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Mobile Management: LOreal India uses remote technologies for streamlining business

March 23, 2015

L’Oréal India, established in 1994, is one of the fastest growing subsidiaries of the France-based global cosmetics firm L’Oréal. It employs over 1,500 people across India at four regional offices, a factory in Pune, a research and innovation centre in Mumbai, and an advanced research centre in Bengaluru.

Over the years, L’Oréal India has emerged as a leading brand in haircare, skincare, make-up and fragrances. The company has a large sales and distribution network of more than 700 distributors across the country and relies on a strong communications and IT network to manage them effectively.

tele.net tracks the key telecom technologies and solutions adopted by L’Oréal India to increase efficiency and reduce costs…

Communications infrastructure

In the early years of its operations, L’Oréal India lacked any uniform reporting software. With the number of its distributors growing, the company was finding it difficult to procure speedy and accurate sales reports on a daily basis. To address this roadblock and find a way to monitor and control its entire distribution network, L’Oreal India deployed a distribution management system (DMS) application at the distributor end with the help of an IT service provider. It also introduced hand-held terminals for the sales teams of its distributors to track their performance in real time as well as keep tabs on sales and stock. This provided much-needed mobility as salespersons could feed in sales data from anywhere. They could also easily update the DMS at the distributor’s site remotely via a GPRS-led mobile service.

With the aim of providing round-the-clock service support to its sales force using hand-held terminals, L’Oreal India partnered with CMC Limited, an IT services, consulting and software outfit. CMC helped the cosmetics company with the roll-out, helpdesk and asset management support of hand-held devices and DMS applications, including the rectification of manufacturing defects, replacement of faulty devices and software upgrades.

Challenges and benefits

The key challenge before the company was to make its distributors, sales force and other key stakeholders familiar with the new technology they were deploying. It was important that sales personnel accept the new reporting system and use it with confidence. This required a strong implementation and support model as well as a professionally managed IT support services team. L’Oreal India achieved this by getting CMC India to train the sales staffs of their dealers and extend online as well as on-site support to distributors after the roll-out of the terminals. The entire sales force was given live demonstrations for charging the hand-held devices, loading applications, tagging them distributor-wise, etc. Sales force distributors at different locations were also trained to update their DMS applications and hand-held devices. This training was backed by a centralised helpdesk that focused on resolving distributor issues related to both these technologies across India.

After putting these systems into practice, L’Oreal India registered significant gains in terms of the timely and effective distribution of products. The following are a few of the key benefits:

Lower costs

The centralised helpdesk led to the company swiftly lowering its overall project costs as most technical queries within and outside the company were addressed through phone calls or by email. By accessing the distributor’s system remotely in this way, rather than using L’Oreal India’s infrastructure, the costs related to running an office set-up, hiring manpower, etc. were brought down. The cosmetics company could also relocate its own IT officers to other projects, saving valuable resources. In addition, the quick resolution of issues through calls and emails enabled distributors to significantly reduce the downtime on their networks and improve business output.

Complete control over business

By being able to centrally monitor the performance of its entire sales team across the country, L’Oreal India was in a position to exercise complete control over the company’s business environment with a centralised delivery system. A uniform tracking system helped it manage distributors across India on the basis of online, real-time and uniform sales reports.

The use of this real-time data has helped L’Oreal India gain a better understanding of the market dynamics and placed it in a good position to streamline its business through informed decision-making.

Based on a case study by CMC Limited, a key provider of telecom and mobility solutions to L’Oreal India


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