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Elevating Potential Inside and Out

  • APICS partners
  2018

Challenge: Improve customer service during times of increased order volume
Solution: Conexiom’s Sales Order Automation
Company: Werner Electric Ventures
Headquarters: Cottage Grove, Minnesota
Operation: Electrical distributor

Werner employees allocate time to value-added tasks.

The challenge

Werner Electric is a distributor of electrical, automation, and lighting services and solutions serving the industrial, contractor, commercial, original equipment manufacturer and systems integrator markets. As the company has grown and order volume increased, Werner Electric struggled to keep up with the demand. The inside sales team had to manually input orders, and, with some being several pages long, the process could take hours.

“Although orders were fulfilled quickly, there could be up to a 24-hour delay to send an acknowledgement to our customers,” explains Gerry Thomas, director of finance. “We needed to improve the customer experience as the volume of orders was impacting our inside sales team’s ability to fulfill orders quickly.”

Werner Electric leaders decided to implement a scalable solution to process more sales orders without unnecessarily adding staff. The tool needed to be effective enough to get key stakeholders on board and garner internal buy-in. “Some people are resistant to change, so we needed to help them experience the service and see for themselves how it would benefit them personally,” says Angela Schmollinger, automation services specialist.

The solution

Werner Electric implemented Conexiom’s Sales Order Automation, a cloud-based software that automatically extracts and transforms data from purchase orders into electronic orders. With the help of the Werner Electric inside sales team to identify and onboard high-volume customers suitable for automated sales order processing, the solution has proved highly valuable. As a result, the company has increased Conexiom usage by 500 percent since September 2016.

The results 

With this key workflow optimized, order cycle time has improved while errors and returns have been significantly reduced. In fact, order accuracy is at 100 percent with Conexiom.

“Frustration from a customer standpoint was alleviated,” Thomas says, adding that acknowledgement turnover — which, with the old system could have taken up to a day for some customers — has been reduced to an hour. In addition, the number of returns was immediately reduced.

Employee frustration also has been relieved. The automation of manual data entry created more time for inside sales staff to add value, as they are no longer spending a big chunk of their time keying in customer orders.

“We were asking our inside sales team to be data entry staff,” explains Patty Mullin, director of information technology. “With their time freed up, they are able to add new and more exciting tasks to their roles.”

Moreover, team members are providing high-quality customer service via their deep product knowledge and expertise. They are helping customers with product selection and technical questions, and testing new enhancements for their sales tools.

With Conexiom, Werner Electric is able to handle continued growth and add scalability to its operations without increasing workloads for their inside sales team. Staff members are more productive, and the processing of customer orders and cycle times remains unaffected. Best of all, the company is building stronger customer relationships, elevating the customer experience, and enhancing the competency and capabilities of its people.

APICS magazine welcomes case study submissions. Send a message to editorial@apics.org for more information.

 

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