The 2021 Playbook for Retail Lending


To cater to this, there is a need to reach the customers homes in order to facilitate both the loan process as well as collections. Technology could play a major role in assisting this process.

For instance, a new customer can be signed up, and the required documents processed at the Point of Sale itself. A classic case is an NBFC which has launched a program to go to the homes of potential customers to evaluate and sanction a gold loan instantly. This results in speeding up the processing time by over 50%, in an environment that is safe from risks associated with the pandemic.

Collections is another area where the relation between debtors and collection agents has often been adversarial. It is a process marked often with repeated follow-ups and unpleasant experiences. By bringing in various online payment modes, the process can be made more facilitative. Even with less tech-savvy customers, the collection officers can reach their homes and assist in the process electronically.

None of this can be done without the sales or collection officer being suitably equipped digitally. A simple hand-held or even his personal mobile device with the required software is all it takes. It is imperative for NBFCs to start thinking along these lines, if they have not already done so.

by: Ravi Chandran, Chief Product Officer, WRKTOP


February 8, 2021

Empowering Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives


At a recent visit to a doctor, I found myself sitting next to a pharmaceutical representative. As we were both waiting to be called in, we got talking. The pharma rep is arguably the face of the “field force” of the pharma industry, and I was curious to know what he thought about his round of duties and the way his role in the industry was shaping. While we had a general chit-chat, I could abstract the following as major challenges that this group faces on a daily basis.

Sometimes, getting an appointment to meet the doctor is difficult in itself, with the busy schedules. The rep waits nevertheless to ensure that he finally meets. At the end of the day, the main objective is to strengthen the relationship between the rep and the doctor

A significant effort goes in learning about the products, so that the rep can communicate effectively the differentiators and the benefits to the doctor, thus giving them an incentive to prescribe one medication over another. More so in recent years, there is a burning need in the market to integrate technology to the sales rep’s repertoire of skills, to make the calls more interesting and effective.

A doctor, on an average meets 4-5 reps from different companies each day. A big challenge is to stand out from the crowd and keep the doctor’s attention while the product is presented. Doctors expect the reps to provide them enlightening information on the recent research and advances in the area of interest, rather than just pushing a product.

After all this, the rep comes home and has to quickly fill up the daily report (which normally is quite comprehensive) and submit it for his manager’s review.

Thankfully, today’s technology can enable the pharma reps overcome most of these challenges:

• Doctor’s visits can be pre-scheduled so that there is minimal wait time when the rep reaches a doctor’s clinic. This can significantly optimize the daily calls for the rep as well as the doctor

• Visit reports to doctors, pharmacists and stockists are filed directly from the field using a simple app, on a tablet or even on the rep’s personal mobile phone

• The app can store useful information like product brochures, videos etc. which can be retrieved on the fly and presented to the doctor

• Feedback on any new product launches can be gathered and communicated to the stakeholders instantly

• A simple training module can enable the rep learn at his own pace. With simple video bytes, and assessments

• Travel Plans can be requested and approved by his manager on the go.

• Regular HR tasks (attendance & leave, expense management etc) can also be completed and submitted without visiting the office

• Inventory information can be made available to stockists and pharmacists. Also 2nd level inventory status can be captured and replenishment orders sent electronically

Notably, pharma companies have to invest huge amounts of money in R&D, testing, approvals and production before a successful new product can be launched. There is therefore a huge pressure on them to generate revenue, both from new formulations as well as generics. The front line that bears the brunt of this growth is the pharma sales rep, so it is only natural that pharma companies provide special focus to the last mile and empower them.

by: Ravi Chandran, Chief Product Officer, WRKTOP


February 1, 2021

The LAST MILE takes Center Stage


In the earlier era, the focus was on building core enterprise systems. Large software companies like SAP, Microsoft, Oracle etc. expended a lot of effort and money in developing and perfecting their ERPs & CRMs. Subsequently, with the mobile world gaining traction, each provider realized the need to extend these systems on to the mobile.

For the LAST MILE user, this resulted in them having to download multiple apps and toggle between each of them. This is neither user friendly nor optimal. At the same time, simply extending the core system functionality to the mobile resulted in an unwieldy user interface. Hence, adoption by the user at the LAST MILE was sketchy and low.

However, a new paradigm has emerged in the mobility space, looking at things from the LAST MILE user’s viewpoint. The user now:

• Does not want to bother about how many and what systems are there in the back-end

• Wants a simple intuitive experience which is very “consumer-app” like

• Wants a SINGLE unified interface to work across all applications

• Wants this interface to be available on his PERSONAL mobile device


The LAST MILE app has now taken the center stage, something like a “slack” for the last mile. It is this that now the core back end systems will have to connect to. Fortunately, with the emerging API economy, this is made easily possible.

by: Ravi Chandran, Chief Product Officer, WRKTOP


December 21, 2020

Why the enterprises of today face new challenges at the LAST MILE


We are in the midst of a pandemic of unprecedented proportions. The impact is being felt not only by individuals, families and healthcare specialists but also by the majority of businesses. Companies now have to reach their employees as well as their customers through remote channels.

A lot of effort has gone into not just keeping operations smooth internally but also engaging with the external stakeholders at the LAST MILE. Typical examples of these interactions are Procurement with suppliers, Human Resources with potential recruits, Salespersons with prospects and Customer service reps with their customers.

By far, the most important and impactful of these interactions is with the customers. These days, the term LAST MILE is mostly applied to operations of the EDGE WORKFORCE who collect information or provide an end-point service.

Recent studies have shown that the LAST MILE is always the least efficient part, which may comprise, in some sectors, up to 30% of the total cost of the operation, especially where there is a large EDGE WORKFORCE. Employees spend less than three hours a day completing high-value work. They are being forced to dedicate an immense amount of time to mindless tasks mandated by existing processes.

This leads to longer workdays, creates a sense of poor leadership, and is one of the leading causes of worker burnout. Needless to say, such inefficiency has a substantial negative effect on bottom lines.

The challenge for the business is to enable a large distributed EDGE WORKFORCE to engage with their customers better and making the processes simpler, keeping in mind that we are operating now in a NEW NORMAL.

by: Ravi Chandran, Chief Product Officer, WRKTOP


November 5, 2020