolution shall bring a positive change to the supply chain. Let’s understand how.

Better Asset Tracking

Asset tracking has always been a primary concern across various industries, including businesses of all scales. With the technological advancements, deploying labor for asset tracking shall be reduced, facilitating transparency and elimination of manual human errors in the system. Hence, offering an improvised and on-time service delivery to the customers.

Time Efficient Deliveries

A highly managed data and supply chain network will provide a boost to organizational deliveries. The companies will be able to respond to consumers’ demands and need efficiently and easily. Reduced downtime of machines and lower losses lead to time-efficient deliveries, roping in higher profitability for the company.

Better Control & Management

Industry 4.0 brings in better transparency with its real-time data management systems. Accumulating the entire data in a single place not just reduces time investment, but also, space and other operational expenses.

Cons of Industry 4.0

Besides benefitting the supply chains of organizations, just like the flip side of a coin, there are a few possible repercussions too:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) stands as a major security concern. Until packed with high-end security processes, online data management seems to be under a major data security threat.
  • Workers and labors involved in IT industries adapting manufacturing 4.0 will be required to undergo specialized training to match the required skillset
  • Customizable and complex production requiring non-repetitive tasks shall be a major concern as machines are not believed competent enough for customizable tasks

What does the future hold?

By far, except for a few cons, the introduction of Industry 4.0 seems to be a profitable and efficient change in the manufacturing world. As per experts, the change is expected to bring high monetary benefits for industrialists. Specialists suggest that the industry will be investing approximately USD 500 billion by 2020, and with this technology, they shall earn a value up to USD 1.28 trillion.

How Industry 4.0 correlates with product serialization?

Enforcing greater product visibility through a tech-enabled supply chain provides great support to Industry 4.0. Together, they facilitate absolute visibility not only across the entire supply chain but throughout the product lifecycle. Product serialization helps companies build an ecosystem where there is higher product traceability.

Companies can easily and conveniently track their product’s movement across the supply chain via primary and secondary linking of packages. This makes it way easier to detect territorial product diversions, and faulty returns while providing a leeway to optimize inventories. Furthermore, they help optimize process quality, and inventory planning, boost productivity and lower costs as well as reduce waste incurred due to lower awareness levels. The collection of real-time updates on activities, along with the continuous processing of aggregated data allows manufacturers to run advanced analytics and predict future trends based on historic demand-supply patterns. Thus, facilitating efficient strategic decision making.

Gynger- A New Way to Connect with Retailers & Influencers

Trade promotions are marketing campaigns designed to engage distributors and retailers to push sales. According to a research undertaken by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), trade promotions hold the capability to add 10–15% to a company’s bottom line, along with 15% increase in ROI, and 3–5% improvement in operating profit, if executed correctly. Brands come up with innovative ways and lucrative rewards to catch the attention of retailers, distributors, and influencers who could influence the purchase preference of a customer. However, the key concern that arises here is the traceability around the flow of scheme information, performance, and effectiveness.
At present, most of the trade promotions are designed and executed based on assumptions made by the marketing team. A lot of times, the importance of having a concrete tool to measure performance is overlooked by companies. Despite significant expenditure on trade promotions, companies have limited visibility around their effectiveness. This is primarily due to the absence of tools to measure the efficiency of trade promotion schemes. Thus, reflecting the lack of a clear understanding and strategy formulation of the program. Evidently, there is no provision to measure the ROI on the expenditure. The situation is even more critical for companies dealing with multiple brands, huge product portfolios, and an extensive supply chain.
Considering the poor ROI on Trade Promotions, O4S  has launched Gynger, a retailer and influencer trade promotion management platform. An important thing to note is that here ‘influencers’ refer to technicians, painters, plumbers, and electricians, among others. Gynger helps organizations digitize their trade promotions schemes to incentivize their Retailers and Influencers directly to maximize sales of their brands. Over the Gynger platform, not only can the organizations create and communicate schemes directly to the retailers as well as influencers, but they can also track the effectiveness of the schemes and ensure that the reward for incremental sales reaches the intended parties. In addition, it closes the information and incentivization loop between the Manufacturer and a Retailer/influencer by connecting them directly. Moreover, it provides a data-driven approach to running trade promotions.
Companies are under continuous pressure from intensifying competition to shrinking profit margins. With huge overhead cost- Trade promotions have become all the more important as the entire market is fighting for a limited share of the consumer’s wallet. In such a situation, trade needs to be lubricated better to push stocks in the market.

Resolving Supply Chain Issues with Retailer’s Data

The competition in the retail space is fierce now than it has ever been. Consumers have a wide range of options available at their disposal. Add e-commerce platforms to the mix, and you have a situation where brand loyalty goes for a toss. With the rise in consumerism and the availability of options, brands need to gear up for changing times. More emphasis has to be laid upon strengthening the supply chain so that it becomes efficient enough to ensure that the right product is available at the right place at the right time.
The supply chain is the backbone of the retail industry besides other industries. It is a crucial link that aids in the availability of the goods to the end consumer. It is crucial to have an efficient supply chain for smoother operational processing, simplifying purchase, inventory management, and warehousing functions. A reliable supply chain reduces transportation costs and helps the retailer in offering a variety of goods at a reasonable price. It also plays a pivotal role in giving a competitive advantage in the market.

The Issues

Due to a large number of SKUs and the scale of supply, often it becomes challenging to manage the supply chain. This leads to issues concerning procurement, warehousing, availability, and delivery of goods to the last leg of the supply chain including the retailers. The biggest nightmare for the retailer is perhaps going out of stock. Retailers have to manage the stock levels for multiple brands which can become cumbersome, resulting in a lack of stocks for some brands.
Retailers are the key stakeholders that hold all the data that will reveal 360-degree insights about your products. It is essential for brands to repeatedly review the supply chain and streamline the processes for a shorter supply chain. Besides increasing efficiency, it will also help in reducing the supply chain cost.
The supply chain also faces issues during the last-mile journey which can vary from maintaining the authenticity of the goods due to lack of traceability to ensuring rapid movement. The inadequate communication between retailers and brands causes major discrepancies in the supply. The problem can be solved by using retailers’ data and analyzing it to get the required information.

The Solution

Retailers are the point of contact between the organization and the customers. They are the ones who directly interact with your end consumers and have a true understanding of the actual needs and wants of the consumers. Their feedback can provide you with valuable information related to the product, including the reason for sales or a failed sale. This can contribute immensely while developing a new product and will also help in enhancing the existing one as per the actual needs of the consumer.
Retailers have first-hand information about the likes and dislikes of the various consumer segments, and they also have access to vital information such as consumer demographics and purchase history. Brands can make use of this information to segment their target audience further and supply products that are as per the preferences of the consumers. All your organizations need to do is get the data available with the retailers.
This data can be useful in tracking the purchase history of consumers which can act as a base for predicting future sales trends. Demand forecasting is another tool that can be utilized with the data obtained from retailers. This can also help in creating a robust supply chain with reduced time to reach the market.
The point of sale refers to the place where the actual transaction is carried out. Software such as the POS system carefully scrutinizes the sales data of the retail outlet and generates insights about the product movement. It helps in understanding the pace at which the products are moving from the shelves. These reports will give you timely insight into the optimal time and hours of the sale. Regular reports will enable you to time your supply accordingly.
The retail data can be used for the formation of a collaborative network between the suppliers and the retailers. There will be a shift in the focus from ‘on the shelf availability’ to ‘on-demand availability’. The product cycle timing can be modified by using retail data as it unearths the pace at which the products are moving. So, the lead time to manufacture a product may need alterations to suit the customer demand during peak season.
Managing vendors is a significant issue that crops up while operating a supply chain of organizations with multiple products and vast geographical areas to cover. Ensuring the timely delivery of goods is a major responsibility. Through constant consumer feedback, brands can analyze the desirable products and ones that need changes to have better control over the supply chain.
Retail data can be of great importance to determine consumer insights as well as aid in resolving critical supply chain issues. Utilizing the retail data is set to be the next trend in the coming years. Retailers are expected to increasingly make use of the data to manage and sustain their supply chains and businesses.
It is crucial for organizations to ensure that retailers and distributors are motivated enough to share the data. This can be achieved through Trade Promotions that are designed to benefit both the organizations and retailers. The latter is incentivized for sharing the data while the former get data that can be used for a wide variety of purpose.
Data is the solution to solving a wide range of supply chain problems and developing supply chains that provide a competitive edge. Trade Promotion-related solutions designed by O4S are the ideal solutions that empower your brand to leverage the data and incentivize the stakeholders in the supply chain.

Product Digitization with O4S

The average consumer is more informed now than ever in the past and with increasing technological advancement, things are about to change further. It would be redundant to say that digitization is here or your organization should focus on digital to remain competitive in the market. We are past that! Today, the focus has shifted towards taking digitalization to products or services which were once considered outside the digital purview. Irrespective of whether a company sells physical or digital products, it requires to make a digital connection with the consumers.
With multiple options available to customers, creating an experience will be the key to ensuring brand loyalty. As per a Salesforce report, 95 percent of customers said that they were more likely to be loyal to a company they trust, and 80 percent mentioned that experience provided by the company was as important as the product or the service. So, what can companies do to create a unique digital experience and increase the trust-factor?

Product Digitization

For companies producing physical products, digital has at best been used for marketing activities. However, with the arrival of Next-Gen technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Robotics, etc. the usage of the digital platform can go far beyond. When thinking about the application of these technologies, both companies and consumers imagine smart devices, driverless cars, and perhaps, even a flying jet pack. What if these technologies could be applied to the most basic products? A bottle of cold drink or a packet of biscuits?
Product digitization is a process of adding smart tags to the products which will enable the end-users to interact digitally with the products. It can open new avenues to increase customer loyalty and create personalized communication with the consumer at the point of sale. Product digitization can be achieved by adding scannable QR codes on the products. The end-user has to simply point their camera, and get all the product details right on their mobile phones.
Brands have absolute control over what information is displayed to the customer once they scan the code with their phones. Besides ensuring the fact that the product is original, customers can get a wide range of information about the product life-cycle. You can share product development videos, pictures of the manufacturing plant, or details of the upcoming products. Product digitization with O4S is easy to implement without making any significant changes to the existing technology.
Product digitization will have a positive impact across departments from supply chain to marketing. For organizations dealing in physical goods, a supply chain is the core of the business. The transparency obtained due to product digitization can help organizations create a robust supply chain. Besides, as per a study conducted by PwC, 33 percent of respondents said their companies have already digitized the supply chain while another 72% added that their companies would do it within the next five years.

Advantages of Product Digitization

Product digitization will have both immediate and long-term benefits for an organization. From impacting customer loyalty to optimizing the supply chain, it has immense benefits. Let us look at some of the top benefits offered by product digitization.

1. Enhanced Security

Product digitization helps the brand in ensuring better security of their products. The products are protected against counterfeiting as every stakeholder will have the option to scan the product and ascertain its authenticity. It also allows you to improve the supply chain visibility of products. An organization will be able to track the product during its entire supply chain. The increased visibility will help in improving the efficiency of the supply chain. Cumulatively, this will help in optimizing the supply chain.

2. Build Customer Trust

With product digitization features offered by O4S, customers will have more reasons to trust the brand. With the point and scan feature, customers can determine the authenticity of the product with their mobile phones. The customer can get all the information about the product from manufacturing all the way to the delivery. Product digitization adds an extra layer of trust so that customers can purchase products without any doubt in their minds.

3. Increased Engagement

Product digitization can be used to interact with customers in real-time. This information can be used by brands to arrive at crucial business decisions for improving engagement as well as sales. Dynamic content can be shared with the end-users to increase brand loyalty and introduce new products. With product digitization, brands can effectively use data to implement marketing automation. Based on real-time locations, content in regional languages can also be shared with the users.

4. End-to-End Customer Experience

Customer experience is a major factor that impacts loyalty and repeat purchases. Today, customers want a seamless and integrated digital experience. Product digitization creates an opportunity for the brand to not only offer a comprehensive customer experience but also pave the way for future innovations. A brand can keep the customers both intrigued and satisfied by delivering engaging digital content.

5. Process Optimization

While product digitization will have a wide range of benefits pertaining to customers, it will also have positive effects on the end-to-end process. Based on the abundant data that will be generated at each stakeholder, every team from procurement to marketing will be in a better position to make informed decisions. As a result, the demand and supply gap at every stage will be as less as possible.
Product digitization gives a digital identity to your physical products. Your organization can get better control over the products, ensure increased connectivity, and offer a better context to your customers. O4S product digitization technology enables you to digitize your existing products without the need to reinvent or substantially alter them. If done correctly, product digitization can offer immense competitor advantages. Get in touch with us to know how product digitization can help your organization. Feel free to reach out to us, we are just an email/ call away.

Inefficient Supply Chain’s Impact in FMCG Sector

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) is one of the rapidly growing sectors in the Indian economy. The FMCG sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.86 % and reach USD 103.7 billion by 2020. It is worth noting that the rural segment contributes about 45 % of the overall revenue generated by the FMCG sector. The top three sectors within FMCG are household & personal care (50%), healthcare (31%), and food and beverages (19%).
Supply Chain in FMCG pertains to the entire lifecycle of a consumer product, from acquiring raw material for production to the finished products. It begins with raw material sourcing and purchasing, product packaging, and ends with the delivery at the point of sale. An efficient supply chain is crucial for any FMCG organization to meet the growing consumer demands. Additionally, a robust supply chain has the potential to increase the profitability of the organization.
The FMCG supply chain deals with multiple challenges like the reducing overall costs, meeting increasingly varying customer demands, and ensuring quick as well as timely delivery. To add the woes, organizations must further ensure accessibility and be able to fulfill customer demands. Organizations need to maintain all this, in an ever-metamorphosing industry.

How Does A FMCG Supply Chain Become Inefficient?

One would think that FMCG companies, with its fast-moving and mass-produced items, would have already figured out the entire supply chain. Yet, several new factors are now part of the supply chain which if not addressed, can lead to significant inefficiencies. The rising cost of distribution, increasing number of SKUs, and a wide variation in the last mile execution can severely affect the supply chain. Lack of innovation, accountability, and visibility are the chief causes of an inefficient supply chain. Let us look at each of them individually to analyze the core of the problem.
  • Accountability - With the supply chains becoming global, accountability at every stage is essential. A lack of clear distribution of responsibility will lead to inefficient supply chains given the sheer volume and scale of distribution in FMCG.

  • Visibility - Visibility or tracking of the products at every stage is critical not only to ensure efficiency but also to ascertain product authenticity. A lack of visibility increases the probability of counterfeit products being introduced in the supply chain.

  • Innovation - Innovation is the key to survival in any industry due to the rapidly changing technological landscape. Using innovative tracking, tracing, and other related technologies FMCG companies can improve their supply chains. Not accepting the change may eventually turn the supply chain inefficient.

Why is it important to have an efficient Supply Chain?

An efficient supply chain is crucial for improving brand value in the market, enabling product transparency, enhancing profit, and increasing customer satisfaction. Thus, companies need to continue seeking higher efficiency in their supply chain. This would help companies meet price expectations by streamlining and restructuring processes while preserving economies of scale during the product lifecycle.
Transparency and traceability are terms often used interchangeably but incorrectly. When applied to a supply chain, both the terms could have a wide variety of meanings. A competent supply chain incorporates both and provides a huge clarity of procedures involved during the different stages of the cycle. As the name suggests, traceability allows for effective tracking of products during the lifecycle, whereas transparency aims to map this entire process.
Emerging technologies such as blockchain are now being tried to solve the complicated and critical problems of the supply chain. A modern-day supply chain needs high traceability and visibility to ensure that the trust between all the parties involved in the supply chain is sustained and increases over time.

The Need For Transformation In FMCG Supply Chain

To understand the current challenges that are being faced by the FMCG supply chain, we must first understand the factors driving the change and forcing businesses to upgrade. The rapidly changing shopping patterns of the consumers and the latest technological solutions are a few prime reasons that necessitate an overhaul in the entire supply chain.
Over the past decade, the FMCG & retail industry has transformed and evolved at breakneck speed. This has led to the rise in changing consumer expectations along with a massive change in shopping patterns. The latter can largely be attributed to the emergence of eCommerce and niche specialty stores. The change in the “traditional Kirana” store and their aspirations has also forced companies to leverage technology to stay relevant.
The tech-savvy and well-informed consumer is now aware of the options available at their disposal in a simple click of a button. The plethora of choices has made traditional barriers such as cost and convenience obsolete. Today, a consumer can access what they, when they want, and from wherever they want. This has resulted in diverse demands that range from international online retailing to a locally made product.
The nature of products that form a substantial part of the FMCG sector further complicates the supply chain. Perishability and seasonal fluctuations also create unique challenges that force organizations to create supply chains that are capable of adapting such a varied pace.
In response to this change, today’s FMCG supply chains have revamped their strategies and turned their attention towards reducing the costs, increasing responsiveness, and using technology to create a robust supply chain. An increasing number of companies are employing innovative loyalty management programs to optimize their supply chains.

What Next?

As technology advances and consumer demands evolve, things would continue becoming difficult for the FMCG supply chain. It becomes imperative for the organization to ensure that all the stakeholders in the supply chain are optimized so that the entire supply chain can function like a well-oiled machine. Simple and easy steps like product serialization and verification can help FMCG organizations manage and secure the entire supply chain.
Companies can also leverage the available data points for every entity in the supply chain. This data can be analyzed regularly to evaluate the performance of every partner in the supply chain and to take critical business decisions.
We at O4S, strive hard to deliver solutions that help companies create a robust supply chain. With our next-gen solutions, FMCG companies can track their entire supply chains, manage returns, and motivate the distributors & retailers with loyalty management programs. All our solutions are aimed at helping you create the supply chain you deserve.

Leading Footwear Manufacturer Acing Inventory Visibility

The customer is amongst the leading sports shoe manufacturer in South-east Asia. It has captive manufacturing plants, with +10 packaging lines in each plant. The annual aggregated production capacity is 15 million products. The company thrives to provide high-performance sports footwear to Indian consumers at economical prices. The pricing strategy works right because of its highly efficient production and distribution processes.

In achieving its primary objective of economically priced footwear, the company faced the following challenges with regards to the distribution processes:

  • Diversion of products from assigned territories, that impacts the company’s provisioned pricing strategy

  • Lack of proper tracking IT infrastructure of products and inventories at all levels (warehouses, distributors and retailers)

  • Low visibility into the redemption of trade promotions and schemes by last-mile supply chain partners

  • Absence of consumer data and engagement channels

Supplytics aimed at resolving the challenges by providing:

  • Automated hardware and software infrastructure to monitor product movement and inventory at all levels of the supply chain

  • Advanced BI & analytics aided visibility of inventory at all levels of supply chain

  • Mobile app enabled seamless engagement channel with retailers and distributors for communication and redemption of trade promotions and schemes

  • Advanced analytics aided consumer engagement channel

The company endorsed the benefits of deploying Supplytics with marked improvements in the visibility of its products, people & processes.

  • Advanced diversion monitoring system enabled up-to level of individual product

  • In processes of partnering with 25 Mother Hubs, +400 Distributors and +20,000 retailers to understand individual inventory consumption pattern of +400 SKUs across 15 states in India

  • Improved understanding of redemption of trade promotions and schemes by retailers

  • Direct consumer engagement channels

Supplytics BI Dashboard Analysis

  • Intelligent Diversion Monitoring - The dashboard provides comprehensive insights into the anomalies and variances in product distribution from the target locations. Supplytics’ API captures real-time locations of products using integrated IP extraction from inventory locations. Using Supplytics, diversion control can be automated, eliminating field agent verification drives.

  • Product Return Dashboard and Reconciliations Tool - The dashboard is customizable, for finance departments to streamline product returns and recalls from various supply chain partners. The data enabled intelligence enables monitoring of all un-authorized or illegitimate returns.

Invading the Opaque Wall Beyond Distributors with Next-Gen Technology

Organizations across the world are changing at breakneck speed, and so is the thought process of the customer. A decade ago, factors about the product’s origin and delivery systems were hardly given a second thought and almost no one was concerned about the supply chain as long as the product reached the end consumer.
This has changed over time, and everyone from the consumer to the company is now worried about different aspects of the supply chain. Customers now seek information and are inquisitive about the sources and systems that are involved in the delivery of their products. This evolving and changing consumer patterns have forced companies to think beyond the distributors.
It could ideally be argued that the transparency in the supply chain originated as a virtual side-effect of consumer concerns emerging from repeated incidences of counterfeit and poor-quality products. It is crucial to understand that the lack of transparency is equally challenging (and costly) for organizations, if not more. So, what has changed suddenly that forced organizations to start thinking beyond the opaque wall?

The Opaque Wall

Supply chains until now were the least of the concerns for the consumers. Even businesses were comfortable in having a limited view of their own sourcing methods and policies. The status quo about the source of good and their pathways were never questioned. This has led to a situation where even the top organizations are unaware of the fate of their products once it leaves the company-operated warehouses.
The various nodes across the supply chain are disconnected giving rise to a situation that does not work out best for the brand. In such cases, manufacturers have no means to control or track what happens to the product during the last mile of the supply chain. Once the product leaves the company warehouse, the company has no control over the product or the information that it receives about the progress of the product down the supply chain.
A distributor may not report the stocks back to the company leading to shortages at the retailers’ end. In another scenario, the distributor could be promoting one brand for better commissions by hoarding other brands. Since the brand does not know the product details in the last leg of the supply chain, it also does have any control over the products that are returned. Companies also do not get the consumer data which could have otherwise helped the brand streamline their marketing activities.
The opaque wall beyond the warehouse gives rise to problems that not only cripple the supply chain but also has the potential to hamper the very existence of the organization. Let us look at some of the common problems:
1. Maintaining Quality of Product: Since your organization has practically no knowledge of what happens to your product in the last leg of the supply chain, it is impossible to maintain the quality of the product. This is especially true if your supply chain deals with perishable and edible products.
2. Lack of Traceability: As we have already discussed, the lack of traceability is a significant issue that can have severe ramifications on your organization. This can lead to counterfeit products entering your supply chain, weakening of consumer trust in your company, and eventually impacting your sales and profits.
3. Lack of Communication: The lack of traceability does not affect just the organization but also leads to a lack of communication between various stakeholders involved in the supply chain. Poor communication leads to miscommunication and mistrust between various stakeholders which includes the customers too.
4. Rising Costs: To optimize and reduce the cost of your supply chain, it is essential for you to know your complete supply chain. Once you can track your entire supply chain, you can make improvements that could help in the overall reduction in costs.
5. Inventory Management: With the increasing number of SKUs and decreasing the time of delivery, inventory management has already become a difficult task for organizations across industries. The lack of knowledge of the entire supply chain is bound to complicate inventory management further leading to wastages, shortages, and disappointed end-users.
Although the concept of supply chain transparency is quite old, it is fast becoming an exceedingly significant attribute in the current global market. Through achieving transparency in the supply chain, businesses can effectively secure their reputation and establish trust by divulging information pertaining to the entire journey of the product.

Why Is It Crucial?

Enterprises have begun to realize that transparency in business is now more of an organizational effort and if neglected, can potentially affect multiple aspects of a value chain and not just the management of their supply chain. Sharing detailed information with the end-users and all the stakeholders involved in the supply chain has several benefits. It establishes a strong connection between businesses and consumers, builds trust, helps businesses react faster and more effectively, especially during any snags. Increasing transparency also aids in driving improvements as corporations can attain greater visibility across the supply chain.
By exercising transparency in the systems, stakeholders such as consumers, supervisory regulators, investors, and business leaders can voluntarily eradicate the opacity prevalent in the impervious supply chains of the past. Although the origin of a product is a quality that is imperceptible and not easily verifiable, it is an indispensable factor for many consumer purchases. For several products, this intangible trait is prioritized by consumers and an essential feature compared to available alternatives.
For instance, in almost all cases, an ethically manufactured item feels and looks indistinguishable from its sweatshop substitute, yet buyers care about its authenticity and integrity which is an undeniable fact. From the basic visual standpoint, there may not be a way to identify and distinguish food items like kosher, halal, and organic food items from their lesser alternatives, but they have clear distinctions from buyers’ perspective, thereby influencing their buying decisions.
An opaque supply chain can lead to massive risks arising due to instances of fraudulent product returns, management of inventory, counterfeiting, and lack of knowledge about the customer buying patterns resulting from lack of monitoring and tracking of end-user data.
Manufacturers can reduce these risks by working directly with retailers, eliminating opacity, and ensuring reduced oversight in the entire network. Closing hidden risks and information gaps by connecting the disconnected manufacturer, warehouse, distributor and retailer node is the only way forward.

The Solutions

To improve effectiveness and manage the expenditures in the supply chain, top logistics providers are regularly seeking new means through constant analysis. The incorporation of technology and transparency levers such as third-party data, collaboration across stakeholders, and real-time monitoring abilities have the potential to further strengthen the supply chain.

Product serialization is an effective way to track your product until it reaches the end-user. This also allows your customers to simply scan the QR code using any open source and check the authenticity as well as the journey of the product through the supply chain. This increases the trust customers have on the product and the organization.

At O4S, we employ machine learning technology to generate random Unique Identification (UID) codes for each product manufactured by a particular brand. This UID is then affixed to each product via a fully automated setup in the manufacturing facility using carriers like Encrypted QR Code, Optical Codes or NFC tags.

Additionally, retailer and distributor loyalty programs are an effective method to ensure that all the stakeholders are incentivized to share the data with your organization. With Gynger, O4S’s Trade Promotion Management Platform, you can instantly distribute the rewards using our software. This will result in instant gratification for the retailers, consumers, and distributors thereby increasing the efficiency of the loyalty management program.

Reward programs and loyalty schemes, if well-implemented could potentially result in a huge amount of data coming back to your organization. The information gleaned from these crucial insights into customer spending habits can be utilized in altering and suitably modifying marketing strategies.
It is important to bear in mind that is possible to achieve a robust and stable supply chain while reducing cost and mitigating the risks. Effective management and innovative technology can help your organization optimize the supply chain to meet the changing delivery standards. Adapting to newer technologies is the first step towards revamping the supply chain and staying ahead of the competition.


O4S raises Series A investment. To be announced soon. Read More