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Dealing with Employees/Managing field sales staff selling FMCG products


Please suggest what is the most efficient way to manage, motivate and control field sales staff selling products on carts, vans, etc.
Motivation is definitely one critical aspect, However what I intend to understand is how do we control and monitor and manage them on a daily basis.
If they are selling say Ice Creams on a cart, how do we control how much has been sold on a daily basis. How do we keep a record and control of money collection that has happened on a daily basis.
How do they restock themselves on a daily or ad hoc basis.

Since it involves dealing with not so well to do people, the tendency of they compromising on their integrity is higher, thus increasing the risk of manipulations and fraudulent practices. Though this might not be true for all.
What is more advisable - To do stock taking on a daily basis with them, or may be twice a week or so.
Please note that I seek answers to these queries in Indian Business scenario which might be slightly different from that in the US.

Dear Anurag:

Thanks for your question.  My management expertise is relevant to most industries.  However, I suggest that you contact someone on LinkedIn who has specific industry experience with cart sales.  

With that caveat, I believe I can help you with some of your questions.

1) Hire or contract with a police trained polygraph (lie detector) testing expert to test all of your cart vendors BEFORE you hire them.  This way, you will know who has a basic level of honesty with your inventory and money collection.

2) I recommend a process of daily inventory reconciliation and balancing of the cash drawer. You need to make this a routing part of their daily pickup of new inventory.  Perhaps scheduling this routine at day's end every day would keep everyone honest and on top of their inventory/cash levels.

3) Your warehouse team needs to be trained in taking inventory of all items sold and reconciling these sales to specific cash till levels.  This inventory process should always include a cart business manager/owners and a lower level accounting trained employee.  The reason for 2 inventory people is for what is called proper "dual controls" when dealing with cash and inventory that is easily pilfered.  Exact records should be kept on computers for each cart vendor's daily Inventory IN and Cash IN levels which would be compared at the next day's end to the same vendor's Inventory OUT and Cash OUT levels when he returns to the warehouse to be replenished.

4) As for motivation, I recommend some kind of Profit Sharing System.  Devise a formula that shares a percentage of their weekly/monthly sales with each vendor.  This positively motivates employees / contractors in 2 ways: First, it gives them a reason to sell more.  Second, it demonstrates to them that the owners of the cart business are willing to build a long-term relationship with successful, motivated, and honest vendors.

5) If you can, station each cart at a heavily trafficked intersection or shopping mall areas.  And, if at all possible, position them so that they can be easily observed via a wifi enabled security camera system.  This way, you can protect from thieves, bandits, hooligans, or pilfering by your vendor.

Anurag, I hope this response helped you.  Please feel free to write me again for clarifications of the above.  Also, please visit my website (a href="">) to learn more or, better yet, buy my book "Natural Born Manager" there.  You can also download my FREE managerial tools, including my extremely popular “Manager-Supervisor Rating Tool,” from my BOX folder at(<a href="">). Finally, in my book, you'll find many helpful ideas similar to those presented here, ideas that will empower you to resolve your most difficult career and work related challenges.  The best of luck to you!


Ed Parr

Dealing with Employees

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Ed Parr


How to organize employees, how to stop infighting, how to handle problem employees, and more. I have 25+ yrs. of managing within a variety of industries and labor environments. I have managed from 50 to 1,000 staff on projects with P&L responsibility ranging from $100K to $30MIL. I currently serve as a management consultant to business and government. I enjoy helping people, especially supervisors and managers, evolve in their careers.


Over 15 years of senior management experience including: systems development, technical help desks, customer service, back-office operations, branch administration and regulatory compliance. Responsibilities have been as large as 1,000 professionals delivering projects with P&L as high as $30 million and assets totaling more than $10 billion. Customer interaction has ranged from customer service reps to CEOs. Greatest accomplishment: Helping employees be all they can be.

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Purchase my book "NATURAL BORN MANAGER" at (get a 10% discount via the Pay-It-Forward link).

A graduate With Distinction of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Ed is a 35-year veteran of organizational leadership. He is a Certified Management Accountant (C.M.A) who has worked in management positions ranging from team leader to senior executive. He has managed as many as 1,000 employees deployed in multi-site facilities and consulted with or managed for both large and small organizations including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, E.D.S., PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Sprint Corporation. In addition, Ed is an 10-year contributor to as a pro bono management expert, advising managers, supervisors, and employees around the globe providing them practical solutions to their everyday workplace challenges. Finally, Ed is an avowed Accountability Manager who strives to learn and educate others about the fundamental truths of management.

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