Case study

James Ralph

Skynamo brings a “positive motivational cycle” to sales teams

As the authorised distributor of CASIO consumer electronics for the Southern African region, James Ralph (Pty) Ltd is responsible for distributing CASIO calculators, watches, and musical instruments, among others, to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini and Zambia.

As CASIO distributor they supply and service major retailers, independent dealers/resellers and wholesalers, with a sales team of eight people across the country, as well as agents in Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Botswana.

Director Robbie Frade says Skynamo has been on their radar since it was called Honeybee, but it was only in 2020, when the pandemic struck that the company started looking at Skynamo more seriously. “We realised that the majority of our workforce couldn’t work remotely for the simple reason that they just didn’t have the technology at hand,” he recalls.

As company they prefer systems that allow for efficiency and focus on customer service, especially within the busy seasons. “Skynamo has given us the complete pleasure of having a smooth and hassle-free order process where orders are imported and move through the system in the fastest way possible,” he says.

“To give you an idea, during previous busy sales season (before Skynamo) we used to have a backlog of about seven days to complete orders. We had lots of manual processes where our sales team still had to write out orders by hand and then manually send orders to the invoicing team for processing.

“The invoicing team would then print out the received orders and re-capture the order manually within Syspro.
When you have a sales team manually sending orders every day, then a backlog is inevitable, so there was always that hurdle that we had to get over during the busy sales season.”

With Skynamo in place, however, they are able to collect, process and dispatch an order on the day it is received. “For us it was a complete game-changer,” he reflects.

Robbie says implementation was quite a bit of work but the Skynamo integration team was a great help to guide them in the correct direction from the start. “We did the customisation and some cosmetic changes live,” he says. “Instead of trying to get everything perfect, and then launching the Skynamo solution to our sales team, we decided to set it up to a point where we could start using it, and then iron out the errors and bugs, and fix things as we went along.”

He points out that it’s extremely difficult to get a system 100% ready in a theoretical sense, because only once you deploy it do you see more useful solutions to your specific needs. So it took six or seven months to really bed everything down. And it was well worth it.

“As it stands right now, we have very little to no backlog on invoices and orders,” says Robbie.

He adds that as with anything new, there was a little pushback from reps when Skynamo was first implemented. “It was new, it was different, it was a change and as social creatures, we like comfortable situations. We don’t like it when we are pushed out of our comfort zone,” he says.

"“As it stands right now, we have very little to no backlog on invoices and orders,”"

“Even I found this to be quite a big change to adapt to. But my focus was on the vision for the future – on improving efficiency, improving delivery lead time, and improving the most important thing: customer service. Those are the three most important elements for us.”

The other major benefit of Skynamo, he says, is transparency between the sales team, the invoicing team and management. “To give you an example, what the salesperson will see on Skynamo is exactly the same as what product managers will see. If a sales rep has done an order, the invoice is completed at our office and it’s sent to the warehouse so that the order can get dispatched. If the customer calls the sales rep a day later and asks where the order is, he or she can look on the Skynamo timeline to recall the invoice number – because our courier system is set up so that the waybill number is actually the invoice number. And then it’s easy for the sales team to call the courier or go on their online portal and track the delivery,” he says.

“The sales team can see stock on hand status, and so can product managers. They can see all the orders that they’ve done for the day, week or month, and so can management. We can see all the invoices the invoicing team have completed for the day, and the sales team can see their individual invoices completed for the day, week or month. Everyone has the same information. There’s very little ‘broken down telephone’ going on.”

Robbie says this has helped them to drive sales more as the sales team can see exactly how much stock is left of all items and with low quantity items it becomes ‘fastest fingers first’. “This has motivated the sales team to be a little more detailed in their ordering, which in turn has become a healthy motivational cycle for the sales team,” he says.

They’re also using Skynamo’s forms as a feedback mechanism about the situation in stores. “It’s almost impossible for a product manager to get to every single customer, so we need to rely on feedback mechanisms to give us the information that we need,” he says.

“The sales team uses Skynamo forms for instore product photos, of displays and merchandising, and then load comments for each form. As soon as a form has been completed and sent, our product managers receive the same information.”