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Color Compass Corporation Case Study

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Color Compass Corporation

Color Compass Corporation is a provider of paints and related supplies to the collision repair industry, chains, and channel sales distributors throughout Canada. The company has grown significantly through acquisitions and now operates six companies with 30 locations and more than 200 employees.

Business Situation

Color Compass is known for its high level of customer service, where sales representatives maintain very close working relationships. As “trusted resources” they have in-depth knowledge of their customers’ needs, including their product and inventory requirements. Many of the company’s sales reps visit their customers on a weekly basis to evaluate their inventory and place replenishment orders. This method of doing business proved increasingly successful for Color Compass throughout the years; however, it has also presented challenges.

Historically, sales reps in the field recorded sales orders on paper and then called an internal order desk and relayed the order over the phone. The internal sales associate at the order desk recorded the order a second time on paper and followed that up by entering it into Microsoft Dynamics NAV, the company’s ERP system. Across the entire process the same data was entered three times. This process was time consuming and susceptible to errors – errors that could result in more lost time, lost sales, and unhappy or lost customers.

To enhance their business Color Compass decided to explore automating the sales order process by implementing a solution for use in the field. They were looking for a solution that was:

  • Built upon a similar philosophy as Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Clean and simple under the hood and could be easily tailored to fit the way Color Compass does business
  • Easily modified to meet corporate standards and to ensure usability
  • Easily integrated with the user interface developed by Color Compass
  • Optimized for fast, reliable performance on mobile computers

Solution

The objective of the Sales Force Automation (SFA) project was to enhance customer service levels, facilitate more efficient use of resources, and increase accuracy, all at a lower cycle time.

Carmen Stanciulescu, Systems Architect for Color Compass, had worked for a Microsoft Dynamics NAV partner in the past. Being familiar with NAV and complementary ISV products, she spearheaded an initiative to find an SFA solution for the field. Carmen and Senior IT Specialist Jim Balch evaluated several approaches and products. They found that each was either lacking in one or more of the criteria. The exception was ExpandIT Mobile Sales. After reviewing its capabilities, Color Compass made the decision to implement the solution and integrate it with its field user interface.

We liked ExpandIT because it provided us with a very simple and reliable middleware solution. It was easy to set up, yet flexible enough to accommodate all the functionality that we needed. It helped us eliminate manual processes while improving service quality and information accuracy to our customers

ExpandIT was:

  • Optimized for fast, reliable performance on mobile computers
  • Reliable and fast in its ability to communicate information between the mobile computers and the NAV system at the company’s main office. This requirement was especially important so that orders could be processed as quickly as possible after being entered by reps while in the field, but also so that reps could access current information such as sales history to determine sales trends and appropriate reorder points
  • Available both online and offline, so users could take an order even if WiFi and cellular coverage were not available at the customer location, then batch synchronize when a connection became available.
  • Capable of querying the ERP on-line for quantity availability and customer prices to ensure it had the most current time sensitive data.
  • Priced to fit the budget.

We needed a solution that would allow our sales team to take orders anywhere, anytime, and get them straight into NAV – so we could speed up delivery

ExpandIT provided a variety of services including technical support, installation and setup, maintenance, application support, online support, hotline and mobility processes.

Benefits

The company has been successfully using the solution for a number of years. Sales reps can review customer inventory while on site, review the customer’s order history, statistics, recommended orders (via templates), or create a new sales order in real time using a hand-held device. Orders are immediately transmitted to the company’s NAV order management system, from which warehouse pick tickets are generated. The entire order-to-pick ticket process now takes about five minutes – and data is entered only one time, reducing errors and time spent processing each order.

The reduced amount of time required for placing orders has also increased the efficiency of the sales representatives, freeing up more time for new sales opportunities. More importantly, the solution has contributed to the company’s overall strategy to increase customer satisfaction and provide an exceptional customer experience. Since Color Compass implemented the ExpandIT system, customer feedback has been very positive.