WITH labour cost on the rise, there is a growing need for a more efficient management solution for field services.
This, notes mobileOne Technology Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Benny Toh, can be achieved through the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into its mForce suite of products to further enhance efficiencies.
Essentially, mForce is a cloud-based mobile app that manages field staff comprising merchandisers, promoters and agents working out of base. The app is GPS-location tracking enabled, allowing field staff to clock in and out and send real time reports via the app.
Toh says the two AI aspects to be integrated into its products are image recognition and route optimisation.
“When you take photos of a shelf stocked with products, our system will be able to recognise the products accurately and instantaneously. The sales personnel will not have to manually key in the products that are distributed in that outlet or location, saving time.
“As for route optimisation, the AI engine will be able to plan a field staff’s outlet visit schedule automatically, taking into account travel time, sales volume generated and average time spent at each outlet, ” he explains.
MobileOne Technology has expanded its offerings over the years. The company was only providing field services management solutions catered to the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment when it first started out in 2014.
But with Toh’s 18 years of experience in the FMCG industry, mobileOne Technology is no longer just an IT house. Today, it also provides consultation for its clients.
“It is important to have a good understanding of the industry that our clients operate in, in order to make a good product. We are able to understand our clients’ pain points and work with them to address the issues that they face, ” he says.
The company also caters its field services management solutions for clients in the pharmaceutical and building materials, and small and medium enterprise (SME) industries.
MobileOne Technology has also expanded its geographical reach, with aims to be a leader in field management solutions across the Asean region. It has ventured into most Asean countries, except Myanmar and Vietnam.
Its presence in the Asean region is established via local reseller partnerships, save for the Philippines, where mobileOne Technology owns a 20% stake in the local entity.
Toh says the company will also be developing a digital-based consumer loyalty programme, which will be launched next year. The new programme will enable consumers to participate in contests and accumulate loyalty points by taking a photo of their receipts.
“We are trying to set up an ecosystem where multiple principal brands can share the loyalty programme platform.
“Consumers will be able to accumulate loyalty points at a faster rate and redeem more valuable gifts such as movie tickets, instead of corporate gifts like mugs and towels, ” he says.
At the moment, about 55% of mobileOne Technology’s customer base are direct companies while 45% are agencies. Some of its clients include Unilever, Heineken, Abbott, Wyeth and Pacific Food Indonesia.
Agencies are third party field staff recruiters or marketing agencies outsourced by companies.
Toh is targeting to grow its proportion of direct clients to 80% of mobileOne Technology’s customer base by 2020.
“We have better control in maintaining our direct company clients as compared to agencies.
“Besides that, there are many multinational corporations who are looking at field management solutions as a regional initiative. Right now, we are working on growing our brand awareness to reach out to these regional decision makers, ” he explains.
In terms of revenue, direct companies contribute to higher sales compared to agencies as the latter requires mobileOne Technology to pay a partner commission.
However, Toh notes that direct companies incur higher support cost as there is additional training required. Agencies, on the other hand, maintain the same pool of employees who are familiar with the app.
Over the next three to five years, Toh intends to focus on growing mobileOne Technology’s presence in Asean and on improving its products.
As for a potential listing on the LEAP market, Toh says it is still too soon for mobileOne Technology, given its relatively small profit.
The company, however, has fundraising plans next year to fund further growth and development plans for its overseas markets.