Interhandler takes control of its sales processes

Building a comprehensive CRM solution with Floppy Computer Systems

Published on 07-Dec-2011

Validated on 04 Jun 2013

"We have been able to reduce delivery times by an average of 30 percent... This has really transformed customer service in our company." - Maciej Piatkowski, Head of IT, Interhandler

Customer:
Interhandler

Industry:
Automotive

Deployment country:
Poland

Solution:
Customer Relationship Management, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:
Floppy Computer Systems

Overview

Interhandler is an exclusive authorised distributor of JCB, Rubble Master and SAME vehicles, machinery, equipment and spare parts. Founded more than 20 years ago, Interhandler has grown to become one of Poland’s leading importers; it handles sales, marketing, servicing and support, and has also recently begun dealing in second-hand products. The company employs more than 200 people at 16 branches across the country.

Business need:
Interhandler supplies its customers with specialist imported construction machinery, which is often very expensive and can take several weeks to deliver. The company wanted to accelerate delivery by analysing customer demand patterns, and also wanted to gain greater control of its sales processes.

Solution:
Interhandler implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) solution from Floppy Computer Systems, an IBM Business Partner. The application is built on the IBM Lotus Domino platform and is integrated with MobileServant, a mobile solution from BLC Wireless.

Benefits:
Reduces delivery times by 30 percent by analysing customer data and predicting demand patterns. Automates pricing calculations and the generation of sales documents, saving time and reducing the risk of errors. Introduces approval workflows, giving sales managers greater control over pricing and discounts. Enables easy mobile access, empowering salespeople to work whenever and wherever they like. Provides a single repository for all customer data, eliminating the need for paper files.

Case Study

To read a Polish language version of this case study, please click here.

Interhandler is an exclusive authorised distributor of JCB, Rubble Master and SAME vehicles, machinery, equipment and spare parts. Founded more than 20 years ago, Interhandler has grown to become one of Poland’s leading importers; it handles sales, marketing, servicing and support, and has also recently begun dealing in second-hand products. The company employs more than 200 people at 16 branches across the country.

Modernising business processes
Until recently, the majority of Interhandler’s business processes were decentralised and paper-based; each branch had its own files about local customers, and most processes relied on salespeople filling in paper forms. As the company grew, the increasing volume of paperwork was making it more difficult to manage day-to-day business processes.

“We wanted to modernise our processes, and thus solve some specific problems,” explains Maciej Piatkowski, Head of IT at Interhandler. “For one thing, the machinery that we sell often needs to be customised with specialist add-ons, which can be very expensive. We need to ensure that our salespeople don’t make mistakes when they offer discounts to customers: if they miscalculate the price for a large order, it could lead to significant losses. We wanted to impose greater control on the sales process and ensure that all contracts could be checked and approved by managers.

“A second challenge is delivery times. If a customer orders a specific machine and there are none of that type available, it can take several months to fit all the add-ons and deliver it. This can potentially delay customers’ projects, which has a major impact on their business. To provide a better service, we wanted to find a way to accelerate delivery by analysing past orders, identifying demand patterns, and anticipating what kind of machines would be ordered in the future.”

Finding a partner
The Interhandler team began looking for a partner that could help create a CRM solution to address these issues.

“We spoke to several possible partners, but the team from Floppy Computer Systems (FCS) was by far the best,” comments Maciej Piatkowski. “They really understood what we needed – a solution tailored to our business model and easy to develop for meeting additional business requirements in future.

“After a series of discussions, we handed over a specification document and asked FCS to prepare a presentation. Just two weeks later, they were able to provide a demonstration of what their solution could offer, which gave us complete confidence that they could meet our needs.”

Building on IBM Lotus Notes and Domino
On the basis of the convincing demonstration by FCS, Interhandler decided to go ahead with the project. The two companies worked together closely to develop the new solution, which is built on IBM Lotus Notes and Domino.

“Lotus Notes and Domino is so much more than just an email solution,” explains Maciej Piatkowski. “The ability of Lotus Domino to act as an application server with integrated replication and collaboration features makes it an ideal platform for our solution. Moreover, we found it much more cost-effective than any of the alternative platforms we considered.”

A long-term partnership
Since the initial implementation, FCS has continued to work with Interhandler to extend and develop the solution further.

“We have an excellent relationship with the team from FCS, and we are continually impressed by their approach and professionalism,” says Maciej Piatkowski. “They understand our business so well that I can’t imagine another partner replacing them – and the solutions they develop meet our needs 100 percent.”

Protecting corporate knowledge
The solution provides a central repository for all customer-related information, including contact information, addresses, contracts and other documents, and a complete history of all transactions with Interhandler. It acts as a central knowledge-base for the company, ensuring that sales people and managers can easily find all the information they need about any customer.

“Previously, a lot of the information we had about our customers was held on paper at one of our branches – or even just in the heads of the sales teams!” says Maciej Piatkowski. “Now, we have an easy way to store and retrieve this knowledge, so we are less dependent on individuals and can provide a more consistent level of customer service. It also helps when a new person joins the company – they can find the information they need quickly, without requiring much training or experience.”

Automation and control
The solution also significantly enhances day-to-day operations by automating some of the key sales processes and eliminating paperwork. Sales teams can now calculate prices and discounts for each customer on an individual basis, helping to minimise the risk of mistakes. Moreover, each sales proposal is automatically routed through an approval process, so no deal can go ahead without being approved by a senior sales manager.

“We now have much greater control over the sales process, which greatly reduces the risk of making unprofitable deals,” says Maciej Piatkowski. “We also have a full history of all transactions, which means we can analyse data from previous deals and use it to help us decide on future pricing strategies and discounts.”

Going mobile
FCS has also integrated the CRM application with MobileServant from BLC Wireless, an IBM Business Partner that specialises in mobile information systems. MobileServant enables Interhandler’s sales teams to log into the application from any type of mobile phone or tablet in real time. This allows them to work from anywhere, which is particularly valuable when they are visiting clients since they can generate sales proposals immediately and close deals much more quickly.

Cutting delivery times
Finally, the solution enables Interhandler to react more effectively to fluctuating demand patterns, and to deliver products to customers more quickly.

“We can use the solution to monitor sales patterns and current stock levels, and take all sorts of external factors into consideration – for example, the time of year and whether any EU development grants are available,” explains Maciej Piatkowski. “By analysing all this data, we can get a much more accurate idea of which types of machines our clients are likely to order in the near future – and we can therefore ensure that we have the right products in stock at the right time.”

He concludes: “We have been able to reduce delivery times by an average of 30 percent, minimising delays and ensuring that our clients can start their projects in a more timely manner. Together with all the other advantages of the solution from IBM and Floppy Computer Systems, this has really transformed customer service in our company.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
IBM Notes, IBM Domino

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011. IBM Polska Sp. z o.o., Wiœniowy Business Park, ul. 1 Sierpnia 8, 02-134 Warsaw. Produced in Poland, November 2011. All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and Domino, Lotus, Lotus Notes and Notes are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. MobileServant is a product of BLC Wireless. IBM, BLC Wireless and Floppy Computer Systems are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM, BLC Wireless, nor Floppy Computer Systems makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning each others’ products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.