Baking & Snack - April 2018 - 118

with accountability
New software system supplies route
sales representatives with intuitive
tools to offer better customer service.
by Dan Malovany


When Pan-O-Gold Baking Co. began its search to update its legacy route accounting system - one that dated
back to the 1980s - the St. Cloud, MN-based company
polled about 100 of its route service representatives
(RSRs) and sales managers to find out what they needed.
The objective a few years ago was to develop a Top 10
list of software features that would allow its nearly 400
RSRs serving nine Midwestern states to better manage
routes, increase sales and reduce returns, according to
Bob Gartland, senior vice-president and general manager.
Those requests included color-coding "featured"
bread, buns and other baked goods at various stores and
supplying quicker, more interactive and easier-to-access
data-specific information. "We wanted to get more feedback from our system so that our RSRs could forecast
better orders for the week ahead," Mr. Gartland recalled.
During the vetting process, MiT Systems caught
Pan-O-Gold's attention. "MiT's demo proved to us that
the software contained certain features and would not
require a lot of customization for what our company
wanted," Mr. Gartland recalled. "Probably eight of our
Top 10 requests were already in the system."
Additionally, he said, the MiT representatives team
understood the nuances of direct-store delivery (DSD) of
short-shelf-life products and had previously worked with
other baking companies providing efficient solutions.
In mid 2017, Pan-O-Gold committed to using the
MiTEzSales Mobile software, which offered to set up a
pilot program to test the software and find ways to tweak
it to ensure its compatibility with the bakery's new ERP
system and its handheld hardware.
Initially, 30 RSRs within a specific geographic area
tested the MiTEzSales Mobile software for a couple

118 Baking & Snack April 2018 /

of weeks. "That was a remarkable experience," Mr.
Gartland recalled. "We found during the pilot program
that the MiT software was very intuitive and very fast.
Our RSRs were really comfortable with the software just
after two days, so it was amazing."
During the pilot program, he added, the MiT team
took feedback from the RSRs and the bakery's IT department and even worked weekends and off hours to integrate, modify, adapt and fully integrate the mobile and
ERP systems.
Then as a part of a "train the trainer" program, divisional sales managers rode on routes to learn how MiT's
software worked from the initial RSRs. On Feb. 22, the
rollout began with those sales managers now training
the RSRs in their designated geographic areas. It successfully concluded just two weeks later on March 8.
"They absolutely love it," Mr. Gartland said. "Our
RSRs are better able to use their data and run programs
more effectively. The MiTEzSales Mobile software has
tabs across many screens allowing the RSR's to rapidly
work the shelves."
MiT's software is also improving communication
between RSRs and managers who use web-based
dashboards to review time-specific data for SKUs
sold, store credits, inspections, standing orders and
other meaningful data in a brief five-minute meeting
at the end of the day. "We want our RSRs to do their
own ordering, not just do what their sales managers
say," Mr. Gartland pointed out. "Now that there is
more valuable data available to us, it helps us accomplish this goal."
Initial response from the field has been positive. "I
talked to a fair share of our RSRs and sales managers
about MiT, and there's no doubt we have a more satisfied
team than just a month ago," Mr. Gartland said a week
after the completed rollout. "Sales ordering and reporting are better, and we have fewer issues that come into
the office, so we have a happier administrative staff, too."
Although still in its initial stages, the MiT system
will help streamline production and control inventory
costs as well as reduce waste and provide greater cus-

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