Sales and distribution of FMCG, as previously understood does not justify the activities currently undertaken by the "field operatives" (a more suitable name than "salesman"). Today, developing and training field operatives who are first and foremost competent and responsible for knowing the market and its customer, is a strength built through years of experience Knowing the customer entails knowing the needs and requirements; and understanding the best means of communication with the customer. Expertise and success in the sales and distribution business are a result of utilizing the information effectively to develop and build lasting customer relationships. Enhancing the relationship continuously through innovative means is a key to growing long-term interdependence. As the customer process for FMCG has evolved from being a functional sales activity - pushing the products in the outlets - to an integrated value chain, that consists of several functional processes; starting from:
- Development of products according to the needs and requirements of the end-users,
- products availability in the outlets,
- above the line promotion,
- trade marketing and product promotion, and
- the customer acquisition or retention process - the purchase or repurchase of the products.
In order to further meet a very wide, diversified and continuously changing market environment, FMCG business has developed a flexible Rolling Sales Forecast replacing the conventional forecasting/budgeting system. Intensifying existing actions or introducing new action to cater customer's demand can be taken very fast and are for a great part empowered to the field operators. A tolerance factor quotient in the Rolling Forecast provides for continuous improvement in accuracy. Factors that influence the forecast are:
- Sales trend of the past three months
- Market development in general according AC Nielsen (if available)
- Advertising activities
- Trade marketing activities
- Competitors' activities
- Other factors such as a sudden drop in supply due to force majeure
Activities, which are decisive for the Rolling Sales Forecast, are all market-driven and are based on the feedback information received from the field representatives. By integrating and aligning activities and forecast based on the market needs, requirements and communication demands, effectiveness and efficiency as well as time factor can be achieved.