Case Studies

GIS Visualisation
Sales Routing

British American Tobacco (BAT) South Africa

Project Summary

In 2007, BAT South Africa had embarked on the final stages of their direct supply chain project. The complexity of the project was due to the mammoth task of changing their supply chain model from using third party wholesalers to supplying direct to the retailer. Clients would be given a choice of buying direct or through their existing channels.

OPSI Systems was required to implement a sales force routing, scheduling and management system for BAT SA’s entire direct store sales (DSS) staff – almost 300 employees servicing over 50 000 outlets – that would tie together BATs existing infrastructure to their contractual partners, such as DHL.

Business Context

British American Tobacco South Africa (BAT), South Africa’s leading manufacturer of cigarettes, began exploring ways to improve delivery to clients by offering direct store sales (DSS) in addition to the existing wholesale service network in South Africa. The project was considered a level-5 implementation, the highest rank which BAT could attribute to its supply chain projects. Furthermore, DHL is contracted to provide the warehouse pickings and deliveries for DSS staff.


BAT required sales routing and scheduling software that would meet the following objectives:

  • The ability to define territories based on workload and geography.
  • The ability to route customers with different visit frequencies ranging from weekly to quarterly.
  • The ability to calculate the number of visits that could be done in a day based on thevplanned call duration of each visit.
  • The ability to interface FLO Routes with BATs Customer Relations Software (Siebel) and also upload routes into Garmin GPS devices.
  • Develop a reporting suite to analyze the routes and display them geographically for BATs DSS representatives.
Project Detail

PLATO and FieldForce, OPSI Systems enterprise transport management suite and sales routing software respectively, was selected for the project.

The software had to be incorporated with both BATs and DHLs existing systems:

  • BAT: V3 DSS call monitoring system
  • DHL: SAP ERP systems, C_Track tracking systems and ZA OPS remote security system.

Following the successful development, integration and implementation of the solution, various enhancements were requested and implemented in the system (such as revised reports in 2008, routing scheduling service, support and training.

Project Achievements

With BAT’s adoption of FieldForce and DHL’s use of PLATO for BAT’s distribution optimization, BAT has been able to overhaul their entire sales and distribution process and offer its products directly to its customers. This process has provided stores with more predictable visits and more efficient deliveries of the BAT products.

The project has enabled both BAT and DHL to streamline their distribution processes; including more efficient routing and more accountability from sales reps. All of this has enabled BAT to provide its customers with much better service, and has allowed DHL to realize real cost savings through more optimal routing and utilization of its fleet.

The success of BATs Direct Supply project has subsequently been used by as a benchmark for other international BAT companies. OPSI Systems has also been approached directly by BAT UK with regards to advice and information regarding their vehicle and routing solutions.

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