The San Pellegrino Group, Italy’s leading producer and distributor of bottled water and drinks, tested an innovative system to guarantee the replenishment of its external sales channel consisting primarily of bars, restaurants and other refreshment outlets throughout the country.
The San Pellegrino Group promotes its own products through a tailor-made sales network and at the same time supplies numerous bars which display products in a cold drinks cabinet provided on a free loan. During each sales visit, usually made on a monthly round, the area promoter scans all the information required to restock the cold drinks cabinet. The scan is carried out using a practical, lightweight scanner, the Intermec SF51. This small, ergonomic scanner can be comfortably clipped to a belt and allows the data required for replenishment planning to be scanned quickly. It also records other details of interest to the company used to monitor consumption and sales in different areas.
There are a number of items that are important for the promoter to check. First of all, he or she checks that the cold drinks cabinet is actually used for the intended purpose, namely to hold a supply of San Pellegrino drinks. Secondly, the promoter confirms that the stock is well structured and reflects corporate guidelines, enabling it to match the typical demand for a given area. By using the Intermec SF51, the promoter can fulfill a number of functions with just one scanning operation. He or she can now more easily and quickly check on the status of the cabinet and any faults, submit restock orders, and record data for any monthly sales analysis required by the head office. At the same time, the act of scanning a particular drinks cabinet and its contents acts as proof that the actual visit occurred.
The innovative aspect of this operation is the creation of a network that not only provides information about the sales outlet but also controls whether the cold drinks cabinet is being used in line with the terms of the free loan.
“Until just a few years ago,” the operations manager explains, “San Pellegrino would only consider dealing with wholesalers, whereas now the end consumer is becoming increasingly important and must be won over in supermarkets, bars and restaurants. This means winning over the end customer through direct contact and offering the right type of drink at the right moment.”
After positioning its products in bars and restaurants via its cold drink cabinets on loan, San Pellegrino gives precise instructions to both the promoters and owners regarding the ideal mix of products to be stocked in the cabinet depending on the customer base, premises size and opening times. The ideal stock of products for a city bar used by office staff will undoubtedly differ in terms of range and display from that in a kiosk in a theme park.
The aim of the operation is to grow sales through visibility that enhances the products and encourages customers to buy products not only for immediate consumption but also to take away. The task of promoters is to visit the bars and restaurants that have cold drinks cabinets and to check that both the stocks and the display comply with company requirements.
“Before embarking on this new course,” continues the operations manager, “two basic choices were essential. Firstly, it was important to set up a special network with the specific task of promoting products to the end consumer through the bar channel. Secondly, was the need to monitor the displays and consumption using a practical and functional scanner, like the SF51, which not only allows the cold drinks cabinet to be scanned and traced, but also provides secure proof of the promoter’s visit.”
The Intermec SF51 was well received by the network because it represents a major step forward compared to traditional equipment. In addition to being practical and lightweight, it is easy to use and configure, ensures that visits to clients are fast and that data is collected accurately without input or transcription errors.
The company is divided into two key divisions: the first manages fast-moving consumer goods, namely direct sales to large retail chains through wholesalers, and the second deals with indirect clients, such as bars, restaurants and hotels. Although the latter are also supplied by wholesalers, this division requires direct ongoing promotion which San Pellegrino provides by setting up a special network of promoters.