Adhesives manufacturer perfects territory coverage with MapMechanics’ modelling solution
Industry sector: FMCG
Henkel UK & Ireland, the producer of famous adhesive brands such as Solvite, Loctite, Unibond and Pritt Stick, has set up an in-house field merchandising team to enhance its interaction with leading DIY retail businesses, and has been able to create logical and economical regions for each merchandiser by commissioning a geographic modelling project from MapMechanics.
As National Merchandising Manager Henry Gould explains, “Initially we just divided the country into thirteen regions, one for each graduate merchandiser, but we soon realised the task needed much more sophistication than that.”
Henkel therefore looked for a mapping supplier that could offer a more structured solution, and found MapMechanic who matched all their requirements, and were able to handle the job on a project basis. Henry Gould says: “As it was a one-off exercise, this was a much better prospect than buying software and going through a learning process ourselves.”
Henkel supplied MapMechanics with lists of the retail outlets and the locations of its merchandisers, and MapMechanics’ own analysts took on the project, taking account of the location, density and spread of call points and travel times from given starting points, and then creating territories that provide optimum coverage at the minimum overall cost.
On the basis of this, the MapMechanics team were able to generate maps showing the boundaries of the optimised territories and the store locations within them. “That original map was fantastic,” Henry Gould comments. “It was far better than anything we’d been able to produce manually.”
Following on from this initial exercise, Henkel was then able to move to a second phase: “Several new merchandisers had replaced original team members, and were working from different bases, and as we were re-running the exercise, we felt it would be helpful to display more information on the resultant map.”
MapMechanics therefore re-ran the optimisation process, this time producing maps that included main road networks, town names and other detail, as well as store locations and boundaries: “This was much more productive in terms of planning the team’s activities.”
Henkel also considered asking MapMechanics to plan routes for its merchandisers, “but their travel varies too much from day to day. Sometimes a merchandiser will visit several stores in a day, but on other occasions will stay a whole day at a single store, and there’s no set call pattern from one week to the next.”
The benefit of the existing MapMechanics system, he adds, is that whatever the schedule, the merchandisers are always operating within a territory that has been optimised for them.
Henry Gould comments: “We will have no hesitation in going back to MapMechanics and re-optimising our territories if we need to.”
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