Gibus S.p.A.: management of sales orders integrated with smeup on AS/400 and Salesforce

gestione-integrata-ordini-vendita-gibus

www.gibus.com

Image credits: Gibus

Operating sector: interior design
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Gibus S.p.A. is a leading company in Italy in the design and production of awnings, pergolas, bioclimatic pergolas and performance blinds, with a qualified network of resellers in Italy and internationally. This company is highly focused on innovation and its clients and, as it has to handle a volume of 300-400 jobs per day, it felt the need to optimise the management of its daily workflow and the interaction with clients. One of the strategic processes for the company is sales order management: this is a complex flow, which involves various departments and parties, with a continuous exchange of information and documents with the company ERP (smeup on AS400), the CRM (Salesforce) and clients. This gave rise to the need to rework and fully digitise order management to:

  • simplify the exchange of documents and information with the various parties involved (personnel in the various company departments, clients and agents) and with other company applications
  • guide personnel in the various process phases
  • aggregate all the documents in a single area
  • always have full, constant control over the progress of the order and on deadlines.

Gibus found Arket to be the partner best suited to its needs, with which to take this journey: after an initial analysis of the workflows, together we decided to leverage the Globe document intelligence platform to manage the entire complex workflow regarding sales orders.

This made it possible to optimise interactions with clients, reduce the time needed to manage orders and acquire full control over the progress of processes.

Scroll down to read all about the project

Gibus is an innovative company focused on clients, and thanks to this project, it has taken an additional important step forward in this area. Deciding to digitise and structure a complex, strategic process such as order management in the Globe platform, the company was able to obtain many benefits:

  • The Sales Office always has full control over the progress of each order and the full chronology of all events involving the order (changes in status, reprocessing, exchanges of information with the client, etc.)
  • The integration with other company applications (smeup ERP on AS/400 and Salesforce CRM) automated the exchange of documents and information, ensuring constant alignment between these three tools, and freeing up personnel from time-consuming manual operations to the benefit of more strategic activities.
  • The people that work in the Sales/Commercial Office are supported in carrying out the operations necessary to manage the order, and are only involved at the time their contribution is required within the process.
  • Alerts keep operators always updated on the orders under their responsibility.
  • The exchange of documents and information between the various parties involved (personnel in the various company departments, clients and agents) is quick and efficient, as are the approval processes.
  • All the documents necessary to manage the order are collected in a single area and grouped according to pre-defined logics, simplifying and significantly facilitating the management, search and execution of checks.
  • This guarantees a better customer experience, through a dedicated, structured channel and transparent, shared management of the order: during each step, the client promptly receives all the documents, information and updates regarding their order, from the initial request up to the confirmation. This way, sales personnel also manage many fewer requests for information and documentation from clients.
  • All the steps in the process are tracked: this makes it possible to analyse performance, verify the achievement of the set targets, reconstruct the events related to each order and anticipate any critical issues.
  • Digital management of orders makes it possible to provide precious, timely information in support of production planning.
  • Using the visual dashboards, it is much simpler to manage the workload of the sales staff and take decisions regarding the fulfilment of order requests.
  • Automatic e-mails and reminders save a great deal of time in the management of the order and always ensure that deadlines are met.

Given the results obtained due to implementing this project, Gibus has planned further upgrades for managing the sales order cycle with Globe:

  • Management of sales offers (upstream of sales orders)
  • Integration with the Gibus client portal to make it possible to consult documents

The solution, in detail…

In Gibus, there are two channels that can be used for a client order request to reach Globe:

  • an e-mail account dedicated to orders was set up, from which Globe can automatically acquire requests
  • the Sales Office personnel can manually enter in Globe the order requests received through other channels (for ex. phone calls or faxes) by filling in the specific form

In both cases, Globe captures the order request and automatically transforms it into a PDF document (in which any attachments in the e-mail are inserted).

Once the request has been acquired, Globe attempts to associate a client in the CRM (Salesforce) with the sender of the e-mail received: if the address is present in Salesforce, it is initially automatically sorted between the areas Italy and Abroad, which are managed by two different order management teams.

If the e-mail address is not recognised, the request is associated with an <undefined> area and a task is activated that notifies the office personnel to manually associate a client with that e-mail address. Once this association has been made, the operator can request that the contact information is automatically added also in Salesforce to those regarding the selected client, due to the integration between Globe and the CRM.

Once the association between the request and the client has been made, a task involves the sorters, which analyse the request and can:

  • assign it to one or more operators, who are in charge of preparing the sales orders (each operator will be in charge of a specific part of the request)
  • cancel the request and categorise it based on the reason (for ex. double request – in this case, it can be associated with the first request – or with another type of request not linked to orders, received by mistake at the account dedicated to orders).

At this point in the process, the sorter assigns product macrocategories to each request, indicating the quantity for each: this makes it possible to give the systems a general idea of the workload that will arrive in production and, thus, optimise planning. The assignment of these categories also makes it possible to automatically estimate the time needed for each associate in the Sales Office to manage the order request, as each macrocategory is associated with an estimate of the managing time. These estimates are shown in the dedicated visual dashboard, which supports the sorter in selecting the operator to whom to assign the request: it makes it possible to easily identify the workload already assigned to each operator and, thus, avoid overloading people who already have many requests or highly burdensome requests to handle.

Specifically, for each operator, you can view:

  • Actual vs. estimated processing time: a chart compares the actual processing time to the estimated processing time. The latter represents the estimated remaining processing time to handle the request (which decreases as time goes by, only during working hours, and with the management of Saturdays/Sundays/holidays)
  • Details of actual work: derives from the requests assigned and not yet completed, and the “weight” attributed to each one. For each person, by selecting the specific column of the chart, you can examine all the assigned requests and the management situation (time remaining to complete the activity, which decreases based on a formula defined in the configuration phase, as the request moves through various statuses and, thus, as the various steps of the order management workflow are completed).

Once the request is assigned to one or more operators, a task is automatically launched for each operator, to guide them in managing the request and keep track of the progress:

  1. As the first step, in Globe, the operator opens the screen of the ERP smeup and creates the sales order for the portion assigned to the operator or for the entirety of the request.
  2. Thanks to the integration between Globe and the ERP, once the order has been entered in smeup, Globe receives a notification and automatically moves the status of the request forward.
  3. The ERP prints out the sales order in PDF, which is automatically acquired by Globe and linked to the related order request.

The sales order is developed into three different PDF versions:

  • Commercial Order: for internal use
  • Order Proposal: document that is sent to the client for acceptance
  • Order Confirmation: the confirmation to be sent to the client when they accept the proposal

At this point, a workflow is triggered that entails various steps and a continuous exchange of information with the ERP and the client. From Globe, the personnel in the Gibus Sales Office always have full, constant control over the progress of orders.

The commercial order for internal use is printed and managed: Gibus often works on the project and, thus, often has to repeatedly rework the proposal, inserting drawings, doodles and notes. Once the processing of the proposal is completed, the commercial order filled out is scanned in and automatically associated as the signed copy, using a bar code, to the original PDF.

Where the project does not require specific reworking or analysis, the order is confirmed directly in the ERP: the confirmation is communicated via webservice to Globe and the document status changes to “Preparation Complete”.

The sales order can also be accompanied by a set of production documents which provide more details of the proposal (technical documents, waivers for specific requests, etc.): these documents can be produced by the ERP and automatically acquired by Globe, or manually entered using drag & drop. For each document, there is a flag that indicates whether it must be sent to the client along with the order proposal.

Once the commercial order moves to the status “Preparation Complete”, different processes can be implemented:

  • A preview of the order proposal is sent to the client for acceptance
  • The operator sends the order proposal to the client for acceptance
  • The order confirmation is sent directly to the client

During the phase of defining the definitive version of the order proposal together with the client, the personnel of the Sales Office can send a preview of the order proposal.

By selecting the specific action in Globe, a screen opens where the operator can fill out and personalise the various parts of the e-mail that Globe will then automatically assemble and send.

The client receives the e-mail containing a link to view the proposal on their browser and interact with the approval workflow.

If the order proposal is accepted, the operator receives a notification, the acceptance is communicated to the ERP and the client is sent aconfirmation of receipt of the acceptance, containing the order proposal and the attachments selected to be sent, to which a digital stamp is automatically affixed (which contains the e-mail address to which the proposal was sent and the date and time of acceptance).

The actual order will be sent subsequently, at the discretion of the manager of the order, who, through a manual action in the ERP, activates the sending of the document from Globe.

Once the preparation of the order has been completed, the operator uses the ERP to indicate that the proposal can be sent to the client and this information is also passed to Globe via webservice.

At this point, Globe fully automatically creates a single PDF containing the order proposal and all the technical attachments that were flagged to be sent to the client.

Thus, an automatic e-mail is sent to the client, containing a link they can use to view the proposal in their browser and interact with the approval workflow that was triggered. The e-mail also notifies the client of the date of ex stock availability for the product requested in the event that they accept the proposal on the same day.

The client has three options:

  • accept the proposal: in this case, Globe notifies the manager of the order and the ERP of the acceptance. The order status is thus updated and production planning is implemented, to begin processing the product. The client is automatically sent the PDF version of the “order confirmation” via e-mail, a PDF copy of the original request and all the other attachments, on which Globe affixes a digital stamp that contains the e-mail address to which the proposal was sent and the date and time of acceptance. The “order confirmation” contains the date of ex stock availability (which can be the date sent in the proposal, if accepted on the same day, or a recalculated date).
  • request a change, with the option to enter a note and attachments. The information in the note is automatically entered in the proposal, while the documentation sent by the client is attached to the order proposal. This way, all the requests for changes and related documents are tracked in Globe. As in the case of acceptance, a notification is sent to the manager of the order.
  • reject the proposal, entering the reason in a note. The manager of the order is notified of the rejection, and removes the order from production planning.

If the client orders a standard product (for ex. a remote control), which requires no design and approval process, the order confirmation is directly sent. Sending the order confirmation is triggered by the ERP smeup, which, via webservice, requests that Globe send the document to the client.

Automatic reminders

The approval process also entails various automatic “reminder” steps, in which different texts can be configured for the e-mails, depending on the situation:

  • Starting from the second day without a response, an e-mail is automatically sent, which solicits approval every day, each with a different text.
  • After 4 days without a response, an automatic e-mail informs the client that too many days have passed, and from this point, they will be able to only request updates on the order and enter a note. An automatic e-mail is also sent to the agent for the area, so that they can contact the client to understand the reason for no response.
  • After 10 days without a response, the ERP is notified that the proposal has expired, and the order is cancelled.

Each day, before sending the reminder e-mail, Globe queries the ERP to verify whether the date of ex stock availability provided initially is still valid. If it is no longer valid, Globe requests, via webservice, that the ERP reschedule the date, acquires the PDF of the order confirmation with the new date and sends the proposal e-mail with the updated date of ex stock availability. This way, personnel do not have to reschedule the order in the ERP and then reacquire all the updated documents, as Globe automatically carries out all the necessary updates.

Changes to the order

In any of the steps described above, a request for changes to the order can be received by the ERP. Depending on the type of changes:

  • in Globe, all the information is reset and the platform waits for a new version of the PDF from the ERP. Once the new PDF has been received, the workflow restarts.
  • a slight change can be invoked which entails the reacquisition by Globe of the PDF of the order confirmation and it being automatically sent to the client.

Reporting tool for agents

Each day, the agents receive an Excel report automatically generated by Globe, containing all the order confirmations sent during the day, with the client details and order amounts.

Dossiers

In Globe, in addition to the documentation regarding the requests and the order confirmations, an entire set of documents are archived, including production jobs, transport documents, etc. Globe thus automatically creates a Dossier (the digital equivalent of the large folders of documents) for each contract, containing all the documents regarding the contract, broken down by type.

Log of changes and progress of requests

Globe contains a log that records all the progress of the request and the order and their timestamps: this way, Gibus keeps track of the entire life cycle of the order and any reworking. This raw data can be transformed into more structured data, and represents information useful for marketing and management control, to conduct any statistical analyses (for ex. average time from the receipt of the request to the finalisation of order and acceptance, reasons why the client requested changes and what impacts the changes in list prices had on orders).

Multilingual management

As the company has clients and resellers throughout the world, for all system e-mails, the web interface and digital stamps affixed on the documents, multilingual management has been configured (6 languages are currently managed).

Views of tasks and requests

In Globe, various “views” have been configured of pending tasks and requests that are in a specific status, to provide additional support to operators in carrying out their assigned activities.

“Gibus’ Sales Office processes 300-400 jobs per day, and with the evolution of the product, client relations have become more complex. The adoption of remote work due to COVID-19 gave an additional boost to the need to digitise order management. This led to the meeting with Arket and the launch, in just a few months, of a project with an international scope, strongly supported by the management. Globe helped us to mask the complexities, dialoguing with the ERP to manage and automate the various steps of the process. As a result, we improved the customer experience: if before clients waited up to 10 days, now they receive an immediate response with a chronological record number and name of their contact person. This means that requests for information decreased, and became more specific. By digitally managing the process, we can collect crucial information and statistics in order to get ahead of any problems. Previously, the workload was measured in centimetres of paper piled up on our desks. Now it is assessed on our monitors and distributed based on the tasks already assigned. Lastly, the approval flows that involve foreign clients also obtained significant benefits from this project, due to the multilingual management of communications, alerts and web interfaces.”

Alberto Bottelli – IT Manager of Gibus S.p.A.

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Discover the platform we used to implement the management of sales orders integrated with smeup on AS400 and Salesforce in Gibus S.p.A.

One Suite, four platforms, unlimited solutions

Discover the platform we used to implement the management of sales orders integrated with smeup on AS400 and Salesforce in Gibus S.p.A.

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