Interview with Florian Stahli
CIO of André Koch AG
With its 60 employees, the André Koch AG imports vehicle paint as well as further chemical-technical products and distributes these to various paint shops all over Switzerland. Through the implementation of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM, not only were the internal processes optimised, but the quality of the customer support was also taken to a new level. Read more.
“The implementation of the Dynamics CRM solution with AlfaPeople AG occurred very professionally and in a structured and competent manner.”
Please briefly introduce your company.
The André Koch AG imports vehicle paint as well as further chemical-technical products and distributes these to paint shops all across Switzerland. With the Standox brand it is the leading paint supplier for car repair paint in Switzerland. In addition to the headquarters in Urdorf, it operates branches in French- and Italian Switzerland. The André Koch AG employs around 60 staff members.
How did you become aware of the AlfaPeople AG?
As we had been in regular contact with the managing director of the AlfaPeople AG, Mr Hugo B. Kälin, for years, it was clear to us that the AlfaPeople AG is a competent implementation partner from the Dynamics field.
When the need for a new CRM system arose, it was thus sensible to consider the AlfaPeople company for the evaluation. In the end, the references, the broad know-how and the customer-oriented approach convinced us that AlfaPeople is the right partner for us.
What was your IT environment like prior to the CRM implementation?
The IT landscape of the André Koch AG mainly consisted of Microsoft technology, more precisely Microsoft Office 2013, Exchange Server, Enterprise Portal Webshop of the Dynamics AX and the ERP solution Dynamics AX 2009.
Prior to the implementation of the Dynamics CRM, the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 took over light CRM functions. However, the possibilities of the CRM module used in the AX are quite rudimentary and could thus not fully meet our needs.
Which needs could not be covered by the old solution?
Important information for the staff in the field such as sales statistics, the current order situation and planned visitation appointments were difficult to access and were stored in different databases. Customer relevant statistics such as year’s, month’s and day’s sales statistics could not be accessed directly by the field staff. These were always sent by mail in the form of an Excel chart. Graphics and evaluations such as, for example, turnover per product group and customer were not included in the overview.
The detailed customer master data could not be viewed by the field staff directly. Reported updates could not be implemented directly by the field staff but had to be communicated to the office staff instead.
Why did you opt for Dynamics CRM?
Since we had been working with Microsoft Dynamics AX for years and were very satisfied with them, it was clear to us that the Dynamics CRM solution offered the right added value to our company. We can use the same technology that our users are already accustomed to. Synergies between these two systems allow user-friendly operation for us in management and our users. Current data is reachable in real-time anywhere and at any time.
What challenges were you confronted with during the implementation and how did you overcome these?
As we already used Dynamics AX with a different Microsoft partner, on the one hand, the communication with other partners was a challenge. Bringing all parties to a table is not always that easy.
On the other hand, it was a challenge to convey a modern work method to our field staff. It was a large adjustment for some employees to switch from paper to a paper-free work place. Some field staff recognised the advantages from the start and had no reservations concerning the new technology.
Of course there were some employees who could not identify with the new technology from the start. Through appropriate trainings and incorporating these into the implementation, these employees also recognised the added value of the new CRM solution.
If you look back at the implementation of the Dynamics CRM now, how would you describe the project in brief? What progress did you achieve regarding the processes, ROI etc. with the CRM implementation?
The implementation of the Dynamics CRM solution with AlfaPeople AG occurred very professionally and in a structured and competent manner.
Despite the project complexity, the time pressure and the challenges of coordinating the different partners, the go-live date was met.
A big relief and process optimisation for the office and field staff became apparent with the paperless office. Our employees could now access the data in real time. The time saved for the internal processes and the high work quality allow us to support our customers more intensively.
According to internal calculations we can expect the Return on Investment (ROI) within the next 5-6 years.
You customised the solution. Which additional functions were added and why were these important to you?
The customer base in the AX is set up through the customer qualification. Since it is quite extensive, we also wanted to manage this via the CRM solution, i.e. a bi-directional interface allows a comparison between the two systems in real time.
Statistics access the AX database in real time and show the requested figures from the financial accounting to the users.
Individual reports such as customer master data, revenue, turnover, product lines and product groups etc. provide the employees with an overview of the current figures and those of the previous year. All this data is available on a daily basis and in real time in the dashboards.
These extensions are important to us, so that the current data is available to all users in real time.
How many User CRMs work with the solution? Could you explain your licence distribution to us as well as the considerations that lie behind this?
We have licenced a total of 25 users for our Dynamics CRM solution. The distribution of the licences is primarily oriented on the functions of the employees.
Our field staff works with the Essential CRM Licence. The functionalities and access rights of these licences offer an ideal basis for our field staff to competently support our customers.
The management and the office staff were equipped with the Professional Licence, which allows the users in both departments to create and use business-relevant dashboards and reports, among other things.
Which improvements in your company can you highlight that can definitely be attributed to the CRM implementation?
Through the CRM implementation at André Koch AG, the field staff can directly view and edit the business-relevant information to support customers. That way, the customer can be supported on site more optimally and with up-to-date information.
Through the access to the central database for every employee, a basis was created for joint discussions, as everyone is on the same level of knowledge. This generates a tremendous added value by concentrating on essential topics in discussions.
From the start, we were able to notice that the Dynamics Surface and the user-friendliness are at a high level. Thus we are not surprised that our staff profits from these and that they more frequently and extensively log their customer visits.
On the other hand, we have noticed that our internal departments are alleviated as the data can now be directly edited by our field staff.
How is your solution supported?
We have a so-called Service Level Agreement with our partner company AlfaPeople AG.
Through the services defined in the agreement, we are supported individually, efficiently and in a way that is tailored to our needs.
It is important to mention that the expected efficiency and efficacy of the support stand in ideal relation to each other. The utilised ticketing tool also allows our staff to directly and easily send support requests by email.
How would you describe the collaboration with AlfaPeople?
Generally speaking, regarding AlfaPeople AG, we can say that the support is conducted by professional, friendly and competent employees.
The years of experience of the AlfaPeople staff in various industries and different company sizes show us that we can benefit through this competent partner.
We were convinced of the partner’s competences in the CRM- and ERP-field in the shortest amount of time, which led us to additionally employ the AlfaPeople AG for the support of our existing ERP solution Dynamics AX.