PowerApps in Practice – How PowerApps Enabled G&J Pepsi to Deliver Mobile Services

G&J Pepsi has always prided itself on using technology to deliver better experiences and services to its customers. The company’s new aim was to transform in-store merchandising and auditing by focusing on the mobile nature of their business. To achieve this, the IT department was tasked with offering more on-the-go services. To deliver, they needed a new mobile solution, but without previous app development experience, building deploying and managing a scalable solution was a big challenge indeed. Fortunately, the company was well-versed in Microsoft products, and PowerApps was a logical step that took them forward leaps and bounds. 

What Challenges Was Pepsi Facing

G&J Pepsi has been around for about 100 years and today has over 1600 employees based across 13 locations in Ohio and Kentucky. The majority of employees are in the field, working across manufacturing, distribution and marketing of its Pepsi-Cola product line. With both the business and its employees becoming more reliant on mobile devices, the IT team needed to deliver more on-the-go services. The aim was to increase efficiencies, gain actionable insights and create better customer experiences. 

As a company, G&J Pepsi has always been on the lookout for new technologies that can enhance their business revenue, cut costs and streamline processes. Ultimately, by making their employees more efficient, they are able to sell more products. The IT team knew that they could achieve a lot with mobile; however, the problem was that they didn’t have any professional developers in their team in order to do that. The team consisted of seven technology professionals, and while all of them knew a lot about networking, database and leveraging applications, none of them were developers. 

Why G&J Pepsi Chose PowerApps

The team clearly had a lot of talent, but the missing link was the ability to develop the applications they needed to deliver the required mobile experience. However, the team was fully-versed in Microsoft products. They were already using Office 365 and had launched into a cloud-first world. With Exchange Online, Yammer, OneDrive and SharePoint successfully integrated, PowerApps was a logical next step. It gave the team the opportunity to simplify and mobilise processes to deliver on-the-go services.  

Due to their existing commitment to Microsoft products, there was no need to get organisational buy-in for the PowerApps platform. Nor did the team really need to look elsewhere at the alternatives. To deliver an integrated service, they knew that Microsoft made sound business sense. The platform would enable them to create custom web and mobile applications without the need for writing code.

What Apps Has G&J Pepsi Built

By using Microsoft Power Apps, Power BI, and Microsoft Power Automate, the seven-person team has created custom applications to automate the company’s store audit and merchandising process. Applications cover everything from time trackers to driver notification to sales operations requests, including:

  • Store Audit app – field personnel used to record key audit information on pieces of paper, place them in audit trays, and leave the rest to magic. Unfortunately, the magic didn’t always happen, and there were many unresolved issues. It was vital to change this to ensure communication to account managers, drivers and logistic teams. The Store Audit app enables staff to inspect stores, collect data and inform decisions in real-time. The result is better leadership and improved customer satisfaction with much less chance of empty shelves or incorrect signage. 

  • Parking app – every day G&J Pepsi has 70-80 trucks leaving one building, a building that has 140 different parking spots. As all the trucks look the same, it was tough for drivers to know which one was theirs for the day. They would have to walk through the parking lot searching for their truck, which would impact upon their delivery window. The parking app allows the warehouse to mark where each truck is parked. In the morning, all the driver has to do is check their email on their phone, where the exact location of their track is given. 

  • Merchandiser app – previously if staff saw that there was signage that needed fixing, they would have to email the salesperson. There was no further course of action, and no way to know if the salesperson would be able to respond. The Merchandiser app, however, allows staff to submit the information which triggers alerts to the supervisor and upwards, ensuring it is acted upon 

Every app the team has developed enables information to be captured in real-time. It is the use of PowerApps, PowerBI and Flow together that has really made a difference, however. The team now has a digital feedback loop. Meaning that they can collect data, store it and report on it. They have data they’ve never had before and are able to make sense of it. PowerBI gives them the power to look for trends and make adjustments in how they go to market. With the Power Platform, the team believes that there are hundreds if not thousands of processes that they will be able to tackle, solving everyday challenges with digital solutions. 

What Were the Benefits / The Benefits of Using PowerApps

G&J Pepsi has seen a huge amount of success since they started using PowerApps, overcoming challenges that they face day in and day out. They have a new way to communicate, to collect data and to aggregate information and a new ability to create actionable insights. The company has realised many benefits by using PowerApps, including:

  • New development capabilities – without needing to expand its IT team, the company is now able to develop new applications quickly without needing to worry about the problems of underlying infrastructure. 

  • Cost savings – the apps that the team created saved G&J Pepsi about $500,000 in the first year alone.

  • Improved customer experience – thanks to the simplified and efficient apps that have been created, there is much better communication and faster turnarounds on requests. 

  • Empowered employees – by arming  field and sales teams with easily accessible data they are able to accomplish more.

And, all of this is just the beginning. The team continues to evolve the applications that they have created, identify new opportunities and address challenges that were previously out of bounds due to the need for development capabilities. 

Can PowerApps Help Your Business

If your business could benefit from unlocking new insights and  being able to deliver new mobile services, then PowerApps can help. Moreover, if your business has a strong IT team, but is lacking in professional development experience, then PowerApps can empower your IT team to achieve more. Ultimately, with PowerApps, your team will be able to deliver great apps quickly and at a low cost. 

To summarise, here are the challenges, the solution and the benefits that G&J Pepsi experienced:

  • Challenges – G&J Pepsi is a company with a huge volume of remote field and sales workers, who rely increasingly on their mobile devices. To empower their employees to accomplish more, they needed to create more on-the-go services. However, while their IT team was well versed in networking, databases and leveraging applications, they didn’t actually have development expertise. 

  • Solutions – the company already used many Microsoft products and had launched into a cloud-first world with Office 365. With so many Microsoft products under its belt, and a commitment to integration and simplification, PowerApps was the obvious next step. The platform offered the opportunity to create custom web and mobile applications without the need for writing code. 

  • Benefits – by using PowerApps and the Power Platform, the seven-person IT team has quickly, effectively and cost-efficiently created custom applications covering everything from time trackers to driver notifications to sales operations requests. The company is able to overcome everyday challenges and has a new way to communicate, to collect data and to create actionable insights. 

https://customers.microsoft.com/en-us/story/gj-pepsi-consumer-goods-powerapps

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About the author

Drew Alexander is the Co-CEO of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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