bk Group

Always connected correctly

"Due to the previous and expected growth of the company, we wanted to upgrade our ERP system not only with the latest version, but also with industry modules to increase productivity and efficiency in service. That was our motivation to decide for COSMO CONSULT, especially since price and performance also fit. There are many NAV providers, but nobody else could offer this solution in this form".

Gregor Deubert, Head of Information and Communication Technology at the bk Group

Company profile

The bk Group, founded in 1999 by Gerold Wolfarth and consisting of baukreativ AG and bk services GmbH, has its headquarters in Steinsfeld-Endsee, Middle Franconia. The company acts throughout Europe as a general contractor for store construction and store concepts and implements holistic, innovative retail solutions as well as ambitious complete conversion projects in the commercial sector. The company assumes all general contractor tasks, from the initial idea to perfect construction planning and implementation. The consulting, planning and implementation ranges from holistic shop design to the complete expansion of hotels, car dealerships, office buildings and fitness studios. The company is the European market leader in facility management for retail outlets.

"In addition to retail shops and car dealerships, we also look after the European stores of chains such as Swarovski, Rituals and Asics," explains Gregor Deubert, Head of Information and Communication Technology. 60 project managers and 100 service technicians look after over 70 customers with more than 5,000 stores in 27 countries. In addition to the Endsee headquarters, there are branches in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Barcelona, and team leaders in London, Milan, Paris and Oslo. "Our highest goal: Whoever comes to us receives the best service on the market," emphasizes Deubert. For him, this includes assigning project managers and service technicians, who are normally native speakers, to the customers of each country. "Language competence is a very important topic for us," says Deubert.

The IT of the bk Group is based on the ERP solution Microsoft Dynamics NAV. For a reengineering project to the version NAV 2013, the COSMO CONSULT Group, Europe's leading Microsoft Dynamics partner and worldwide provider of end-to-end solutions, was chosen as the IT partner. The consulting and software company not only had extensive NAV know-how, but also numerous modules and programs of its own that complemented the bk business well. "Due to the previous and expected company growth, we wanted to upgrade our ERP system with industry modules to increase productivity and efficiency in service in addition to the latest version. That was our motivation to decide for COSMO CONSULT, especially since price and performance also fit," remembers the IT manager and adds: "There are many Navision providers, but nobody else had to offer that in this form. For the technicians, however, there is a self-developed ERP system with which they are connected to the intercompany network via a tablet, which can also be used to send pictures and all protocols digitally.

Language competence as an important service

"And we also want to offer our customers a convenient means of communication," says Deubert, "This includes assigning project managers to the customers for each country, who are usually native speakers. And we guarantee five languages: German, English, Spanish, Italian and French". Although there are also project managers from Poland, Hungary and other countries who are also used for these countries, the documentation is only offered in the five guaranteed languages. Based on this claim, IT manager Deubert developed a concept that was intended to offer customers maximum service and convenience.

"All the software vendors we asked, however, told us that it didn't work. COSMO CONSULT programmed it anyway. Now we have a telephone solution which, to my knowledge, is unique worldwide", Deubert is pleased to say. A project manager who is fluent in French, Italian and German is assigned customers from France, Italy and Germany. If he goes on holiday or falls ill, there is not automatically a colleague with identical language skills. So you can't just switch to a holiday replacement. The telephone system must nevertheless forward incoming calls to a colleague who speaks the right language. And if the representative is ill, the system must also be able to dial a third party.

It must therefore recognize which country the caller comes from and, if it is a customer, which project manager is responsible for him. This is why the telephone numbers of all customers and their more than 5,000 stores managed by bk are stored in the telephone system, as are the customer numbers. If the telephone number is not recognized, the system asks for the customer number and can thus dial the responsible project manager. The control system works on a half-day basis. If a manager is in a meeting once for two hours, he can intercept it. If he is away longer, the system arranges for a representative. If someone calls their supervisor directly on the extension number and the supervisor is prevented from doing so, the system automatically asks if they want to be connected to a representative. If so, the caller enters the main system and is transferred according to the substitution planning.

And it works fine

The entire overview is maintained in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. For each day, who is responsible in the morning and who in the afternoon is defined for one year in advance. If it is known that an employee is on vacation for several weeks, the affected area determines the substitutes for this time. IT knowledge is not required for this. The ERP system automatically displays only those project managers who speak the same languages as the vacationer, taking into account all known sick leave and vacation times. This data is exported from Dynamics NAV to a small database, always for five days in advance. These few data in the separate database ensure an extremely fast system, so that the caller does not even notice that an EDP system is searching data. And the data over a period of five days serves as security in the event of a malfunction of the ERP system. "This means that responsibilities are always available for the next five days. If someone calls in sick, the responsible department itself makes the change in the ERP system and at the push of a button the correct data is transferred to the server and the correct telephone rings," explains Deubert. The planning for the coming year also shifts automatically every day.

The telephone system, controlled by the program developed by COSMO CONSULT for the area of project management, is installed as a cloud solution because the customers usually call the Europe-wide, free 00800 number and can then be quickly distributed in the cloud to Barcelona, Düsseldorf or Endsee. If one location fails, all other locations are still working and accessible. "With the cloud solution, I have guaranteed my availability for business-critical topics," says the IT manager. And Gregor Deubert is not unjustly proud of his realized concept, especially since all of the providers mentioned, apart from COSMO CONSULT, said that something like this could not work. In contrast to the past, when basically everything was done with paper and pencil, he has now shifted responsibility planning to the specialist departments and thus relieved his IT department of 100 percent of these tasks. "And nobody but our IT partner could offer me this elegant solution. But we want to convince in all areas through quality and performance and COSMO CONSULT fits in with this".