Distribution Mapping System of Airtel Bangladesh Limited

Airtel Bangladesh Ltd. is a GSM-based cellular operator in Bangladesh. Bharti airtel started its telecom services business by launching mobile services in Delhi of India in 1995. From then it has become one of the top telecom companies in the World and it is also in the list of top five wireless operators in the World. In January 2010, Bharti Airtel Limited, Asia’s leading integrated telecom services provider, acquired 70% stake in Warid Telecom, Bangladesh. Since then the journey of airtel in Bangladesh has started. But officially the Activities with the brand “airtel” started on 20th, December, 2011 in Bangladesh Airtel are the sixth mobile phone carrier to enter the Bangladesh market, and originally launched Commercial operations under the brand name “Warid Telecom” on May 10, 2007. The telecommunication industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Bangladesh. It has reached a remarkable 76.43 million subscribers by now. This has brought immense contribution to GDP of the country. Not only did it help the country in its economic growth, but also helped to improve the standard of living of the whole society by providing the mobile phone services. Now this market has become very saturated for which current telecommunication firms, other than non-price competition, is trying to develop new techniques to capture more market share. In the process, one of the strategies developed is developing a system of providing best services and offers to increase market share through strong distribution channel.

These research papers thus focus completely on evaluating the distribution channel and recommend an efficient idea to be improved. As a student of BBA program, I got the opportunity to complete my internship program in such a multinational telecom company. The internship program is the partial requirement of my BBA program and the duration of the internship session was 3 months. I worked in the central sales operation of Airtel Bangladesh where all the planning of increasing performance of distribution channel is taken care of. The report has been prepared in align with my job responsibilities and experiences at Airtel.

Introduction:
Airtel Bangladesh Limited is a GSM-based cellular operator in Bangladesh. Airtel is the sixth mobile phone carrier to enter the Bangladesh market, and originally launched commercial operations under the brand name “Warid Telecom” on May 10, 2007. Warid Telecom International LLC, an Abu Dhabi based consortium, sold a majority 70 stake in the company to India’s Bharti Airtel Limited for US$300 million. Bharti Airtel Limited took management control of the company and its board, and rebranded the company’s services under its own Airtel brand from December 20, 2010. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission approved the deal on Jan 4, 2010.

Bharti Airtel made a fresh investment of USD 300 million to rapidly expand the operations of Warid Telecom and have management and board control of the company. This is the largest investment in Bangladesh by an Indian company. Dhabi Group continues as a strategic partner retaining 30% shareholding and has its nominees on the Board of the Company. The new funding is being utilized for expansion of the network, both for coverage, capacity, and introduction of innovative products and services. As a result of this additional investment, the overall investment in the company will be in the region of USD 1 billion.

Airtel Bangladesh had 6.345 million subscribers as of March 2012.

History:

In December 2005, Warid Telecom International LLC paid US$ 50 million to obtain a GSM license from the BTRC and became the sixth mobile phone operator in Bangladesh. In a press conference on August 17, 2006, Warid announced that its network would be activated two months ahead of schedule, in October, 2006. Again in October, 2006 Warid Telecom put off the launch of its cell phone services in Bangladesh until April, 2007 after its major supplier Nokia walked out on an agreement over a payment dispute. Warid had a soft launch at the end of
January 2007. It gave away complimentary subscriptions among a selected group of individuals, whose job was to make ‘test calls’ and the operator adjusted its network’s quality based on their comments. On June 10, 2008, Warid Telecom expanded its network to 3 more districts Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Rangamati. Now all 64 districts of Bangladesh are under Warid network coverage meaning Warid Telecom now has nationwide coverage. On December 20, 2010, Warid Telecom was rebranded to Airtel. On December 21, 2011, Airtel Bangladesh launched “Airtel Circle of Friends”, the first ever Interactive Commercial in Bangladesh, created and executed by Digimarka. Sunil Bharti Mittal founded the Bharti Group. In 1983, Mittal was in an agreement with Germany’s Siemens to manufacture push-button telephone models for the Indian market. In 1986, Mittal incorporated Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL), and his company became the first in India to offer push-button telephones, establishing the basis of Bharti
Enterprises. By the early 1990s, Sunil Mittal had also launched the country’s first fax machines and its first cordless telephones. In 1992, Mittal won a bid to build a cellular phone network in Delhi.

In 1995, Mittal incorporated the cellular operations as Bharti Tele-Ventures and launched service in Delhi. In 1996, cellular service was extended to Himachal Pradesh. In 1999, Bharti Enterprises acquired control of JT Holdings, and extended cellular operations to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In 2000, Bharti acquired control of Skycell Communications, in Chennai. In  2001, the company acquired control of Spice Cell in Calcutta. Bharti Enterprises went public in 2002, and the company was listed on Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange of India. In 2003, the cellular phone operations were rebranded under the single Airtel brand. In 2004, Bharti acquired control of Hexacom and entered Rajasthan. In 2005, Bharti extended its network to Andaman and Nicobar. This expansion allowed it to offer voice services all across India. In 2009, Airtel launched its first international mobile network in Sri Lanka. Today, Airtel is the largest cellular service provider in India and the fourth largest in the world.

Airtel Bangladesh Ltd. at Glance

  • Type: Private
  • Industry: Telecommunication
  • Founded: December 1, 2010 (Registration date)
  • Headquarters: House 34, Road 19/A, Banani, Dhaka 1213, Bangladesh
  • Key people: Chris Tobit (Chief Executive Officer), Abhay Seth (Chief Sales &
  • Marketing officer), SK Mukhopadhyay (Chief Finance Officer), Rubaba Dowla (Chief
  • Service Officer), Sugato Halder (acting Chief HR officer)
  • Products: Telephony, mobile telephony
  • Total subscriber: 6.538 million (April 2012)
  • Revenue: 117.213 billion (US$2.34 billion) (2010)*
  • Operating income: 21.771 billion (US$434.33 million) (2010)*
  • Net income: 18.282 billion (US$364.73 million) (2010) *
  • Total assets: 856.142 billion (US$17.08 billion) (2010)*
  • Total equity: 502.603 billion (US$10.03 billion) (2010)*
  •  Parent: Bharti Airtel 70% and Warid Telecom 30%
  • Website: http://www.bd.airtel.com

Functions of Airtel Bangladesh:

Total 13 functions combine Airtel Bangladesh Limited workforce. These are:

  • Sales Operation
  • Customer Care
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Network
  • Operational Excellence
  • Human Resources & Administration
  • Information Technology
  • Corporate Affairs
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Legal & Secretarial
  • CEO Office

Responsibilities at Airtel Bangladesh Limited
My journey as an internee in Airtel Bangladesh Limited started on 10th July ,2013 and finished on 10th

  • Checking necessary documents required for new distributorship and Go through all documents like Bank Solvency Certificate, Income Tax Certificate, trade license, VAT certificate, Police verification, NID, Agreement Papers and send it to Legal Department for final approval. September ,2013. I worked with the Sales Operation team of Airtel Bangladesh during my internship period. As an intern I have to perform the following task giving below:

  • Sort Zonal Expense documents and creating document for monthly expense claim of TM and
    send it to HR department.
  • Worked on Airtel M-Banking, Creating presentation on “How Retailers can buy Airtime by M-Banking Account”. And which used to show all over Bangladesh to train the unskilled retailers to use M-Banking Account.
  • Collect daily transaction of Pilot Project of Airtel M-Banking. And send it to Sales Operation team for further queries.
  • Change Link of LSO (Load Selling Outlet): Suspend Existing Parent MISSDN and transfer it to Proposed Parent MISSDN.
  • Using PRETABs and TABs and checking and verifying sim registration form.
  • Furthermore I have to create presentation sides for regular corporate meetings, training FSEs and retailer, Bangla Typing etc.

Observations and Recommendations
There is some critics and observation, which I noticed throughout my internship program. I have also made some recommendation along with my observation. If some effective initiatives will be taken, the internship program could be more helpful for the students and by the same time Airtel could get the most output from the interns. 21 | Page

  • There should be a formal orientation program for Interns to introduce with company’s culture, values, employees and job responsibility.
  • Airtel’s corporate office is situated in Banani, Dhaka; Sales and marketing department is located in Gulshan-2, Dhaka. Service experience department is hin Shyamoli, Dhaka. The system requisition process is lengthy in Airtel due to the location of the office.
  • Airtel should reserve at least two or three desks and computer in each department. Whenever new workers join, they could start their tasks within very short time and Airtel does not have to waste human resource anymore.
  • Every procedure is prepared by computer and there are no paperwork things to accomplish. It is required to replace the old configuration computer with the faster one to boost up working performance and save time. Unfortunately, my computer was the slow one and it consumed more time for processing the data.
  • Job rotation is not practiced to the interns. Interns should have given the opportunity to work in more than one function to get involved more with the company.
  • During my internship session, I found that the work load was more comparing to the number of existing executives. Working on under pressure for prolonged period may damages stamina of the workers and consequently increases the mental stress.
  •  The overall treatment with intern in Airtel in terms of behavior was helping, quite good and friendly. Supervisors encourage the interns to accomplish their job properly; also provide help and support on their tasks which is very remarkable.

Context of the study:

In Bangladesh telecom operator industry started its journey in 1997. After 15 years of journey, there are now 6 players in this industry with 97.389 million customers. Telecommunication has changed the socio economic scenario of the country positively with a rapid growth.

Telecommunication companies design their business plan in a way that is adopted quickly by the mass of the country. A distinct and intensive distribution system has developed across the country to make the products or services widely available. As Bangladesh is a developing country with a moderately developed infrastructure, distribution system or process here is very complex for any industry which deals with a huge number of customers across the country. Companies frequently reviewing their distribution operations to improve it to deliver the product and services smoothly to customer in a cost efficient way. Because of competition, government regulation, developing infrastructure, changing customer attitude telecommunication industry is going through rapid changes. As a result companies in this industry looking for ways to distribute their products and services in a minimum time with maximum efficiency so that people can easily found their desired product or service.

Distribution system in telecommunication industry here in Bangladesh is a combination of local and international system. Socio economic scenario constructs a different distribution system from other industry. The report is preparing in a situation where competitors are in battle to gain better customer satisfaction in least price through a smooth channel where all the channel members will work for a broadly and specifically defined goal. As a newest member of the industry, Airtel Bangladesh Limited is gradually improving their operation across the country.

More than 80 percent area of the country is now under the Airtel Coverage. As a result there should be much focus on the distribution system now to offer customer their products and services in innovative way. So a distinctive study is needed to examine the distribution system of the company and to provide solutions or ways of innovative reengineering of the system that suits the company’s present condition as well as future planning for available the product and service across the country.

Purpose of the study:

The purpose of the study is to evaluate the distribution process of Airtel Bangladesh Limited. As a matter of intensive competition in the market, Airtel frequently modifying or changing their operations as well as expanding the network coverage. This report will evaluate whether the present distribution mapping system is efficient or not and also provide possible ways of improvement of the distribution mechanism.

Airtel sales operation department is a dynamic department taking responsible for various kinds of functional activities to boost up the sales and increase its company revenue. The functional activities are –

  • Distribution mapping and efficiency evaluation
  • Process Improvement
  • Sales Efficiency
  • Trouble Shooting
  • Zonal Empowerment Efficiency Enhancement
  • Sales IT Way Foreword
  • Supports ongoing Projects

As all the activities is related with the Distribution, I have chosen the distribution part of the department.

Problem Statement:

Main Problem:
Analyze the present distribution mapping system and efficiency of Airtel Bangladesh Limited.

Sub Problem 1:
The first sub problem is to examine the entire distribution process of Airtel Bangladesh Limited where focus will be given on the efficiency level of the system, major drawbacks and factors affect the system etc.

Sub problem 2:
Second sub problem is to compare the distribution system or strategies with its competitors and with other industry for analyzing the possibility of redesigning the distribution.

Sub Problem 3:
Third sub problem is to frame out the ways of further innovative and efficient distribution strategies that have competitive advantages.

Methodology
In the organization part, most of the information has been collected from brochures, web sites and personnel of airtel Bangladesh Limited. All the information incorporated in this report has been collected both from the primary sources as well as from the secondary sources.

Primary Source of Information

  • Personal Observation.
  • Personal Interview
  • Practical deskwork.

Secondary Sources of Data

  • Relevant airtel Bangladesh Limited paper and published documents
  • Internet.

Current market and Airtel distribution System

In this context, the study defines the current market situation. In addition, it focuses the distribution process of airtel and how distributors are measured through their performance in order to disburse commission to the distributors account.

Current Market Situation
According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) the total number of mobile phone subscribers has reached 97.389 million at the end of January 2013. It was just 45.21 million by the end of February 2009. The total number of mobile phone subscribers has been doubled within 3 years and it is still increasing significantly. Presently, the cell phone is an integral part of our daily life.

Mobile phone operators are continuously offering more value added services to enrich the lives of the customers. At the same time the competition among the telecom companies has reached to the peak level. This situation is compelling the one telecom operator providing the better quality services and keeping the call charge lower than the other operators.

Currently, the telecom industry is dominating by Grameenphone with its 41.42% market share and also the most profitable operator in the industry. Orascom Telecom Limited previously named Banglalink and recently chaged as of “Banglalink digital communication limited” retained the second spot. It has a market share of 26.30% but yet not profitable at all.

Robi, formerly known as AKTEL, owned by Robi Axiata Limited, remained in the third position. It is another player in this industry who is in profit for last couple of months. The market’s late entrant Airtel is obtaining the fourth position and the state-owned operator Teletalk now remains at the fifth position. Country’s first and only CDMA operator Citycell remains at bottom place with 1.509 million customers.

tab 1

tab 2

Airtel Bangladesh Limited follows a simple but wide distribution process for distributing their products and services mainly connection (Sim Card), Recharge card and load. Airtel divides the country into five zones for doing the sales operation in a smooth way. These zones are:

1. Dhaka South
2. Dhaka North
3. Bogra
4. Chittagong
5. Khulna

Zonal Business Managers are responsible for each zone. There are Sales Managers and Territory Managers in Zonal Office to run the sales. There are 136 territories across the country. Each territory is assigned by one territory manager and one individual distributor for distributing the products of Airtel. Distributors should be experienced in distribution system. One person or company should get distributorship not more than one territory. Airtel Relationship Center (ARC) and needed Field Sales Executives (FSE) should be under distributor and all the cost
regarding ARCs and FSEs should bear by distributor. Territory manager looks after the channel the functioning of the distribution channel. The territory manager at the company’s end reports to sales manager. Amongst the Territory manager’s duties are increasing activation, outlet, and territory expansion and generate revenue in accordance with the targets. Distributor’s FSEs conduct with retailers or nonretailers to take Airtel’s product in their outlet. There are two types of outlets in retailer level. They are:

• Sim Selling Outlet
• Load Selling Outlet

Sim selling outlet sell both simcard and load but load selling outlet sell only load and recharge cards. Some retailers are called Airtel Service Center (ASC) where customer can get limited customer service. Some selected retailers will provide some benefits like in shop painting, flange, wall clock, shelf branding, signboard etc.

Commission Structure of Airtel for Distributors and Retailers:

Airtel Bangladesh Limited has a commission structure which is more unless similar to the competitors. For the sales & distribution of Airtel connection (simcard) and recharge card or load, following structure of commission is applied to the channel:

tab 3

tab 4

tab5

In the above part mainly illustrates the commission system and the tools. These are being used to encourage distributors to boost up their sales and evaluate their performance for commission.

SWOT Analysis of Distribution System of Airtel Bangladesh Limited

SWOT is an acronym that stands for strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and threats. It is a careful evaluation of an organization’s internal strengths and weakness as well as its environmental opportunities and threats. In SWOT analysis, the best strategies accomplish an organization’s mission by (1) exploiting an organization’s opportunities and strengths while, (2) neutralizing its threats and (3) avoiding its weakness.

swot

Both manufacturing and service oriented business organizations start to possess some weakness as time elapse. The weaknesses of an organization can be turned into opportunities if it recognized on time. Moreover, overlooking any threat may result in loosing valuable business opportunities. For this reason, an assessment of every business organization is required to judge the performance from the aspects of its Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat.
Strength:

Experienced Sales-team: Manpower in the distribution system of Airtel is very much experienced in this arena. People in the distribution system know what to do in what situation.

Well set of Distributors: Distributors of Airtel has experienced and have reputation of good service ability in the market. Airtel has a structured procedure and criteria for selecting best distributors for each territory.

Quick Decision Making Procedures: There are some flexibility in decision making about distribution and sales operation at each level of management. This types of flexibility helps in making the decisions quickly if there are some occurrences.

Systematic Procedure: Airtel follows a systematic procedure for their distribution. This procedure is a mixture of International and local systems that are best suited for the market.

Gradual and Planned Improvement: Airtel operating in Bangladesh from 2010 after Warid’s operation. Growth and improvement in the distribution system in last two years is significant. Airtel’s product is now available across the country and day by day it is improving in a planned way.

Business Assurance to channel members: Increasing business and rapid customer engagement assures channel members (distributor & retailer) that their relationship with Airtel will be profitable for future.

Weaknesses:

Multiple Point of Contact: There is no unified way of contacting with distributors. Distributors are sometimes confused getting different messages or orders from different department or people from airtel.

Limited Business and Growth Opportunity for distributors: As one distributor operates only one territory, there are limited business opportunities and at a time there will be no growth for the distributors.

FSEs are not well motivated and trained: Field Sales Executives are the people who go to the retailer and motivate them to sell Airtel’s products and when a retailer agrees to  sell they go time to time for taking order. But these people are not well trained up. They don’t know how to motivate a shop owner to become their retailer and sell product. As they are not well paid they are not motivated to do the job properly and efficiently.

Less People, More Work: People in Airtel distribution operation are less in terms of work. As business is expanding, people are not recruited with that pace. So efficiency level of sales force is decreasing.

Inefficient Retail Mapping: Retail mapping system of Airtel is not satisfactory at all. People want mobile products near their hand. Airtel are not following an effective retail mapping system to select retailer where there are demand of Airtel. As a result some areas are over utilized, some are underutilized and others are unutilized.

Opportunities:

Alternative Ways of Selling Products: Things are changes day by day. Customers are getting busy as time going on. Alternative ways can be online selling of products, direct selling to customer etc. can be a opportunity for Airtel to distribute their products.

Increase of Non-store Retailing: Different types of non-store retailing are in increase. Airtel can take opportunity from them to make their product widely available with efficiency.

Use of Mobile Banking in a Large Scale: Mobile banking is expanding day by bay. Airtel also has agreement with some mobile banking companies. Airtel already launches Dutch Bangla Mobile banking service to their customer from where customer can recharge their mobile balance from the mobile banking. Airtel can use this mobile
banking and connect with other mobile bank organization so that customer can buy product through mobile banking.

Threats:

Continuous Pressure from Retailer to Increase Commission: There is pressure from retailers to increase their sales commission. This can be a threat for Airtel as well as for the industry.

Experienced FSEs are being recruited by competitor’s distributors: It is an alarming situation for Airtel that their field operation is in threat as Good, competitive and experienced FSEs are recruited by competitor’s distributor.

Political Unrest: Recent political unrest shows that sales operation is not working well. Alternative ways are needed to adapt this situation as this unrest might stand for a long time.

In summary, on the above part all the major strengths that help airtel to boost up their revenue is briefly described. Besides, by using the opportunities how airtel can reduces its weakness and threats is briefly discussed.

Findings

After analyzing the SWOT of Airtel’s distribution and interview with the respondents of the study the findings part is divided into three level. The discussing levels are-

• Management level
• Distributor level
• Retail level

Management level:

Responses of the interviewee are showing that they are satisfied with management level operation of the distribution system. But some inefficiency is also identified in this study. Respondents said that Airtel has a unified sales distribution system and strategy that is a major strength of the company. Company’s sales distribution force is capable of making impossible things to possible. Company culture helps the sales distribution team to generate and work for a goal that is competitive for both the company and for sales team. Supporting functions are also
coordinating in a unified way. One respondent said that sometimes communication gap occurs among different functions of the company. Reason behind this is the different functional offices are situated in different place. Corporate office is situated in Banani where Sales & Marketing department is in Gulshan- 2 and Customer Service department is in Shamoli.

One expert said that Airtel Bangladesh Limited is doing business from 2010 and a significant growth has achieved indeed within a short period overcoming many limitations of the company. As business is expanding, more growth oriented planning is taking by the company. One of the respondents said the Airtel will achieve their desired goal; there is no doubt about that. Some changes in the organization with the pace of growth of the company are needed.
Airtel is expanding their business day by day as target market is responding in a positive way. As business is growing it is now time to work with the numbers of distributors. As there are more than 131 distributors in the channel, business growth and increasing business can hamper in the near future with lots of distributors. It is tough to control this numbers of distributors when a business grows rapidly. Maintaining good and effective relationship with distributors is important and it is not possible all the time to maintain good relation with big number of distributors and it creates a noise in the distribution system. Distributors are also not motivating as there is a limited business opportunity within their own territory but they are not able to expand it to another territory.
There is a good communication system exits between management and distributors. Distributors under a zone are communicated by the SMs and TMs. TM is responsible to monitor the activities of each distributor of their territory. But problem occurs when multiple points of contact happens. It happens when distributors get call from different functional department like sales operation, trade marketing, zonal office etc and become confused. This can affect the distribution activities seriously, as distributors are in dilemma in this type of situation. As business is growing fast, maintaining a large number of distributors may be difficult for company. Competitors are reducing their numbers of distributors. Grameenphone who is the market leader has only 43 distributors and Banglalink has 110 distributors while Airtel has 131 distributors. For each territory, there are individual distributors. Some of respondents oppose that to have these huge numbers of distributors is a matter of cost and operational efficiency.

Findings from management level are:

  • Multiple points of contact are an alarming issue.
  • Different locations of functional office are creating problems in decision-making or other relevant activities of sales and distribution.
  • Maintain good relation with 131 distributors is not efficient as business is growing.
  • Job pressure or shortage of labor in sales distribution should be given importance.

Distributor level:

Distributors work in the channel where they collect big amount of products from manufacturer or producer and sell them in small lot to different retailers. There are 131 distributors in 131 territory of Airtel. The distributors are well reputed in the market. After a lot of analysis, a company gets the distributorship of Airtel. They are financially sound as well as have a good market experience and reputation. Interviews show many important issues are there that have
impacts on the distribution efficiency.

Distributor’s small business opportunity is an issue in Airtel distribution. One distributor of Airtel said that there is a very limited business opportunity for the distributors of Airtel as no distributors can operate more than one territory. We know that in a territory there is a very limited business growth opportunity. In independent distribution system, distributors can expand their territory or can take distributorship of another territory. This helps distributors to work with lots of enthusiasm. But lack of growth opportunity in this business is a depressing situation for

Airtel’s distributors. Some respondents of said that some good distributors are looking for opportunity from external and very soon they will be no longer distributors of Airtel as absent of growth in business. Distributors employ needed Field Sales Executives to run the field sales operation within their territory. FSEs are the people who make contact directly with the retailers and motivate them to sell their company’s product, increase the sales volume of the retailers and provide those ways of more business. These FSEs are very important in distribution system as they core promoter of the company’s business in the field level. It is tough for FSEs to motivate a retailer to sell their products or services, realizing existing retailers to sell more of their products.

This can be very alarming for Airtel that their experienced FSEs are going out from the company and joining in competitor’s sales force. As a result Airtel is losing experienced and effective sales team as well as competitors can know the field sales strategies of Airtel. This should be tackle efficiently so that it remains in minimum level.
So the basic findings from distributor level are:

• Lack of business growth opportunity for the distributors.
• FSEs are not well motivated and trained up.
• Recruitment of Airtel’s field sales force by the competitor’s distributors.

Retail level:
A number of findings are located in this level of the discussion. Respondents provide lots of views and important points about retail activities of Airtel’s distribution system. Retailing or retailer situated in a position where they collect the products and services from distributors or wholesaler and sell them to final customer. So retailers have direct interaction with the final customer. They know about the customer or target market more than manufacturer or service provider and distributors. So retailers play a very important role in distribution channel. In this study the most important thing that point out is the inefficiency in retail mapping system of Airtel. Retail mapping means collecting information about the retailers of a specific area and evaluate it for selecting the best retailers that matches the company’s objectives or target market for distributing products.

An interviewee says that selective distribution can be applied in Simcard selling but intensive distribution system is required for selling recharge card and load. Airtel Bangladesh Limited has more than 25000 SSO and near 75000 LSO across the country. In terms of numbers it is huge and with this it is possible to run the sales operation in an efficient manner. But problem lies in the mapping of the retailing in Airtel distribution. Customer wants product and service near to where they live or work. Companies have to ensure hassle free buying experience. Some respondent states that there are lacking in the retail mapping system of Airtel Bangladesh Limited.

An example of the inefficiency of the retail mapping of Airtel is discussed here with picture presentation. Panthapath signal is a very busy area and filled with target market of Airtel user. It is the intersection of Green road, Farmgate, Bashundhara City and Square Hospital’s road. Lots of universities, colleges, schools and others educational institutions are located here. But there distribution system of Airtel retail outlet is not done in a planned way. Red stared outlet behind the Astish Depankar University campus is a outlet which is over utilized. There should be
one more outlet beside that outlet for smooth distribution as there are lots of educational institutions with Airtel user.

retail map

Two red stared with one cross mark outlet beside Bashundhara City showing that there should be only one outlet instead of two. Besides that the blue stared indicating that this place is totally unutilized even when there is a demand of Airtel’s product. Three red stared outlets besides Firoz tower are also underutilized. There should be maximum two outlets and opposite to that there is no outlet available when there is many outlets of competitors is available. In the opposite side of the NIIT Dhaka there should be minimum two outlets as there lives a huge number of Airtel users.

map 2

A planned retail mapping is also presented here for comparing the previous example. Kalabagan area near the Mirpur road is a busy area with lots of Airtel user. In the first and second lane there are two outlets in each lane and all kinds of airtel products are available marked by red star in the figure. Opposite to the 1st lane of Kalabangan we can see that there is only one outlet as rush of the customers are not much as the opposite side.

There are ample of examples like the first one across the country. This is a big challenge for Airtel to make the retail mapping system an efficient system from where we can get maximum utilization.

Location intelligence is used now a day to solve the retail mapping system. Location intelligence provides the ability to organize and understand information through a geographical perspective to facilitate informed decision making.

This helps organizations align better with the realities of their market territories and thus improves performance and results. With location intelligence a company can choose best retailers or shops in an area from where company can get maximum revenue.

location

By using location intelligence for making the retail mapping efficient, companies like Airtel can get lots of benefits. Some of them can be-

• Better Strategy Formulation: Since sales are all about handling the geographical territory, this can give vital inputs in formulating a successful strategy.
• Better measurement of performance: It is not feasible for Territory manager to cover the entire territory during his visits. He needs to identify the areas which require his attention and target them during his visit. Location intelligence is helpful to find out to target right retailer and measure the performance.
• Ensure Equal Retail Distribution: Location intelligence ensure fair distribution of products among the retail outlets based on their previous performance and demand of customer.

Efficient retail distribution system can be made by using a simple process of location intelligence. The process is as the below:

location int

Unavailability of every products of Airtel is another obstacle in smooth distribution system of Airtel. All products are not available in each retail point of Airtel. Different users have different types of needs. Some is happy using recharge card while others are comfortable with recharge load to recharge their balance of Airtel connection. If people go to an outlet and do not find their favorite options they will be unhappy with the Airtel’s service. People want the solution without any hassle near to hand. Product unavailability is a contradiction to that. Motivation is needed for the retailer so that they sell all the products of Airtel. New ways of planning is needed to solve this problem in a short possible time.

Retailers are the medium through which products go directly to the final customer. So their importance in the channel is very crucial. Unfortunately, it seems that there is no way of FSEs will go to every retail outlets of a specific area and will fill a form by asking questions to the retailer to know about monthly activations and recharge
amount etc.

Recommendation:

There are total 10 findings in the three (03) level of discussion. Recommendations are made based on the findings of the study. By following recommendations, Airtel Bangladesh Limited can improve their distribution system or strategies in a way that ensure maximum customer satisfaction with a competitive position in the market.

  • Inefficiency in the retail mapping is one of the major findings of this study. By using the location intelligence as discussed in the findings, Airtel can ensure fair retail distribution of products and service near to customers.
  • Distributors of a region should be given a target based on their previous performance and efficiency in a given period of time. Distributors who underperformed in the given period and if management things that the distributors cannot perform well in future then that distributors will be replaced by the best performer (distributor) of that region. This will help the distribution system of Airtel in many way like:

  • This will put the distributors of a region in competition to better perform than others will ultimately increase the sales of the company.
  • Distributors will be motivate to run their business or operations more efficiently to perform better for getting the opportunity of serving more than one territory as this will endure the growth of the business of distributors.

  • Motivational activities and effective sales training of FSEs should be given a high importance. It is not possible for the company to give monetary motivation in a large scale as this increase the company cost. But company can give lots of nonmonetary motivation to FSEs which costs little but output is more.
  • Change the designation of the FSE. In this study interview with some FSEs said that Field Sales Executive means that they are at the bottom level. This designation introduces them to the society as “not in a good  profession” attitude. If the designation “Field Sales Executives” can be replaced by something like “Brand Ambassador” or “Brand Promoter” or something that sounds different and good to the society, then FSEs will be motivated a lot to work truly like an ambassador of the company to the retailer. Provide some description about the meaning of the designation.

Conclusion

Airtel Bangladesh Limited is the last entrant in the telecom operator industry of Bangladesh. It is now in fourth place in six players industry. Current market share is 7.34% with a customer base of 7.148 million. Day by day its business activities are expanding as offerings of the company are best suited to their target customer and also for quick network expansion. Airtel’s sales distribution activity is similar to the industry with some unique techniques. Here sales force is efficient enough and also experienced run the system with great success. Airtel has a well set of distributors who are gradually performing well and competitive in the market. Airtel has a huge number of retailers
across the country. Overall Airtel has a well planned distribution procedure. There are some basic and operational difficulties in the distribution system. Recommendations are made based on to solve those difficulties that arise as changing business environment. Customers changing need and wants are also affects the distribution activities. Hopefully by implementing or reviewing the recommendations of this study Airtel will be one the best competitors in this industry in near future.