How Data Analytics is Helping Britannia Streamline its Supply Chain

The BHub AW app provides real-time stock data which helps all the people in the ecosystem to benefit from the data.
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From manufacturing in a small house in Kolkata in the late 1800s to having a footprint in over 80 countries, Britannia has come a long way. 

Over the years, Britannia has evolved to become one of the largest FMCG firms in India. Brands such as Marie Gold have become household names in the country.

Vipin Kataria, Chief Sales Officer of Britannia, in this exclusive conversation with AIM discusses Britannia’s digitisation journey and their indulgence with data analytics.

The digitalisation journey

Britannia’s digitalisation journey began about 12 to 13 years ago when they implemented the entire auto-replenishment process.

“So, that’s a very important foundation that we laid about, which basically connects our factories, depo, distributors, and retailers in one linear fashion so that there is no lag in this entire chain, and, over a period of time, we almost perfected it to a very good efficiency level,” Kataria said.

The second big development happened about 10 years ago when Britannia introduced handheld devices. Earlier, everything used to happen through pen and paper. 

“That was really, I would say, the inflection point, or triggering the entire data-led analytics and digitisation because earlier most of the order booking used to happen manually and it used to be a mess. When you enter that into your Dealer Management System (DMS), it used to be a pretty time-consuming, cumbersome job.”

How does Britannia collect data?

Today, Britannia takes all the orders through these handheld devices. To give you a perspective, Britannia has a reach of about 2.5 to 2. 6 million outlets, which is fairly large. So, the data pool getting generated is also significantly large.

“The entire sales history of these 2.6 million outlets, what is the average bill size, what is the frequency of billing or frequency of servicing—all this data gets collected. I’m just giving you a sense of the richness and the depth of this data which gets generated.”

So, the data generated is gold for the sales team. With the entire empirical data about that particular outfit at their disposal, it generates opportunities to cross-sell as well as upsell.

“The data generated also needs to be used for enhancing your productivity. You need to make sure that the service capability of the organisation is really high because there is intense competition and if you’re not reaching on time, if you’re missing your service cycle, then somebody else is going to sit on the shelf.”

“Therefore, the entire intent was to make this ecosystem of channel partners, our distributors, the hub of this entire data revolution.”

Britannia has around 3,500 distributors spread across every nook and cranny of the country, from Metros to Tier 3 cities and beyond. 

“These distributors are what gives us a lot of market share, numeric distribution and an edge over the competition. So, therefore, the intent has been to make this digital revolution more homogeneous, more uniform and very participative.”

BHub AW app

The next step was to ensure that the channel partners are able to make use of this entire data set. So, Britannia partnered with Arteria Technologies to develop the BHub AW app.

“If I have a very sophisticated system, but if I’m not making my channel partners, and my salesmen and retailers, develop the capability to adopt these sophisticated systems, then you will not be able to unleash the potential of a lot of these technologies.”

The BHub AW app helps collect various data in real time. It helps track the product’s movement right from the factory to the store shelf. 

There are several advantages of the app, which include primary billing, geotagging, and real-time stock data which helps all the people in the ecosystem to benefit from the data. 

“I think about 18 to 20 years back is when we implemented the DMS, but now with smartphones, you can have that entire data not sitting on the desktop but on your smartphone.” 

“We decided to give our channel partners a very sophisticated app, which will help them converge all of these data points at their fingertips.”

The app also provides visibility of stocks on a real time basis. It helps the distributors ensure there is no stock out. “They can go to the app and check their stock level.”

“Further, we have an auto-generation process for the orders and therefore, they get to know what is the order generation, which is happening for their point, through this app.”

“We launched this app about eight or nine months back, we are already seeing a very healthy adoption rate, which is at almost 90% plus and therefore this is becoming a really handy tool in enhancing our productivity,” concluded Kataria.

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