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Thứ Bảy, 14 tháng 12, 2013

SAP launches supply chain product Ganges in India - Times of India

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BANGALORE: Millions of kirana stores, thousands of distributors, poor roads and logistics services combine to bring enormous inefficiencies into the supply chain of FMCG companies operating in India. Technology is trying to address this issue now.

And it is probably a reflection of the urgency of the problem and the new capabilities that have emerged with cloud, analytics and mobile technologies that two solutions were introduced in the same week.

On Monday, Infosys introduced a cloud and mobile-based platform that addresses supply chain issues and about which TOI reported previously.

On Thursday, global enterprise solutions major SAP launched a solution with a similar objective. This solution, built by its R&D team in Bangalore and christened Ganges, too uses the cloud platform and is designed to enable FMCG companies to obtain greater visibility into their sales network - who is selling how much of what, etc - and enable better forecasting.

It enables distributors to take orders , track inventory at retail stores and receive payments digitally. It enables banks to assess credit eligibility of retailers. And it enables retailers to connect to their business network.

"The Ganges connects different elements in one flow. It also purifies, in other words, makes things transparent. That perfectly fits what we are trying to do with this solution, hence the name," said SAP's chief technology officer Vishal Sikka, who was in Bangalore for the launch.

Part of SAP's solution is also a set of new low-cost point-of-sale (POS) machines, with 3G connections , developed in association with manufacturers of such machines. The company says the POS machines are available at prices as low as $100; much lower than the $600 to $1,000 currently available.

Each time the retailer keys in information about items sold, the data goes to a SAP cloud centre running on its Hana (in-memory , big data computing) platform, which captures and analyzes all data. The FMCG company and its distributors can subscribe to these insights by paying a certain amount per month. They can get to know what products are moving and where, they can understand which advertisements are working, where.

FMCG companies can send out promotions (discounts) to retailers through this system, and can even target these promotions at a small subset of retailers.

At the other end, the kirana store can quickly understand at the end of the day what its collections have been, what it has sold, and send messages for replenishments.

Asked about competing products from the likes of Infosys, Sikka said the market was huge enough for multiple players.

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