GeoSmart Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Whose territory does a new prospect belong to?

Does this sound familiar to you? We talk to companies all the time who have problems with who to allocate a new customer or prospect to when they ring the sales or franchise company or call centre. Sales territories have always been a bit of a problem to deal with, but this will no longer be a problem for people who use GeoSmart’s new BIonaMAP business intelligence SaaS (Software as a Service) application.

Old school BAU (Business As Usual) is still the way most sales and service companies work. They pin a map on the wall, draw the territory on it with a sharpie pen and write the name on the map. There are always arguments over whether a territory includes both sides of the road, where the suburb boundaries are and don’t even start about what happens when you want to modify a territory.

Queen Street

If the call centre or people taking the calls don’t have access to the map when new customers ring, there can be major time wasting and potential for problems ensuring that the right person is dealing with the client quickly and professionally in order to secure new business. There are also issues over making sure the address is correct. There are a dozen Queen Streets in Auckland and we have heard plenty of stories about people driving up and down a road in the wrong suburb looking for a client they are meant to be meeting with. Then there are vanity suburbs like the person on Remuera Road who say they are in Remuera, but they are actually in Newmarket and knowing which numbers of the street belong in which territory. It is a problem that has been around for years.

This problem goes away with BIonaMAP and there are a number of ways that we can deal with it. Some companies are simply going to use a query on the BIonaMAP home page which effectively allows you to start entering the address, with an autocompleter allowing you to select from a drop down menu to get the right one. Some companies are going to integrate this function right into their accounting software, CRM or other business database application, which means that the full correct address with Post Code and correct suburb as well as the coordinates are recorded into the right fields.

What makes this different? Database applications on their own can deal with suburbs or post codes, but typically can not deal with spatial queries, i.e. in what territory or polygon does this belong to? The answer effectively will be one of the following:

  • It belongs in Territory X.
  • It appears in Territory X and overlapping Territory Y (e.g. a sales and a service territory)
  • It doesn’t appear in any territory

If this is an issue that you have to grapple with in your business, why not contact us and ask us how BIonaMAP can help you?

BIonaMAP is available for New Zealand and Australia and has a host of location based business analytics capability. It is Software as a Service which means no software installation and it can be accessed by using a web browser. We also welcome inquiries from sales, service, franchise and other business consultants, resellers and systems integrators.

Advertisements

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, Distribution, geosmart, GIS, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, SaaS, Sales, sales territory, systems integrator, territory management, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smartphone Shoppers and Mobile Apps

There was an interesting article in the NZ Herald by Gill South and David Thomas this morning entitled ‘Get The Answers: Businesses can get on board with smartphone shoppers‘. It referenced the annual Mobile Life Study and quotes that this year 33% of Kiwis own smartphones, up from 24% last year, which is a massive increase in the region of 50%, but this year I think the growth will be much higher again.

The article talked about Location Based Services and mCommerce, both topics we frequently discuss and get involved with. It said that New Zealand already use advanced LBS services well ahead of most consumers around the world. This begs the question, what are you doing about it?

If you are in business in New Zealand (or Australia) I recommend you have a look through some of our blogs here about topics such as Proximity Based Marketing, Business intelligence and social networking as a starter, and then contact us. We have a wealth of experience in this area,all the underlying data you need and lots of business partners that can help you. We live and breath location, its who we are. We are local, in your time zone and have the best and most comprehensive data including maps, Points of Interest, routing, real time traffic and of course the important BIonaMAP which is now available and able to assist you in better understanding who your market is and where they live and play.

Location is the next big wave and we have invested in understanding it thoroughly.

 

April 29, 2012 Posted by | Australia, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, geosmart, lbs, location based services, proximity based marketing, social networking | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ageing of the workforce in freight and distribution

Baby boomers are a major part of our workforce today and play a very important part in the freight and distribution industry. I’m told that the average age of a truck driver in New Zealand today is 49. This presents positives and negatives.

The maturity and experience of these drivers makes them very valuable. They know the road, they know their vehicles and routes and get the job done. They are largely professional drivers, many of whom own their own vehicles. Many were able to do that by borrowing against their homes and the average freight company as we have discussed in previous blogs is 0-5 trucks.These operators tend to be very good at their job, but not well versed when it comes to technology. Applications to help them improve efficiencies in their work need to be very user friendly. That is something that GeoSmart puts a lot of energy to.

The flip side is that not a lot of people are rushing to become truck drivers. Many companies don’t really want them until they reach around 24-25 and have burnt out the lead foot testosterone which could be a disaster in a big half a million dollar rig. By that time, a lot of the working stock that might have gone into truck driving have chosen other career paths, or have moved to other shores such as the mines in Australia where they can earn 3 times what they can get paid in New Zealand. We can hope that they will come back to New Zealand with those savings and experience and use them to invest in their driving career back here. These people are of course extremely tech savvy and will expect to have access to applications and services such as Real Time Traffic, Route Optimisation, Car Navigation, Fleet Management and Business Intelligence.

Car navigation with real time traffic

Keeping these ageing drivers healthy and productive is a sustainability policy in itself. Providing them with tools starting with car navigation with real time traffic is a good start. It’s easy to use and whist these people may know the roads like the backs of their hands, they don’t know that there is an accident or traffic congestion that is going to stop them from getting where they are going. They also don’t necessarily know alternate routes they could be using or what the traffic conditions are there. It could be driving out of the frying pan into the fire. A device that tells them there is a 35 minute delay on their current route, but an alternate route will only have a 10 minute delay could be gold for these people. If you are looking at one of these, make sure it provides coverage for the are they are driving in and has the very latest map data as there have been many changes in New Zealand roads over the last year. GeoSmart produces new map updates every 3 months.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | AA Traffic, Auckland, Business Tools, car navigation, Distribution, driving, Freight, geosmart, new zealand, new zealand maps, Oil Price, real time traffic, route optimisation, Route2GO, territory management, tomtom, Traffic, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sustainability Generates Profit in the Transport Industry in New Zealand

This month I had the pleasure of presenting to the New Zealand Freight Summit at Auckland University to a diverse group of people from all facets of the transport industry. There were a number of common threads and one of them was sustainability. This is a word that is bandied around a lot, together with concepts like carbon emission trading and taxes, but I wonder how seriously a lot of companies are taking it.

One motivator is compliance. Government departments and many corporates today have KPI’s which require that they do business with companies who have sustainability policies and practices. We have responded to a number of tenders recently which have asked us to specify what sustainability practices we have put in place.

I have read many articles that say that companies which have sustainability practices are more profitable than those that don’t. Obviously the above is one good reason, effectively there are contracts they won’t win simply based on the policy.

There are of course other good reasons that also hit the bottom line. The most obvious one is the rising price of oil. If you use tools such as Route Optimisation and Business Intelligence, you can potentially do more work whilst driving shorter times and distance. That means reduced running costs, reduced maintenance costs, saved time which potentially means being able to do more work in the same amount of time and bottom line increase in profit. Whether your fleet is one vehicle or hundreds, there are savings to be made and they are easy to achieve.

Wellington Traffic 28 February 2012 1:15PM

I really enjoyed showing people AA Traffic by GeoSmart. Many of the delegates were not aware that we have real time traffic congestion information covering virtually all arterial roads and highways throughout New Zealand and Australia. There will be some announcements about this in the very near future. If you are a transport operator, how would you like to be able to see exactly where the congestion is in real time and on the same map, see your vehicle fleet?

Does traffic congestion cost your company by not letting your vehicles get where they want to be on time? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a birds eye of what was going on in real time 24/7? What would that mean to your business? We can help you with that.

Utilising technologies like this can help your company to focus on reducing overheads when the economy is tight and allows you to tell the market that you have sustainability practices, not just policies. Of course in doing so, you are actually taking practical steps to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and doing something good for your country and the planet.

Want to know more about how you can use these technologies in your business? We’d love to talk with you. Contact us today.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Australia Maps, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, carbon footprint, Delivery, Distribution, driving, Freight, geosmart, new zealand maps, Oil Price, petrol, real time traffic, route optimisation, territory management, Traffic, university | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rocky Year Ahead for Tourism? 10 Ideas

This morning I noted a story in the NZ Herald by Owen Hembry saying that although tourist numbers to New Zealand were up 2.5% at 2.6 million people, the average spend from them was less. It’s a comprehensive story and I recommend clicking on the link above as it is of vital importance to the New Zealand tourist industry. It also reflects international conditions given that many markets are suffering severe economic conditions.

There are many positives to this though and the important thing is to focus on how to maximise the opportunity for our industry. The fact is that more people did come to NZ last year and they did spend $5.6 Billion here including airfares. Not to be sneezed at!

The consideration then is whether you are in the accomodation, attraction, hospitality or any other industry looking for tourism income, what are you going to do to get your share of the money. How are you going to get that extra table turn, higher occupancy rates, more throughput of your services. How are you going to increase the average spend at your property? What are you going to do differently?

We would like to help you with that from a location based services perspective an together with our partners there are many things we can do to help. You will find lots of ideas if you read through some of our past blogs, or you can come and talk to us about your unique business and needs. There are many things we can help with, location based mobile applications and games, cartography, Business Analytics (don’t forget domestic tourists and business travelers who are mostly FIT by nature) and that all business people are also consumers.

There are loads of ideas that you will find in our blogs past and future. If you scroll through the blog home page or search the categories you will find many more ideas. Here are 10 blogs which might give you some ideas. We understand your business and please don’t hesitate to talk to us about your specific environment.

We are a wholly New Zealand owned company offering these services for New Zealand AND Australia. We understand the local markets and care about them because our success comes from yours :

  1. Loyalty Cards and Gamification
  2. Socialisation Game Mechanics of Loyalty Cards
  3. GPS Car Navigation for Rugby Tourists
  4. Location and Shopping
  5. Consumers are checking in to retail stores
  6. Retailers are not flocking into LBS
  7. How to get listed on NZ Car Nav systems
  8. Franchise Territory Mapping
  9. Lost In a Box a successful location based marketing campaign
  10. What Tools do you need to build a location application?

January 22, 2012 Posted by | Business Intelligence, Business Tools, car navigation, cartography, location based services, Marketing, new zealand, Rugby World Cup, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Petrol Will Keep Going Up in Cost

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that petrol and diesel could well hit the highest prices ever this year. This is likely to have a significant impact in New Zealand and Australia where we rely on other countries to provide our fuel. Irrespective of the state of our economies, we are relatively low in the rungs of priority if supplies become short worldwide. Obviously oil demand is increasing globally, irrespective of international politics and our exchange rates. The following graph shows the trend just over the last 3 months.

The implications are obvious. If you have a fleet of vehicles on the road, your running costs are going to increase and you have very little control over what you are going to pay for fuel.

Using technologies such as Fleet Management from our partners, you will have the ability to manage some costs. This includes:

  • Monitoring driver behaviour such as harsh acceleration, speeding and other activities such as engine idling time where reports can identify drivers who may benefit from education on the impact of these activities to your costs.
  • Monitoring the use of the vehicles, eg personal use or order of use.

You might look at operational improvements such as whether it is more economical for the driver to start from home, closer to their first jobs in the morning as opposed to leaving the vehicle at the depot. You might want to focus more on load management, are you sending trucks out with a load but bringing them back empty? You might want to look at whether there are other jobs in the vicinity of the vehicle that could be completed without the vehicle coming back to base and going out again.

GeoSmart has a number of tools that can help you with these considerations. For example Route Optimisation with Route2GO can help you eliminate the guesswork of what order jobs should be done in. If someone is going out and doing one or 2 stops and going back, that’s one thing, but if a vehicle is making several stops on a trip, it is unlikely that many people have the ability to work out the best order to do the jobs in.

Route optimisation takes into consideration every possible sequence of all the stops on your trip, with an underlying knowledge of turn restrictions (one way streets, no left turns), road class (speed zones, a shortest route might include many compulsory stops trying to cross busy main roads and driving slightly farther might not only speed up the trip but by not stopping and starting through the gears, will consume less fuel) and other considerations. The computer has no emotions, it just solves a technical problem and provides you with a result that will tell you the best order in which to do the work, complete with expected driving distance and time. This can produce a run or job sheet that can also give you an idea, based of your knowledge of expected time on site, as to how many jobs may be completed in one day.

Business Intelligence is a whole new story. Imagine being able to see all your clients on a map, run queries and reports based on any information you have in your database or work management application. How would you like to be able to manage run territories, understand profitable clients, see where upcoming jobs and priorities are, without having to install any software? All you need is a web browser and an internet connection. A picture speaks a thousand words and being able to visualise your business on a map can shed a light on what is going on in your business in a way that is often very difficult to get from spreadsheets and tables. GeoSmart’s new BIonaMAP Business Intelligence on a Map can help you put the pieces together and show you what your business looks like.

We can help you keep your fuel costs under control with practical web based tools that will provide you with the information you need by visualising and viewing your business operations on a map. Information is power.

These solutions support all of Australia and New Zealand so if that is where you are, why not contact us to find out how we can help?

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Australia, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Delivery, Distribution, Fleet Management, Freight, geosmart, new zealand, Oil Price, petrol, route optimisation, territory management, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adding Location To Loyalty Card Apps

There are obviously lots of different kinds of loyalty cards. I have somewhere between 10 and 20 cards ranging from Coffee Cards through to Airline Frequent Flyer Cards. I have so many I can’t carry them all in my wallet, which is unfortunate when I find myself in a position to use one. I do carry a Smartphone, so there are opportunities to carry apps. Many retail companies in New Zealand now have apps, mostly on iPhone and Android. They range from cafe’s and fast food companies to tourism and banks. Features include the ability to order food from a specific store, the ability to view the store on the map, make reservations and view points.

A lot of companies have had back on using Smartphone applications for loyalty programs on the basis that there are not enough people using them. At the last Social Media Club Auckland event one of the panel questions was what is the penetration of Smartphones in New Zealand. No one had an answer as the telco’s generally don’t want to share this competitive information. However in this month’s IT Brief there was a quote from Tony Baird of Vodafone saying that 66% of their mobile users now have Smartphones. That’s pretty high penetration and growing rapidly as is their data traffic which grew from 60TB in June last year to 135 TB in June this year. It would be reasonable to expect at least Telecom to be showing similar penetration.

So, in my last post I talked about a number of aspects of getting to know your customers. Given the statistics in the poll on my previous blog almost 70% of loyalty card holders do not specifically head to shop at a store where they have a loyalty card. In effect this says that the loyalty card in most cases is not attracting people to do business, or effectively be loyal to the retailer or group who invest a lot of time and money into the card systems in manufacture, distribution and all the other aspects of running a loyalty program.

What is missing? I believe that one aspect is not really understanding the customer. Let’s start simple. How do you get a loyalty card? Obviously it varies. Some cards like a coffee card are as simple as the retailer offering the card to a customer when they are in the store buying a coffee, the retailer invites them to start using a card, typically offering your 11th cup free. At the other end of the scale there are forms to fill out, which confidentially provides the company with significant information about the person. This may include:

  • Home address
  • Home and Mobile Phone numbers
  • Age
  • Household income
  • Interests
  • Family details e.g. single, married, children under or over a certain age
  • Occupation
  • Email address

In theory this enables the loyalty program to target information to the member and under strict Direct Marketing opt in guidelines, make offers to the members, which typically comes in the form of eDM’s and Direct Mail. The latter is a very expensive form of marketing as is normal advertising such as print, radio and TVC’s. For many industries and products this is tough business. How often do you buy a lawn mower, a TV or an iPhone? The marketing only works when you are open to buy. I recently purchased a new lawn mower, but it was the first one in over 10 years. If I had kept every lawn mower advertisement that arrived in my letter box trying to sell me one and looked at the creative, print and distribution costs, it might have been cheaper for them to give me a lawnmower. Of course all of this advertising is focussed on products that everyone is selling, there is very little focus on products that are unique. Everyone has a promotion on a printer, a TV, an iPhone which forces everyone to focus on price, heavy discounts and the consumer wins if they are looking for that product. Profits up the value chain are massively eroded through the competitive pricing and costs of marketing.

Data Mining and Business Intelligence are already used by some companies and very soon GeoSmart will be launching the much anticipated BIonaMAP we have discussed in many blogs in the past. This will allow companies to better understand their customers on the basis of the data provided, including the ability to view their customers and query their information in relation to the Department of Statistics mesh blocks and area units.

Canberra Income $100,000+

In this example we looked for   where the average household income in Canberra (yes we do Australia too) is equal to or greater than $100,000. If we were looking for loyalty members who had higher than average discretionary spending capability, this could be a very useful tool for target marketing. We could potentially make special offers by overlaying our loyalty card members in this SaaS (Software as a Service) application and then querying them from a combination of the information we have about them and the information the statistics department has about people in the area.

In the coming blogs I will get into more detail about what the implications are from the perspective of location, but like anything you need to start at the beginning and in many cases as I have outlined,  scatter gun marketing, throwing leaflets into letter boxes does not effectively target people who might change their behaviour in favour of your product or brand.

The key to loyalty is a relationship and this comes from engagement. You don’t engage well by putting something in someone’s letterbox. You engage by understanding who they are, what their needs are, when they are out and about and open to buy. As a retailer with a loyalty program you have huge amounts of information about your clients at your fingertips, which is untouched.

Here’s a simple example to finish this blog. Paper Plus not only supports Fly Buys, but they also have their own card called My Big Deal. They run promotions for people who use that card. Right now they have a sale on certain children’s books. If you buy the books using your loyalty card and they store that information, they now know (if they didn’t ask in their registration form) that you either have children or have a relationship with children, perhaps as a grandparent. So they know you buy children’s books. This is valuable information that you could take advantage of in your proximity based marketing application.

More on the location based aspect for apps is coming up, now that we have covered some basics. If this is of interest, please bookmark or subscribe. If you know of someone else who might be interested, why not send them a link? If you would like to discuss these concepts with us about your own business, please contact us.

September 20, 2011 Posted by | Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, Distribution, geosmart, GIS, iphone, location based services, Loyalty Card, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, Print Advertising, proximity based marketing, Radio Advertising, Retail, Retail Profit, SaaS, territory management | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Analysing Car Sales Using Web Map Part 2

Last week I blogged about analysing your car sales (picking an industry at random) from a dealership on a map. I looked at comparing sales between reps by looking at where the clients lived on a map.

The concept is that we have a rich amount of data about our customers, especially when it is large ticket items and their are warranty and other ongoing commitments, not to mention the desire for repeat business. I used examples such as gender, personal or business use, age group, whether there was a trade in and so on. There is of course a lot more information available and there are also of course KPI’s. Please note that in order to do the things I’m talking about, you do not need expensive GIS software or specialist engineers. You already have the people you need, although in some cases an external consultant may help you see things from a fresh perspective.

Selling high ticket items like cars, real estate, quality furniture and furnishings is a tough business, especially in New Zealand and Australia. It’s competitive and the industries also have high staff turnover meaning that personal relationships are likely to be lost. This means that business intelligence and the ability to data mine becomes a lot more important. But at the risk of playing a broken record, finding useful information from your CRM or accounting software other than basic information is difficult. Now most companies in these industries have done business a certain way for many years and often the sales people go from one company to the next, staying in the industry and reinforce the concepts that this is the way the industry does it and we know the industry.

Our focus takes a different tack. These industries have leaders who swim against the current and use whatever technology or new ideas they can find. Are the over achievers or sales champions working harder? I would argue that most of them are working smarter rather than harder. The difference is that they look for ways to work smarter, whereas the other 95% plus use what they are given. The fact that you are reading this blog puts you in the top 10%. I’ve been told that in the industries I’m writing about here, the Pareto Principle is actually way out. They say that the best business is actually done by less than 5% of the sales people.

So what can you do as a company to improve your odds? How about trying something different? Let us help you find the low hanging fruit that has been eluding you. Lets use some business intelligence and move on. Now ideally what I am talking about would start at Head Office with the Sales Manager, Marketing Manager, Financial Controller or perhaps all of the above. Who is motivated to increase your profitability and productivity? How can you make it easy for your branches or dealerships to improve their performance?

In the last blog we talked about measuring performance at the dealership level, by the dealership. I’ve been in those offices and seen sales people going through the accounting system looking for people or companies whose leases are about to expire, or who last made a purchase 3-5 years ago and making prospecting phone calls. I’ve seen them cold calling using Yellow Pages or other directories. I’ve attended some of the sales meetings as a guest and seen the white board which shows the branch budget by model, the sales to date for the month and the stressed looks on the faces of all involved whose income and livelihood depend on achieving those targets. It’s very seat of the pants and very reactive.

Imagine if at head office, you could provide the dealerships with business intelligence that increased branch sales nationally. If you could give them information that allowed them to increase productivity and profitability and at the same time increase your brand market share. Wouldn’t it be nice to achieve the KPI’s you or the manufacturers are setting? Selling the cars (or whatever your product is) that have the higher margins, or perhaps more accessories which carry that extra margin.

How? I’m sorry but I’m going to tease you here. Have a look through the previous blogs here because a lot of the information I have to share works across multiple industries. Bookmark this page because I am going to write Part 3 of Analysing Car Sales Using Web Map some time in the next few days and give you some specific examples. Where are your potential low hanging fruit? Do you want to pick them? Jump on the school bus and drive through the opposition.

Drive through the opposition

Of course you can also contact us and discuss how we can help you or ask for a demonstration. You can also email me directly. We would also like to hear from business and franchise consultants looking to add tools to their toolbox.

Also please feel free to leave a comment or ask any questions here on the blog, we welcome your feedback.

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Auckland, Australia, Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Car Sales, competition, Data Mining, Distribution, geosmart, GIS, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, Real Estate, ROI, SaaS, sales territory, software, territory management, Uncategorized, Web Map, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We are presenting on Location and Collaboration at Auckland ICT 25 November, come join us

Luigi Cappel  from GeoSmart will be presenting a paper on ‘A case study on building business through cooperation – even among fierce rivals’ at 5PM on Friday 25 November at Massey University. This is an Auckland ICT Cluster event which is open to all comers. You can find details here.

The ICT world is changing rapidly. From or perspective of course Location Based Services is the key. Everything these days is about location. Our mobiles know where we are as do many other devices. Location impacts every aspect of our business and personal lives. It impacts on our activities, our associations, social networking, marketing, business intelligence and this opens so many opportunities for New Zealand businesses.

Collaboration is the key focus of our presentation and the goal of the presentation is to facilitate activity amongst the attendees through breakout groups with a view to making some new business opportunities happen. So many of us have pieces of the puzzle and when we combine them we can create new products, solutions and business opportunities.

The presentation will discuss new business models of collaboration and coopetition and include case studies where GeoSmart has successfully partnered with companies in NZ and overseas to mutual benefit.

Attendees are encouraged to think about their capabilities and interests before the evening and add to a seek and offer sheet so they can have an idea before the event who will be attending and where potential collaboration opportunities are, so they can make the most of the ‘collaboration speed dating’ component and generate some positive outcomes after the meeting.

This is an interesting and exciting opportunity to network and participate and perhaps turn some great ideas into reality. I hope to see you there.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Auckland, education, geosmart, GIS, lbs, location based services, Mapping Applications, Marketing, Meetups, new zealand, proximity based marketing, social networking, software, systems integrator, Uncategorized, universityschool | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment