BACKGROUND: Structural is a worldwide manufacturer and supplier of composite pressure vessels. Founded in 1954, Structural has worked to exploit the new technology involved in fiberglass product manufacturing. By developing a patented molding process, which revolutionized the use of small pressure vessels in water treatment markets, Structural rapidly became the word leader in the production of pressure vessels made from composite materials. This technological leadership led to an expansion toward larger, commercial-sized vessels as well as to other markets where engineered plastics and composites could help provide improved product performance.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft SQL Server is the database, Microsoft Windows NT Server is the server and Microsoft Windows 95/98 is the client operating system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Disparate groups in Structural's front office were using various contact managers, such as Act!, GoldMine and Simin, for their account management needs. Structural could only use its contact managers to record simple information on an individual level with no collaboration among other users. Structural needed to replace its contact managers with a network and Internet customer relationship management (CRM) solution that would enable all users to collaborate and communicate company-wide. Structural also needed a front-office solution that could be easily integrated with its back-office enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and customized to meet its advanced CRM strategies.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Client Management Software (CMS) from ON!contact has streamlined Structural's external interaction with prospects and customers and its internal communication among its sales, marketing and customer service departments. Users and teams of users can now collaborate with each other on projects, marketing campaigns, sales opportunities, quotations and customer service. The configurator functionality of CMS enables Structural to create, execute, track and collaborate on product quotations for prospective and existing customers. Structural's remote sales representatives plan to utilize eCMS, ON!contact Software's new Web-based CRM solution, available in December 1999.

STRENGTHS: CMS is extremely flexible ­ Structural could easily integrate it with its ERP system; customize it to meet specific CRM needs; synchronize information from Structural's corporate headquarters to satellite offices and field users throughout North America, Europe and Asia; and implement it company-wide to unite sales, marketing and customer service functions in one application suite.

WEAKNESSES: The current CMS application is not entirely Web-based. However, eCMS will be available in December, 1999.

SELECTION CRITERIA: CMS was selected because it is a company-wide system, has the ability to synchronize globally to satellite offices and field users, has high functionality and was easily integrated with Structural's ERP system. The major advantages CMS has over other products is ease of customization, ease of integration with back-office ERP systems and ease of facilitating global synchronization to satellite offices and field users.

DELIVERABLES: Structural uses CMS to create direct mail campaigns for new business prospects, provide existing customers with better service through greater access to service history and assign sales representatives to new accounts based on territory and postal code. CMS has been particularly helpful in configuring quotations. Integrating the CMS application suite with the ERP system enabled Structural to compile and execute over 1,339 configured quotations in just 16 months, which generated more than $31,215,000 in business.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Prior to implementation, ON!contact Software equipped Structural with a project manager to serve as the key contact throughout all aspects of the implementation. Since implementation, ON!contact Software has consistently been available for support needs and onsite demonstrations of new versions of CMS. ON!contact Software frequently contacts Structural, as it does with all customers, to survey them on customer service issues that may need immediate attention or improvement. The best part of working with ON!contact Software is the company's responsiveness. To stay completely accessible, ON!contact Software provides toll-free telephone, e-mail, Web-based and remote diagnostic support.

DOCUMENTATION: ON!contact Software's user manuals are comprehensive and easy to follow. The manuals are filled with illustrations that clearly outline every function of the application suite.

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