"With Microsoft Dynamics 365 we have facilitated the cooperation between office and field service. Employees can access all data independently at any time, whether directly at the customer or in the office."
Markus Kitzinger, IT Application Manager at REXEL Austria GmbH
The French Rexel Group is one of the world's leading companies in the sale of electrical energy products and services. 27,000 employees in 2,000 branches in 26 countries generate a consolidated turnover of over 13 billion euros. Rexel Austria GmbH, headquartered in Vienna, has 650 employees in 17 branches, which achieve a turnover of over 367 million euros.
For customers from trade, electrical retail and industry, there is a wide range of product ranges, technical solutions and management solutions. The portfolio includes innovative applications, services and technologies for automation, technical support and energy management. In the central warehouses in Weißkirchen an der Traun and Vienna, 42,500 articles are available from stock, and a total of more than 170,000 products are available via the web shop. Orders received in Weißkirchen by 7 p.m. will be delivered throughout Austria the next day.
Rexel Austria GmbH is present on the market through the two brands SCHÄCKE and REGRO. SCHÄCKE serves the trade, for example electrical engineers, and the specialist trade. A business in which personal contacts play a major role. As a full-range supplier, SCHÄCKE offers components, services and solutions for installation technology, consumer goods such as white and brown goods, lighting technology, network technology, EIB/KNX technology, energy efficiency, photovoltaics and alarm and security technology. The industrial sector is served by REGRO, the focus being on solutions in the areas of sensor technology, automation and plant availability as well as building services engineering including KNX-controlled system solutions. In the background, Rexel provides a common back office with central functions such as IT, purchasing and master data management, finance and controlling as well as logistics and human resources. As a true multi-channel partner, Rexel provides customers with numerous sales channels for orders: Telephone, web shop, online chat, mobile app and EDI connections as well as the field service and the branches.
IT provides a single user interface for all business units. "With the large volume of orders and delivery notes per day, we have a real mass data processing in IT," says IT manager Alexander Hemmerich, "That's why we need a high level of system stability for all our systems. Because one thing is clear: the customer needs the articles the next day. "So all logistics processes and distribution channels must work. That's why a modern and mature CRM system is indispensable for our multi-channel customer relationship management," knows CRM manager Markus Kitzinger, and continues: "The industries most affected by digitalization are not only banks and insurance companies, but also retail, because Amazon and Co. have become competitors here. These purchasing platforms function completely digitally, there is no qualified contact person. That is our strength: We have a qualified field and office sales force, you can talk to us. We advise our customers and offer them tailor-made services and support".
In order to be prepared for the challenges of daily business, REXEL commissioned the introduction of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system after a tender with a detailed specification. Microsoft was first choice because the Rexel Group was one of the first and largest BPOS/Office 365 customers worldwide. "We also liked the full integration in Outlook and the possibility of a cloud solution extraordinarily well," adds Kitzinger. This was implemented by the Austrian Microsoft partner FWI, now COSMO CONSULT SI GmbH in Steyr.
Together with the CRM specialists, the company initially started live operations with an on-premises version, and in 2017 migrated the system to the cloud. Today, 460 users in all parts of the company are provided with the same customer data via the program. The demand for a 360-degree view of the customer is optimally met by CRM. Whether field service or service department, everyone has access to the same customer information. "The sales force now has all the information at its disposal to provide the customer with the best possible service. The indoor sales force sees the e-mail traffic of the field sales force with the customer, they see if, what and how much the customer orders via the web shop. In the past, this information had to be gathered in the ERP system, now everything is in one system and no matter who looks into it, everyone gets the same information", explains Hemmerich. Access is of course controlled by authorization concepts in the form of role concepts. A warehouse employee gets different information than credit management, the office staff gets different information than the field staff. So everyone gets the information they need for their work and which they maintain with just one click. "In this way the system provides us with real added value," states Kitzinger.
The CRM introduction has also significantly improved the customer creation process. In the past, the sales representative had the customer fill out forms and send them to the office with his own notes, which then created a customer file. Now the entire process is standardized and digitalized in the CRM system. All users have to fill out the same fields online, which then go through a workflow. Contracts, previously stored in paper form in a folder, are now assigned to the corresponding customers in the CRM system. The field service can now view all the data required for customer care on a smartphone or tablet while on the road. They know the contract situation, know about open items and can give their customers exact information. If a customer calls, the system identifies him by his telephone number and all information is immediately available in detail.
At Rexel, all projects are examined under two points. On the one hand, there is the classic IT view of system implementations: That is, the technical implementation, standardization and cost optimization. But there is also a very important second sphere: every system stands or falls with the users and the orchestrated change in the background. "That's why it was important for us from the very beginning that our IT partner could accompany the project with change management. The management and sales management were therefore on board, who initiated the project and rolled it out to the branches together with the partner," explains the IT manager.
It was therefore also important that the IT partner understands the company and the industry, because a bank, for example, 'ticks' completely differently than a retailer. "The IT consultants provide advice in the background and give tips on the project and how to deal with the challenges. We carried out a sales and settlement process during the CRM introduction and actively took our salespeople along during the change management and trained them in sales techniques," adds Kitzinger.
Through this integrated approach, the CRM implementation has been received and accepted throughout the company, because the system benefits and advantages are tangible for everyone. The direct access from the CRM system to the web shop alone provides added value for the field service. They can now call up their customer's entire internal web shop view on their mobile device with all offers and orders, order confirmations and delivery notes and much more. The web shop is also connected to the BI system and reports can be created and printed in this way. In CRM, the field sales force can mark the customers to be included in a marketing campaign. The marketing department exports the data and can send a newsletter exactly to the selected addresses.
"CRM is regarded as a strategic tool in the context of digitalization," says Hemmerich. So it is also used to map churn alerts and to support churn management. "We now have a system that runs stably and supports our field and office staff perfectly. We are very well looked after by COSMO CONSULT and we are quickly helped if there is a problem. What we wanted was implemented and we always have a contact person we can turn to if we have any questions", the IT manager sums up the successful project. And Kitzinger adds: "From the very beginning we have worked with COSMO CONSULT on a very cooperative basis. We like the team's professional, pragmatic approach to projects. A cooperation of give and take: Our wishes and ideas were taken into account as well as advice and constructive criticism from COSMO CONSULT. There are short, down-to-earth paths, nothing is complicated. Such a project stands and falls with the implementation partner. And this is what made this project fit."