Workflow System and Marketing Database

Workflow and Marketing Administration System with Integrated Diary

ALR Services procure competitively priced, high quality PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). The company has grown to become one of the largest independent PCB suppliers in Europe, with customers across multiple industry sectors, and a reputation for value for money, quality and timely delivery.

The Problem

The in-house workflow database had been developed over 18 years, evolving organically to meet needs as they arose. Although this contained key data, there were now a number of areas that were no longer used or had become obsolete.

Our client needed to upgrade to later versions of Office, as well as make further fundamental changes to the system. For instance, navigation through the application had become difficult. Further development was problematic, however, due to the complex nature of the existing application, and the fact that the underlying database structure had not evolved sufficiently.

They also ran a separate off the shelf CRM system. Most of the functionality, however, was not relevant to their business. Nor did this integrate with their production system.

The marketing/sales process needed to be streamlined, as staff were not easily able to track marketing activity against quotes generated within the workflow system. With separate systems, it was not possible to track the results of the quoting process, for instance to determine which factors helped win or lose sales. Appointment booking functionality was needed in order to facilitate this process.

A marketing administration system was therefore needed to collate this information, integrating both CRM and quoting functionality, in order to monitor and manage marketing and quoting activity, and thereby improve success.

The Solution

The first step was to stabilise their existing software application to allow the upgrade to the latest version of Office. In addition, we optimised the data model within the existing application to increase the speed.

We kept the original backend database so the team could continue to operate on the stabilised front-end. At the same time, we developed a new front-end workflow system that would more accurately reflect the way staff worked.

The new system has streamlined the workflow process, from quotation to order, through manufacture to dispatch. This begins with defining customer requirements for PCB specification, then gathering quotations from suppliers, selecting the most cost-effective supplier, converting quotations to orders, monitoring the manufacturing process, and despatching received PCBs to their customers.

It has a new consistent task-oriented user interface that has overwhelmingly sped up all aspects of their work. Staff no longer have to navigate through different screens to accomplish what they needed to do, and instead they are led through uniform procedures for each specific tasks.

We incorporated marketing administration functionality seamlessly into the existing workflow database. Staff are now able to track activity with individual customer contacts.

A specific quote chasing screen has been added to allow their sales agents to view all relevant information relating to currently active quotes. Lost quotes can easily be categorised and subsequently audited to better improve the quoting process.

The new integrated diary and booking system facilitates the easy logging of sales calls, as well as the booking of follow up call-backs. Customer interactions are now logged together with a call result code for auditing purposes. Activity can be reviewed by individual contacts, collectively by customer, or in a visual day or multi-day week view.

Scheduled follow-up calls appear automatically in the diary calendar day/week view, so sales agents can see work allocated in the future. The calendar view has quick links to the customer and quote details related to each call back.