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The rural connection

Gunjan Trivedi | Feb. 18, 2009
Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services empowered its field force with handhelds, creating 3,000 mini-branches in nine months, and reaped new business benefits.

With handhelds at their disposal, a collection executive gets details of the consumers beforehand, enabling him to plan his time and route appropriately. Once on-site, he can either issue receipts to the consumer from the attached thermal ink printer after collecting an EMI payment. He can also create information trails, address business queries, record customer commitments and note relevant information for further follow-ups, undertaken with the customer at his doorstep.

All this information, riding on a GPRS network, is updated on Mahindra Finance's central servers directly from the device. This provides business heads -- from the controllers of the collection team to senior management -- with up-to-date status in real time.

Once an executive is back at the branch, the cash collected is deposited with an accountant, who in turn updates the systems. The automated MIS management based on online data flow enables the enterprise to have complete visibility of cashflow. This has a bigger impact than most people assume as the typical size of an EMI is between Rs 10,000 (US$205) to about Rs 2 lakh. The enterprise can leverage the information captured right from the door-step of a customer to adequately plan business actions and maximize ROI.

Chain of Rewards

MFConnect-3000 eased Mahindra Finance's operations. But that was not it. It brought with it an additional set of benefits.

Capturing data on-site ensures the security of payment-related information in case of a loss of manual receipts. The errors at the time of capturing information are avoided by having a customer crosscheck his details. It also takes away the duplication of work by data entry operators. The day-end cash handover process and the collection of post-disbursement documents and renewal follow-ups have also been made easier.

"This made sure that we are able to relieve significant back-office strength to attend to other critical business activities. This has reduced our turn-around time on addressing customer queries and requirements by about 75 percent. Moreover, monthly closing of financial books happens on time, without too much of a stress on both human resources and technology infrastructure," says Shanmugam.

The efficiency and performance of the collection teams can also be examined through timely information updates coming in from their devices. An executive's incentive is also automatically measured using the data related to the cash collection being captured by the handheld devices. "We justify the efforts of executives to update information and aid timely reconciliation and closing of books as an 'earn-for- yourself' endeavor," says Shanmugam. "Ever since the launch of the handheld devices, we have had proper updates directly from the field, minute by minute. We tactically capture these updates into our system to generate various types of MIS reports for senior management to address various business scenarios with lower turnaround time," points out Khalid Abdul, business project head (mobility), Mahindra Finance.


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