A few months ago, CONAPROLE, the innovative Uruguayan cooperative that has been using GeneXus technology for more than 10 years, requested Hexa to help them migrate their pocket PC solution to an offline application running on tablets for sales representatives working at large retailers. Thus, CONAPROLE and Hexa became beta testers of our latest version of GeneXus and created the "AFV Mobile Application" (Sales force Application) to be used in large retailers.
The need to use offline applications for sales activities
“In addition to loading data from store shelves, salespeople at large supermarkets usually perform some of their tasks from underground storage rooms, which tend to have low connectivity. Therefore, a solution with offline features makes it possible to save time and simplifies managing and placing purchase orders (which in the past were made in paper worksheets that were later handed in to data entry staff). What’s more, error margins are reduced due to the fact that purchase orders can be made directly by connecting to the Internet and automatically updating data”, explains Daniel Osimani, consultant and project leader at Hexa. Since 1994, GeneXus has provided him with critical technology to focus on business solutions thanks to its speed and flexibility for software maintenance and development.
When visiting a large retailer (such as large stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, etc.), sales representatives carry a smart device –in this case, a 7-inch tablet that is adequate for the task by providing a screen size that can be easily navigated with one hand and is big enough to view the products. The application displays a menu with the list of products, in the sequence order in which they are arranged on the supermarket cold section or storeroom, and allows entering the product quantities to be purchased. As data is entered, it is stored offline with no need for an Internet connection. When Internet access is available, the app connects to the main server and data is automatically sent to the SAP system through a web service. The screen color changes to notify that data has been synchronized with the main system. “The purchase order is confirmed with a notification email automatically sent to the purchaser. In addition, the application enables sales representatives to update information such as customer or product lists -which consists of approximately 330 types of different products ranging from ice cream and jam to cheese and yoghurt. The application also communicates with SAP, not only to send purchase orders but also the other way round, by querying customer and product lists”, adds Diego Rostagnol, who developed the app and has ample experience in beta testing GeneXus versions (GX smart challenge winner with his GXbus app).
As stressed by Mr. Osimani, training and technology transfer were an essential part of the project. The main recipient of this training was an engineer of CONAPROLE's IT department, who was able to quickly start working on the app even though he had no previous experience developing solutions for smart devices.
At present, this application is used by 10 sales representatives working with 180 customers that purchase products from a list of 330 products twice a week.
About Hexa: Hexa was founded in 1992 by a group of software engineers, systems analysts and hardware and communications specialists. It provides consulting and software development services to a wide range of firms that produce goods and services, both in the public and private sectors.
Hexa’s founding group of professionals have remained united throughout its development and have participated in countless IT and organizational projects. This, in addition to their vast experience, has enabled them to develop great cohesion as a team.
About CONAPROLE: Cooperativa Nacional de Productores de Leche, better known as CONAPROLE, is a Uruguayan dairy company that was founded in 1936. Since then, it has operated as a cooperative, as indicated by its name. /www.conaprole.com.uy