In July 2019, AH asked us whether we could assist with putting in-store promotional materials in place for various brands on a weekly basis. They were looking for a new partner to handle the merchandising.
This was a fantastic challenge for Hamilton Bright Merchandising. A team of 30 Merchandisers has since been assembled. They visit around 800 stores for an average of 10 different clients each week.
We first assembled an internal team of three employees, who are responsible for the scheduling, the performance of the field staff, and for the progress of the activities. A field service team of experienced Merchandisers was subsequently assembled. They visit 800 Albert Heijn stores every Monday and Tuesday. They place promotional materials for different clients each day.
The Merchandisers’ work is scheduled using our route optimisation system. This system determines the most efficient route based on the addresses entered. This means our employees spend as little time as possible on the road, and as much time as possible on the store floor.
We also initiated a partnership with our colleagues from Logistics. They receive all the promotional materials from the suppliers, and package and divide these among the scheduled Merchandisers. The benefit of this is that we can do everything in house. At first, it was quite a challenge to package the promotional materials as efficiently as possible, to minimise the searching that the Merchandisers had to do. For example, one store may only require shelf materials for 3 suppliers, while 4 are planned for another. We solved this by packaging all promotional materials per working day, per store, per Merchandiser. This means each Merchandiser has exactly the right materials for his/her store visits each day.
Finally, the Merchandiser places the materials in the store in accordance with a prearranged layout. He or she reports his or her work after each store visit using our real-time online reporting system. This allows the Project Managers in the office to assess the submitted reports at any time, which guarantees high quality.
Thanks to the close partnership between the field service and back office teams, our visits are both efficient and effective. We are able to carry out 800 store visits each week. In addition, the contact on the store floor leads to a higher placing percentage. Finally, via the dashboard for our real-time and online reporting system, Albert Heijn can check that all work has been completed as agreed for each store.