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Putting The Price War to Rest

Putting The Price War to Rest

How Indian company Sheela Foam rebuilt its brand with IT

For a Good Night

The dealers are happy and Sheela Foam is pleased. But the IT team is more than glad. Mankotia says, "Discounting is the biggest problem in the consumer durable industry in India. No one has gone to this extent to control MOP. We have controlled sales through unauthorized dealers, stopped infiltration, controlled selling to non-dealers, controlled inter-dealer competition by giving heavy discounts, and also built a strong customer database for the future."

Mankotia is also pleased to point out that "guarantee registration through SMS is an unique and innovative method that no one as per our knowledge has ever done in the country." Mankotia takes pride in the fact that the company has got a competitive edge in the market, as they are able to track stocks and can replenish them within a shorter timeframe.

But ultimately, all IT projects need to reflect on the bottom-line. Mankotia says that the sales of Sleepwell mattresses have shown a growth of approximately 40 per cent during the financial year. While the full credit for this cannot be taken by the IT team, "The project has made a significant contribution towards this growth," he says.

Anupam Srivastava, the head of sales, is thrilled by the impact that the SMS system has had on the customer. "We are able to win the confidence of customers in our product because, immediately after the purchase of a Sleepwell product, the guarantee is registered through SMS," he says.

A Bed Time Story

The system has been in operation for over a year now, and Mankotia says that Sheela Foam has not made any major changes in the application. "But our major concern is connectivity uptime. Initially, distributors were operating through the Internet, and many times connectivity was a constraint. However, the problem has been resolved. We have now brought them into our MPLS network," points out Mankotia.

In 2008, Mankotia has some ambitious plans for his project. Right now, Sheela Foam has extended Greatplus partially to its distributors. "As a step forward, we are in the process of launching our Greatplus Distributor's Lounge to almost all our distributors. This will record all their business transactions and provide all our distributors a business advantage that is similar to what is enjoyed by us today," he says.

Using this system, Sheela Foam hopes to reach out to all its dealers and allow them to place orders online with distributors. "These will get translated into distributor orders and will appear as outstanding orders in our books," says Mankotia, who goes on to add that, "dealers will be able to know their online order position and they will be able to track materials movement and get more market insight."

Another advantage of the improvements being made, says Mankotia, is that, with the information on materials movement, Sheela Foam will also be in a position to efficiently monitor the delivery of goods from the distributors to the dealers.

"In short, with the Greatplus Distributor's Lounge, we are creating a totally synchronized environment, right from the order placement by our dealers all the way up to the sale of the product to the end customer," says Mankotia. The Greatplus Distributor's Lounge will become operational from April, 2008.

Look who's getting a good night's sleep at Sheela Foam.

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