Sunday, June 2, 2013

The South Times

We were not given our final locations till our arrival in the regions. The HO decided which trainee will go to which region. The BM/BSM (Branch Manager/Branch Sales Manager) decided on our final locations.

A and I landed at around 8.30/9 am. There was a cab waiting for us. The South HR Manager asked us to check into the hotel... freshen up... have lunch and then come to office. We were relieved. We were prepared to go directly to office and this was quite a relief.

We were booked into a very good hotel. Generally, people stayed at the guesthouse but since the ASM (Area Sales Manager) were in office it was full. In the afternoon, we reported to the regional office which is located very close to the airport. We met the other ASMs during lunch- Hash and Sash. I remember both of them very clearly. Hash was from my college and this was his 2nd job. He was handling Chennai metro. Sash told me a funny story much later... when training was over and I was his colleague. He was sent a summer trainee. The ST (summer trainee) was supposed to call the BSM every night and brief him about his day. On one of the days, the BSM asked Sash to call him and take the daily report. So, Sash called him... and the ST started on his learning ... Hash put the phone near his bed... went to the loo... washed his face... changed his clothes... picked up his phone and said; "Good... good work. Keep it up!!!" and hung up.

A and I were given a manual on all the terms used in the company.... the margins... calculation. This is the most important thing to know in any organization. We spent the day writing everything down.
The plan was that we would be in Bangalore for a few days... then I would go to Chennai and then to Trichy. While A would be at coastal Karntaka... we would be informed about our next stint after that.

BM: Well, we wanted to send you to Madurai but then took some pity and decided on Trichy

The next day I went to Bangalore market with the BDE. I don't remember him very well. He spent most of his time on the phone 'coz he was handling 2 territories. There was an area vacant and he was responsible until a new DSE joined. I reached the distributor point at 9 am. The distributor was an old lady... The only other woman distributor was in Mumbai. The office/godown was on the 1st floor. The delivery guys would pick up the cartons with jars of confectionery and throw them out of the window. The cartons and jars were strong enough and did not even get cracks.
In confectionery, the most important thing are details... and distribution. Even you don't have a strategy to grow your territory but plug all the inefficiencies it will be enough.
The 1st aspect was loading of the van. You need to have stocks to last through the day. This is difficult since there are so many brands and SKUs. A DSE (distribution and sales executive) has to check the sales on the same beat the previous week and ensure atleast those stocks are loaded. If run out, it a loss of sales.. you cannot come back to pick up more stocks.
I spent 2-3 days doing 60 calls per day. It was very, very tiring. On my b'day I was hoping the DSE would take a hint and let me leave early. No such chance... I completed my 60 calls... went to the hotel and dropped dead. I was so tired and a little feverish... a lot of calls went unanswered.

Lesson learned- Always take the day off on your b'day. I generally am on leave on my b'day. Why not? It is an important day and deserves its due.

Next post- Leaving for Chennai