Published on 26-Aug-2009
Validated on 01 Aug 2013
"IBM Global Business Services created a good solution using SAP Customer Relationship Management: information is now completely transparent, and managers are able to adjust sales and marketing strategies depending on actual data from current purchasing trends." - Angela Dong, Senior Project Manager, B&Q China
IBM Business Partner:
B&Q China, part of Kingfisher Group plc, is one of the top three global decorations and building materials groups. From its headquarters in Shanghai, China, the company operates more than 60 stores in 26 cities in China including Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Qing Dao and Shenzhen. The group employs the equivalent of more than 10,000 full-time staff, serving a marketplace worth around $40 billion.
Businesses and individuals working on refurbishment projects are prime sales opportunities for the Decoration Centers service at B&Q China. However, the workflow designed to track these opportunities relied on paper-based notes of project requirements, status, sales and value, and staff kept diaries to make follow-up calls. Total contract sales data was collected and collated manually, a process that took months, before central departments could analyze the results of marketing campaigns.
Selected IBM Global Business Services to design and implement a solution that would capture the sales opportunities, help to increase revenues, and provide the missing information for the management team. B&Q China implemented SAP Customer Relationship Management on IBM Power Systems servers.
With all customer and project data captured electronically, B&Q China is able to identify the right time to follow up with customers and maximize sales opportunities. B&Q China central management is able to adjust marketing campaigns in response to actual sales made, respond to demand for specific products, and monitor payments and cash flow. The result is that B&Q China is able to tailor its business more closely to the needs of customers, creating a genuine competitive advantage.
B&Q China, part of Kingfisher Group plc in the UK, is one of the top three global decorations and building materials groups. From its headquarters in Shanghai, China, the company operates more than 60 stores in 26 cities in China including Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Qing Dao and Shenzhen. The group employs the equivalent of more than 10,000 full-time staff, serving a marketplace worth around $40 billion.
Decoration Centers at B&Q China provide a start-to-finish renovations service, offering free, personalized design consultancy and advice, helping customers choose materials, set budgets, complete installation and finish projects, with excellent after-sales support. The Decoration Centers attract significant total spend from individuals and businesses, driving sales through the business and attracting repeat purchases.
Prior to engaging with IBM, customer details were held on paper records, with key project milestones used as the triggers to remind customers to return to the stores. It was difficult to share information between the Decorations Center colleagues, such as keeping a record of product recommendations and noting project status, and potential opportunities were not always pursued.
Angela Dong, Senior Project Manager, comments, “A customer usually spends some time consulting with B&Q staff, and may visit other shops to compare prices or consider alternatives. With customer information held on paper, it was all too easy to miss the follow-up sales opportunity to invite them to select B&Q.”
Facing the business challenge
B&Q China was operating SAP R/3 applications on IBM Power Systems servers for business administration and control. While these were very successful, the paper-based workflow within the Decoration Centers meant that financial data was not integrated with central management systems. Reporting on finances and managing stock levels and project sales levels were slow, manual processes that did not serve customers well.
“For the Decoration Centers, an opportunity management solution would help us achieve specific increases in sales, by allowing us to record project status and ensure follow-up actions. Once we had captured these details we wanted a solution that would serve customers better by providing detailed knowledge of stock levels and replenishment times, and, of course, accurate pricing, across all our stores,” says Angela Dong.
“Our criteria were that the solution must integrate with our existing SAP applications and with our current EPOS and card payment transaction systems.”
Selecting IBM Global Business Services
To identify the best option, B&Q China selected IBM Global Business Services as its design, implementation and consultancy partner.
“We felt that IBM Global Business Services offered the best understanding of the project requirements: they knew the key systems to be integrated, and demonstrated extensive knowledge of SAP applications in the retail environment,” says Angela Dong.
“On IBM’s recommendation, we chose SAP Customer Relationship Management. The integration requirements were that much easier, and it offered a stable and reliable platform that is ideal for future expansion, all of which were very important selection criteria.”
IBM Global Business Services worked closely with B&Q China as a unified team to design, specify and implement the complete solution. Based on IBM Power Systems 570 servers, the revised SAP application landscape includes SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM), SAP applications and SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, with additional integration services for EPOS payment card transactions using IBM WebSphere Interchange Server.
“We have moved all the paper-based opportunity management into SAP CRM, preserving the successful business model for the Decoration Centers,” explains Angela Dong.
“With customer purchasing and renovations project data captured, we can automate the essential workflow steps, such as project status and reminders, helping us improve our sales management process and increase revenues.”
Generating new opportunities
Approximately 1,500 staff in more than 60 branches use the sales, contract and opportunity management features within the SAP CRM application. Purchase histories and project milestones are recorded, capturing visits and calls in the system after signing contract.
This data helps the company to track project status and ensure high quality, and service calls of this nature also help to improve customer satisfaction levels. The solution includes client budgeting and design management, which allows staff to improve the efficiency of the Decorations Centers service.
“The focus of the Decorations Center is very much on business opportunity management, is similar to a contract management process rather than direct consumer sales,” comments Angela Dong.
“Everyone knows that customers are the most valuable resources for a company, especially in the current economic environment. The ultimate objective is to improve customer service as much as possible, to attract customers and ensure competitive differentiation in the industry.
“For example, our warranty schemes include customer visits three months after projects are completed – this is a very personal part of the service. This reassures customers about working with B&Q, and also presents us with new sales opportunities. By automating the reminders process, we aim to increase our visit fulfillment rates and improve sales by providing valuable post-sale customer service.”
Increasing customer satisfaction
“The SAP applications have enormously enhanced the customer experience when choosing materials and scheduling their building projects,” says Angela Dong. “We now also generate electronic contracts and booking, which help to reduce the paperwork, and the data contained in confirmed orders is available for analysis in SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse.”
B&Q uses the sales confirmation data to control its finances more effectively. Client payments for materials to B&Q can be scheduled automatically, and payments to suppliers are included in the central cash flow forecasting reports generated by the SAP financials application.
“IBM Global Business Services created a good solution using SAP CRM: information is now completely transparent, and managers are able to adjust sales and marketing strategies depending on actual data from current purchasing trends.
“Rather than having to wait for data to be consolidated by hand at the store level and sent to the head office, which in the past took up to three months, we have immediate visibility of the number of orders or contracts placed every month and the products they contain. In turn, this allows us to allocate resources such as the designer, materials and finances in a rational way.
“For example, for major refurbishments there are staged deliveries of materials with construction team visits. We now automatically dispatch the orders and schedule the staff, making the best use of our resources and staff in the most cost-efficient manner, and ensuring that materials are delivered on site at the right moment.”
Angela Dong is certain that the integrated SAP CRM application will enable B&Q China to improve both customer satisfaction and management efficiency, on the stable and secure IBM infrastructure.
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