Use of Mobile Application Streamlines Community Coffee’s Wholesale Service
Founded in 1919, Community Coffee is one of the largest family-owned and operated coffee retailers in the United States. When the manual inventory management system used by sales representatives and mangers was no longer equipped support the scale of operations, Community Coffee partnered with Sparkhound to create an automated process supported by iPads and web applications.
CHALLENGE: Productivity of Sales Team Limited by Manual System
Community Coffee has a field sales team who are responsible for servicing 6000+ stores across the United States. These reps are responsible for visiting multiple stores throughout the day to ensure in-store displays are both set up correctly and properly stocked.
Traditionally, surveys used by the sales team during store visits to confirm display requirements and record inventory information were created in Excel spreadsheets and issued to via email. Each sales rep would visit approximately 3-4 stores per day, manually capturing the required information. At the end of each day, all of this data would be entered in bulk and submitted to each representatives’ sales office.
This manual process caused errors in counts and hindered management’s ability to translate intel on performance into actionable items. As the company continued to grow, the manual system was not equipped to deliver the on-demand information Community Coffee needed to make timely decisions for their growing business.
SOLUTION: Develop Custom Application to Streamline Workflows and Improve Connectivity
Community Coffee’s development department teamed up with Sparkhound to create a much less burdensome process, utilizing personalized iPad and web applications. An in-house team developed the web portal that allowed managers to create store-specific surveys and reports, and Sparkhound created the iPad application that synced all of the stores’ information to the device. This allowed sales reps to access up-to-date information on each store, even when working in remote areas or locations with limited connectivity.
The sales reps were able to increase the number of stores visited in a day and also benefitted from appointment reminders, real-time updates to survey questions pushed from the management team, and use of the iPad’s camera to document and compare display pictures across store visits.
TRANSFORMATION: More Efficient Operations and Better Customer Service
Automating the inventory management system improved productivity, efficiency, and accuracy, enabling Community Coffee’s sales teams to provide better service to their wholesale customers. Additionally, managers can make more informed decisions about inventory and their supply chain which has had a direct impact on their bottom-line.