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Improved internal efficiency for an F&B distribution company

The company specializes in supplying and distributing a wide array of the highest quality of foods from around the world mainly in three categories: beverages, grocery and bakery


With an ambition to become a market leader, the company experienced explosive yearover-year growth until 2016 when the growth rate showed signs of declining, irrespective of the market being favorable to imported goods. The management had a hunch about their operations being inefficient, particularly the team involved in operations.

Bizcon was hired by one of the directors to conduct an investigation and provide the board of directors with more clarity on their operational inefficiency and the actions to take going forward to improve overall operational performance.

Client Context

  • The demand for imported products was at its peak in the last decade in KSA and people were willing to spend a significant portion of their disposable income on
    them. Capitalizing on the demand, the company came up with a B2B food and beverage distribution company operating on the model of importing from the USA,
    Turkey, and Europe and distributing to the local market via offline and online channels at wholesale price.
  • Main customers are hotels, restaurants, cafes, and catering services. The company is primarily active in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam with warehouses at all these locations.
  • Shopify is the primary online channel for customer acquisition and Sales representatives are the primary offline mode of customer acquisition.
  • Company owned a fleet that is used to deliver orders.
  • Company started its operations in 2008 and by 2018 it had many long-term regular customers. The company even without using analytics had extensive exposure to
    the market in terms of how frequently the long-term customers order (like weekly, fortnightly, etc.), what they order, etc. So, sales representatives’ responsibilities also included visiting these regular customers and taking their orders in addition to new customer acquisition.
  • The company used to manage their sales representative through an app called Repsly, fleet through the fleet management system, inventory through Unleashed,
    and accounting activities were done on Xero. All these applications were integrated and fetched real-time data for efficient operations.

BIZCON’s Approach

Bizcon adopted a six-step process to uncover insights and deliver a robust solution
framework to be adopted by management for operational excellence.

  • Considering the business model, the value chain had been defined and divided into the buy side and sell side.

  • Primary activities from both buy-side and sell-side were mapped and clubbed into five different categories which are Inbounds logistics, operations, Outbound
    logistics, distribution channels, and customer relationships.

  • To assess how effectively these activities are occurring a set of metrics has been created. Sales per representative, Average transaction value per customer category, sales/ region, Net promoter score, and Order delivery time to be named a few.

  • Relevant data analogous to metrics were gathered and using an analytics tool data wrangling was conducted to structure, clean, enrich and validate the client’s data.

  • A time series, as well as a cross-sectional analysis, was done to understand the activities performed. We also conducted live interviews with employees at various positions to understand their take on their work, growth, and prospects in the organization.

  • The results produced from analysis and interviews were then converted into insights to be presented to the directors and further used to create solutions.

The Result

Our assessment confirmed operations were inefficient due to unstructured utilization of sales force resources. Salesmen were not scheduled properly; their roles and responsibilities were not defined clearly; they were not compensated based on their performance. All these collectively led to discrepancies in the overall offline sales process.

Our analysis also revealed that the company approach towards client assessment while onboarding, acquisition, and retention are purely done on hunches and not backed by data. The customer categories contributing a significant portion to sales were treated in the Define value chain Map out key activities Gather data related to key activities Define key metrics to assess activities efficiency Data wrangling and analysis Results and solutions same way as other customer categories. Furthermore, the company was not aware of the regions nor the product categories contributing majorly to their revenue as they were employing the same number of resources in every region and maintaining a similar amount of inventory for every product category.

The company demand forecast was not considering the fundamental aspects of the market and was based on random assumptions leading to a huge amount of excess inventory.

All of these were collaborating to low ROI and diminishing EBIT margin.

Based on these findings, we proposed a set of corrective measures broadly classified into quick fixes and sustainable differences. Using these results, we suggested management promptly work on their compensation model for sales representatives. We delivered them a customized model based on the industry standards and sales representative effort. The idea is to keep sales representatives engaged and motivated and let them feel like a partner instead of an employee.

We also encouraged management to utilize their IT resources like Repsly, Xero, etc. not as data feeding tools but as data analysis tools to make informed demand forecasting, resources deployment, and sales planning.

Additionally, we proposed to develop KPI’s and implement them at each level of the hierarchy and for each activity of the value chain and constantly monitor them on monthly basis. Developed KPIs were able to capture every detail of any particular activity and any minute discrepancy was identified instantly making the process robust and efficient.

The Decision

Our insights helped management to precisely point out the areas of improvement to achieve a higher ROI and an efficient operational process. It was concluded that the best way to proceed is to start with the proper compensation and management of the sales force, parallelly accompanied by adopting a robust data analysis framework using existing infrastructure for strategic decision making and setting up a system to capture customer satisfaction with the services.

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