With the festive season underway, most of the FMCG distributors were extremely upbeat and all the more busier, but they did provide some very useful insights into how markets are changing:
(a) A good number of distributors are using technology to streamline their operations (1 in every 4 distributors already have technology in place to obtain orders from their field sales staff directly) Though a lot of the technology is currently provided by brands, about 57% of all surveyed distributors were open to using technology even if it meant using it on their own. GST along with other compliances were cited as the main reasons for the shift towards technology.
(b) Inventory and lead times remain a key focus area for all distributors. An overwhelming 84% of distributors are actively working towards reducing their stock levels. A lot of them were very keen to know stock levels upstream (at the super stockist or the manufacturer warehouses) to plan their own ordering and inventory better
(c) Distributor/dealer incentive programs seem to be working as well as ever. Almost all of the surveyed distributors were part of one incentive plan or another; 73% of all such distributors were satisified with their rewards programs. International travel still rules the roost when it comes to perceived value of incentives. Dealers were also very favourably disposed towards brands that organized dealer meetups.
(d) About 43% of distributors & retailers stated that information about schemes & promotions was either not timely/adequate. A lot of information gaps were noticed when retailers were serviced by the distributor's own field sales staff as opposed to the company's (brand's) sales force.
We are sure all of you value your distributors and retailers as much as they should be, because they are any brand's true partners in the Indian market. They put their money where their mouth is, put in a lot of effort to sell products across various geographies, and take on a lot of financial risk on behalf of the brands. They surely deserve to be treated like the true brand ambassadors that they are!