Fast moving consumer goods demand an agile, fast-paced, mobile environment.

NetTrace works with this FMCG client to keep its rented IT assets secure while creating a trusted intelligence base from which to manage these same assets as they move through their lifecycle for the best possible Return on Investment. 


About FMCG


South African FMCG, the client has an annual turnover of over R9 billion and employs over 7 000 people across its various operations across South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho. 

Intent on becoming a leading FMCG player in its chosen geographies, the company has diversified its traditional business to explore lucrative opportunities in the home and personal care as well as confectionery.


The Challenge


Renting assets can make good economic sense. It maximises purchasing power, frees up capital for profit generation, and because it enables access to the latest technology and equipment, it drives competitive advantage. 

It does, however, require sound management practices. 

Rental contracts need to be negotiated, reviewed, and renewed. Goods received need to be onboarded, managed throughout their lifecycle, and ultimately recalled, returned, and refreshed. This admin–intensive process demands accurate and robust inventory controls that not only track assets but ensure they are being used appropriately for optimal return on investment. 

These are challenges that our client—a leading player in SA’s FMCG sector —deals with daily. The company’s IT Manager and team are responsible for managing relationships with multiple vendors and the movement of several thousand individual assets across 52 sites around southern Africa. It’s a full-time job that leaves little room for error.

The company’s IT assets are particularly vulnerable. Mobility introduces an even greater risk of loss, theft, and damage. High value and rapid depreciation mean these assets can’t afford to be idle or be used for purposes other than for what they were appropriated without negatively affecting ROI.

IT assets are also more complicated to track during their lifecycle. A laptop or PC is often used by multiple individuals during its contract term and moves location several times. Without a real-time understanding of who has it and where it is, it’s difficult to recall the asset at the end of its contract. This incurs unnecessary costs in the form of penalties and may have a negative impact on vendor relationships.

The greatest challenges come at the start and end of the company’s rental contracts. Errors made at onboarding perpetuate inaccuracies for the duration of the contract and many of these discrepancies happen because of human error. For example, when someone captures a serial number incorrectly, the business could end up being unable to account for an asset that, through an administrative error, was never actually delivered by the vendor. 


The Solution


NetTrace Enterprise Asset Management (NAM) is a dynamic cloud-based service that works with a client’s existing datasets to help track and trace physical assets as they move through the asset lifecycle—from planning right through to eventual retirement. 

Building on principals of electronic and automated asset inventory data collection, NAM ensures tracked asset data is tamperproof and duplicate-free and enables the automatic creation of an audit trail in real-time.

The first step to ensuring control of IT inventory is establishing an accurate up-to-date list of assets. When the client acquires new hardware, for example, there may be several hundred units that need to be on-boarded at one time. NAM provides an automated online update of the asset list directly from the vendor’s own document system—a hassle-free process that saves the business a significant amount of time.

The structured verification business process management housed within NAM ensures only validated asset details are captured electronically in the client’s SAP system, while barcode scanners and mobile scanning applications replace the manual capture of electronic vendor documentation. Native intelligence ensures inconsistencies are not only identified but also amended immediately to guarantee data integrity for accurate inventory management going forward. NAM continues to integrate live updated contract information throughout the contract lifecycle. 

Meanwhile, persistent tracking technology provides the business with a real-time inventory audit of its computer devices—as opposed to only at audit time or at the end of a refresh cycle. Because this inventory is matched to the rental schedules received from the business’s many vendors, it creates a closed-loop system that is easy to manage and control.

NetTrace offers the ability to manage the client’s complete asset lifecycle using a single, seamless, easy to use system. Interactive dashboards allow administrators the freedom to manipulate data and extract the intelligence they need. The reports retrieved from the system are impressive and deliver great value.

To date, NetTrace retains tracking records for around 6,560 of this FMCG company’s rented assets, with around 1 450 current active assets under life-cycle management and data protection. The client also enjoys great peace of mind through persistent endpoint security and data risk management. Anytime there is a device out there in the market, it’s vulnerable. It’s not just the cost to replace the asset but also the sensitive data on that device. With the POPI Act coming into effect, information security and regulatory compliance is more important than ever. Our client needs to demonstrate its ability to protect its information or face hefty fines. Through NetTrace, the business can track and trace any machine preloaded with the agent, regardless of location. If at risk, the machine can be either locked or wiped remotely, generating an electronic audit certificate for data compliance management records. 

This keeps the business’s data assets safe, 100% of the time—even if physical assets are lost or stolen.


Value derived


Accurate intelligence drives smarter inventory and rental management


Our client has several different tiers of IT assets for different users in its business. It uses NetTrace to ensure that its people have the right tools for their job and that they’re not exposed to risk resulting from dated technology. It can also track that assets are properly maintained and thus returned in an optimal condition at the end of their contract. 

While the solution doesn’t have a direct impact on the bottom line, it does help the business curtail unnecessary spend and hidden expenses - including penalties. 

With a clear understanding of IT assets, the IT Manager can easily see what is being used by whom as well as the current location and status. This improved visibility around what needs to be refreshed and the associated timelines helps plan recalls with time to spare. It also becomes simple to identify which assets are idle and need to be reassigned or returned. 

While these insights are used in day-to-day operations, they also add great value to the forecasting and budgeting process. The business has the visibility it needs to see assets on a granular level and can plan much more accurately, managing spend as it goes.


Multi-vendor management


Our client makes use of several preferred vendors for IT assets. While many vendors offer their own management systems, they lack interoperability with one another creating silos—and risk.

Through NetTrace, the business can manage multiple vendors with a single tool. Applying consistent methodologies across all rental contracts lowers complexity and improves visibility for better informed financial decision making. 

It also contributes to an already powerful reporting capability, which has been tailored to accommodate the business’s specific needs through a user-friendly dashboard. 

For example, the regular insurance evaluations with its auditors are a business requirement. Extensive asset lists that were perpetually outdated made this process a daunting task and took weeks of laborious manual tracking to complete. With NetTrace, this is completed in less than a day, and is populated with 100% trusted, validated information. 


A robust and responsive partnership 


For our client, it is critical that suppliers understand its business and the parameters within which it operates. The FMCG industry sets a relentless pace. It’s live 24/7, operating throughout the night, on weekends, and often from remote locations. This makes reliability doubly important.  We have made certain they know they can contact us at any time, and we will be accessible.

In a high volume, low margin industry, every cent is scrutinised. This client is no different and expects continual validation of the value delivered. To ensure expectations are met, NetTrace continually analyses how the client uses its services and looks for ways to improve. Because NetTrace has never been focused on just selling a product, we have become trusted advisors to the business, working with the client to create a proactive approach to identify risk and how best to protect their environment.’