Frito-Lay, Inc.

America's snack-food leader uses technology to help its sales reps sell products better and manage inventory more effectively — Frito-Lay knows that delivering good information promotes clear communication and smart decision-making.

Filament developed an interface for Frito's RSR handheld that's compact, focused, quickly understood, and easily rebrandable for other businesses in the PepsiCo family.

Frito-Lay has long been a leader in using technologies to support its sales force: Frito's Route Sales Representatives have used handhelds to support order and inventory management for decades. Frito decided to upgrade to a new device with a much larger screen; they had seen Filament's work with Stop & Shop's Shopping Buddy wireless grocery shopping interface and approached us for advice about interface best practices in a retail environment.

Filament Group worked closely with Frito-Lay's trainers to document how RSRs used the current device to accomplish goals, and shadowed RSRs in the field as they went through their workday. And we talked with the business teams to understand new strategic initiatives they would roll out on the updated device.

We developed an interface system model designed to quickly deliver information about the priority, status, sequence and importance of specific functionality to help RSRs work more effectively. We then extended this system model into detailed screens designed for a wireless PocketPC-based workforce automation tool that combined optimized template layouts and targeted visual cues (including element size, color, and contrast), to support sales, inventory management, and productivity tracking for Frito-Lay's 16,000 in-field route sales reps.

The online development toolkit provides key information for both business analysts and technologists to develop and extend the system.

As the details of the system design came together, Frito commissioned an external development company to develop and integrate the application. Filament Group developed a detailed online developer toolkit with specifications, downloadable assets, and explanations of interaction norms.

In addition, Filament built a fully interactive HTML prototype that concretely demonstrated business rules, data requirements and interaction functionality. We handed HTML templates to Frito's business analysts, who customized the screens to document key workflows in detail and incorporated those screens directly into functional specifications documents.

This functioning prototype also worked double-duty as a demo system for usability testing, for both experienced RSRs and new recruits in training. Frito's business strategy teams developed new requirements for enhanced functionality, and Filament quickly turned them into working screens to put in front of users for validation and feedback.

Simultaneously, Frito's internal development teams leveraged key ideas from the RSR system model for a companion laptop application for District Sales Leads. Filament consulted on usability and recommended some simple modifications to the system model to accommodate some key distinctions, including a different device format (laptop vs. PocketPC), connectivity (DSL's web-based system vs. the handheld's closed system), and user activities (DSLs frequently multitask, while RSRs complete discreet activities).