Managing mobile workforce at ShivaShakthi

SS Bio Planttec Ltd. established in the year 1996 is engaged in production and marketing of genetically superior Teak and Horticulture plants, micronutrients, bio fertilizers and bio pesticides that help farmers to attain 20 to 25% more yields. The company has a wide customer base throughout India and Nepal and has become a market leader creating a niche for itself with its high quality products and customer service. The company is known for its excellent guidance and after sales services by its qualified and dedicated Agriculture Officers for better yields implementing the latest scientific methods of cultivation.

Mowbly helped us achieve huge savings in our operational costs by effectively connecting our mobile workforce across different locations.

Ramesh Gurram

Deputy General Manager, Accounts, SS Bio Planttec

Company

The company has pioneered the concept of direct marketing in agricultural sector taking the product to farmers directly by field staff of the company and imparting product knowledge among the farmers.

The direct marketing of SS Bio products to farmers is taken care by a workforce of around 500 employees spread across multiple locations across different states in India and Nepal. The team takes care of product marketing, training, sales and service to farmers and has different roles like Zonal Head, Regional Head, Divisional Manager, Team Lead and Field Representatives. The team travels extensively across different locations to achieve targets. During the travel, the Team leads and Field representatives camp at strategic places for months together and market/sell products to farmers in nearby villages. Managers and Regional heads supervise these camps by shuttling between head offices and camps at regular intervals. Hence the mobile workforce of SS Bio accounts to a substantial percentage of the total employees of the company.

Challenge

SS Bio management team faced real operational challenges as a result of the larger mobile workforce in the field. The key challenges were,

  1. Real time tracking of employees to check on the productivity of the employees without which the loss in operational costs and poorly met sales targets comes to light at very later stages like sales reviews or account closures. The system should be flexble enough to work with no internet/data connectivity.
  2. Robust reporting system providing vital information pertaining to mobile workforce that helps SS Bio management team and various departments like Finance and IT to make informed decisions.
  3. A unified admin console that helps IT admin to manage the employees and mobile assets.
  4. Implementation of an affordable solution to address the issues of workforce management and tracking. The solution should return a higher ROI and also be future proof thereby extensible to requirements that might arise at a later point.

Solution

Ramesh Gurram, Deputy General Manager, Accounts was tasked with finding the solution. He evaluated multiple vendors ranging from vertical solution providers to app service providers. He identified the advantages of Mowbly mobility providing a cloud hosted end to end mobility solution which not only reduces their capital expenditure on IT and hardware setup but also provides a mobility framework that will help SS Bio to devise a mobility strategy for future. Eventually the decision was made to go with CloudPact and things moved ahead quickly.

SS Bio known as being a forerunner in latest technology and innovation took this mobility strategy with a great sense of commitment and urgency. With immediate effect, the company procured mid-range Android devices for all its field service executives. The app rollout of the app was phased as a pilot app with a limited set of users followed by a rollout covering 150 field employees. Additional users are added to the system periodically and the full scale rollout is planned to cover around 400 employees.

Administrative dashboard
Fig-1 Admin dashboard
Device tracking screen
Fig-2 Tracking dashboard

Business benefits

The major business benefit of the solution is the efficient management of workforce and assets with a rich dashboard. IT Admin is able to track the employees in real time using the dashboard and a robust reporting capability offers easy access to location information of employees. This has led to improved employee reporting trend at the camps.

The accounts management related to travel allowance claims has improved drastically with every manager having detailed location information of the subordinates reporting to him which helps him in making a clear and informed decision on the claim approval. This resulted in increased employee satisfaction in Finance team with reduced conflicts on claims.

Overall, the solution has resulted in a huge savings in operational expenditure related to travels to the scale of 50% and there is a certainty in operational costs now, which was the main challenge for the management. With lesser total cost of ownership (TCO), venturing into enterprise mobility proved to be a right decision for SS Bio.

Future

SS Bio management team is convinced with the return on investment enterprise mobility offers and looking forward to get additional workflows on to mobile. They understand that having chosen a enterprise mobility platform, mobile enabling business apps and workflows is going to be easier. They are working with managers and employees to driver greater activity on mobility front with all stakeholders showing equal interest in building this strategy. SS Bio is looking to implement CloudPact Mowbly platform’s capabilities like workflow enablement, enterprise connectivity, business analytics etc.