Charisma unifies Henkel's distribution activities

Charisma unifies distribution activities of Henkel Romania and its distributors

I see when the customers of my distributor pay and automatically know what payments the latter needs to make to me. Human error cannot any longer delay payments, as confusions and omissions are no longer possible.

Liliana Comșa, Henkel Romania Distribution Operations Manager & Customer Services & Sales Controlling Department

Founded in 1994 as a subsidiary of Henkel Central Eastern Europe (based in Vienna), Henkel Romania has quickly established itself as a strong player on the local market and recorded in 2012 a turnover of about 136 millions Euro. The company operates through three divisions: “Detergents and products for home care”, “Henkel Beauty Care” and “Adhesives for Technologies”, and its portfolio includes 30 brands and thousands of products, from cosmetics, detergents, commercial and professional adhesives, to technologies.

The products managed within the divisions “Henkel Beauty Care” and “Detergents and Products for home care” reach the Romanian market through a national distribution chain which includes hypermarkets, store chains, small shops and even kiosks. Henkel Romania delivers its merchandise directly to hypermarkets, whereas the traditional trade is approached through the national distributor Top Distribution Group (TDG). 
Products are delivered by Henkel factories within CEE and stored by a logistic operator, wherefrom they leave towards the end consumer through TDG. For the two divisions, sales activity is performed by its own team of 38 agents who manage the relationship with the international clients (hypermarkets) and some of the national chains. 
From 2003 to 2010, Henkel and its distributors used a software solution developed upon request by TotalSoft, for managing the whole distribution flow. The solution was offline, replications were done overnight so that the next day data would be updated, and provided through Palms the information necessary to the salespeople in order to take orders. However, as the business grew, the requirements to the solution and its capacity of storing data grew as well. The frequent addition of new functionalities and the enlargement of the database led to obstructed use of the solution, with a less positive impact on the performance of the salespeople and the business. The need of an online solution, developed on the latest technology and with increased reliability, became a must at the end of 2010. It was the moment TotalSoft offered an own product, the integrated informatics system Charisma ERP, suitable for both managing Henkel distribution activity and the one of its distributor (TDG). The database was requested to be common and online, so that both companies would unitarily manage their activity.

The analysis and customizations of Charisma ERP, necessary for covering the specific needs of Henkel Romania business, took almost one year, during which the implementation of the system was also carried out. One of Henkel’s major demands for the new system was the expansion of the reporting set with analysis of unpaid invoices, along with sales reports including details like success rates or number of points of sale reached by each salesman. In order to control and to predict as accurately as possible the distribution at national level, these data are vital, they form the basis for decisions with impact on financial and controlling level.
Also, the information provided by Charisma ERP to salespeople in the field through the SFA component (Sales Force Automation) are equally important, as they enable taking orders and selling on the spot, financially safe. The agents are endowed with Palms which communicate in real time with the back-office (Charisma) and provide them client-related information (whether  he has more than 2 outstanding invoices, if he is blocked, the agreed price list, special offers), as well as stock and period of time delivery can performed.
The implementation of a powerful reporting module allowing rapid reports attainment, based on minimal configurations, was extremely important for both company and distributor. Charisma Analyzer offers the possibility of real-time evaluations through intuitive presentations of data such as objectives, achievements and developments.
Cell Monitor, the mobile application for sales analysis, replaced the manual execution of the analysis which was done by gathering data from several sources, compiling them and creating a report which always reflected a past situation. 

  • The SFA component offered the salespeople the possibility of working online, which led to shorter times for order taking and, implicitly, for goods delivery. “The agents do not need to come by the branch any longer for downloading data from the Palm, the application being online saves delays and additional routes” says Mrs. Liliana Comșa, Henkel Romania Distribution Operations Manager & Customer Services & Sales Controlling Department.
  • The online operating mode allows employees to check stock in real-time and to take orders without any impediment;
  • Quick data centralization has enabled a better organization, which was immediately seen through the improvement of the delivery times. “Before implementation, according to the stock situation which the agent was informed about only at the end of the day when he reached the office, delivery time could reach up to 2-3 days. Now, with the information available in real-time, we can organize routes so that delivery is possible also within 24 hours.” states Mrs. Liliana Comșa;
  • Implementing the BI module (Business Intelligence) led to improved analysis and reporting. “We can more easily and rapidly configure reports we need and track the financial and collection situation. Both us and our distributor can quickly check the status of unpaid invoices for the customers visited by the salespeople and can limit the financial risk arising from the sale to poorly paying clients. Moreover, we configured Charisma to alert the agent and block order taking from customers who have more than 2 unpaid invoices” states Mrs. Liliana Comșa;
  • The use of Charisma by both Henkel Romania and the distributor ensures a joint database and real-time access to any kind of information. Financial and controlling activities are more easily and strictly tracked. “I see when the customers of my distributor pay and automatically know what payments the latter needs to make to me. Human error cannot any longer delay payments, as confusions and omissions are no longer possible” says Mrs. Liliana Comșa.

Case study revised in 2013.

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