Going mobile: Digitising field processes for big performance gains

Published on the 20/07/2015 | Written by Intergen

PGG Wrightson

AT A GLANCE

INDUSTRY

  • Agricultural sales and service

BUSINESS OBJECTIVE

  • Digitise paper-based processes
  • Provide field access to catalogues and manuals
  • Improve field order-entry and integration with back office

SOLUTION

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook, Windows 8.1 tablets, SyncFusion controls

BUSINESS BENEFITS

  • Improved field representative efficiency and satisfaction
  • Electronic access to documents and data
  • Single data entry at customer point
  • Improved integration of back office with field activity
  • Information immediacy

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Intergen
W: www.intergen.co.nz
E: enquiry@intergen.co.nz
T: +64 9 966 3070 or +64 4 472 2021

Intergen enables seamless information flow from the front line to the back office…

When the time came to move from pen and paper to digitised fieldwork, PGG Wrightson looked to Intergen for a solution based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Windows 8 operating system. As a result, the agricultural materials company has seen a boost in productivity, with more accurate information and immediacy from field-entered data.

PGG Wrightson (PGGW) is a leading provider to the agricultural sector, offering a wide range of products, services and solutions to growers, farmers and processors in New Zealand and internationally. With most of PGGW’s critical interactions happening in the field, between technical field representatives (TFRs) and farm-based customers, PGGW needed to move away from manual processes and embrace a modern, touch-enabled and responsive mobile solution that would capture and provide key information where and when it was needed.

Situation
It’s hardly surprising that the traditional way of working for PGGW’s technical field representatives was pen and paper. Information was manually recorded in the company’s iconic ‘blue books’, with telephones used to call back to the store for when further details were required. Additional tools for the representatives included stacks of manuals stored in the car boot; thumbing through them was part of the job.

In other words, information was locked in paper. John Skurr, PGGW’s National Sales Support Manager, explains: “Core information resided in our back office system or on the pages of manuals. This information needed to be in the hands of our frontline staff. And, even more importantly, on a daily basis our reps were having vital customer interactions – but that data went into the blue books.”

The company recognised the opportunity it had to digitally capture the information in the field and automate its entry into a CRM system. “We needed a mobile solution that would allow information to flow both ways and deliver the true business value we knew could be achieved for our Retail and Fruitfed divisions,” Skurr pointed out.

Solution
A visit to Microsoft’s Convergence conference provided Skurr with a clear idea of the possibilities, though he added that he wasn’t sure precisely how a suitable solution might be structured. For this, the company engaged a project team comprised of Intergen for development and deployment of the solution, NV Interactive for interface design, X4 Consulting for project management and PGG Wrightson’s own IT team.

“We wanted a best in class solution, bringing together the best people in each area,” Skurr said. “We’d seen some of Intergen’s other mobility work and we knew the skills and capability of their people.”

That solution is called Blue Note.

A tablet-based app which runs on Windows 8.1 devices, Blue Note combines Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook with Bing Maps and SyncFusion controls, and equips representatives to not only access all PGGW product and service catalogues on the spot in the field, but also to enter order data which synchronises with back office systems when a connection is available. It also allows the representatives to update customer information and conduct satisfaction and other surveys right there and then during clients visits. The app allows for lengthy times offline and can be comfortably used in the cab of a truck or while walking around a farm.

Results
Locating customers, scheduling meetings and tracking interactions through Blue Note suits the existing operational behaviour of TFRs, while improving accessibility by centralising all data streams into one mobile system, said Skurr.

And it has been received by PGGW representatives with “genuine excitement”.. One summed up the general mood: “It gives me heaps more time in my day.”

By putting all the information required at the fingertips of every representative, they are empowered to engage with customers on location and in real-time, without having to call back to HQ to acquire or offload information. These new levels of efficiency enable greater productivity and the building of stronger customer relationships through more fluid interactions.

At the same time, PGGW receives customer information direct from the field, enhancing the quality and value of its CRM data, ultimately allowing better understanding of – and service to – its customers.

Skurr said Blue Note has delivered a streamlined and standardised sales process, resulting in significant time savings and greater productivity and efficiency. “The app was designed to match our processes. As a business-led project, with key people part of the process the whole way through, the result has been really great adoption, with our sales people saying things like, ‘You really listened when we told you what we wanted’,” he concludes.

Source: This article was originally sourced from Intergen

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