Heavy construction machinery, excavators, dump trucks, wheel loaders, and graders are highly complex pieces of equipment, typically custom ordered to fit the needs of each customer. Hitachi, a globally recognized brand, was increasingly challenged to configure orders with their current systems and procedures in place.
HCA operates 25 branch locations across Australia. The company had implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM to better manage its diverse customer base. Microsoft Excel was used at each center to configure and manage quotes and orders. Not only was it extremely difficult to ensure that each instance of Excel contained the most current component parts and correct pricing, but the system was error prone due to heavy dependence on proficiency of workers remembering what parts could – and could not – be configured with each product. In addition, Dynamics CRM and Excel were not integrated, and it was difficult to instill discipline in using Dynamics CRM.
The company made the decision to invest in an automated product configurator that would seamlessly integrate with Dynamics CRM to improve quality assurance of configurations and quoting.
“Experlogix has made it much faster to create valid orders. We’ve seen about a 50% improvement in time-to-quote. And accuracy in quoting has also improved about 50%.”
Craig Walsh, CRM Administrator at Hitachi Construction Machinery
HCA investigated four product configurators before selecting Experlogix CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote). “Experlogix fit our business needs, and it integrated seamlessly with Dynamics CRM,” says Craig Walsh, CRM Administrator. “Integration with Dynamics CRM was huge. It meant that sales representatives couldn’t randomly generate a quote outside of Dynamics CRM – and that the customer had to be in the CRM database.”
Experlogix’s rules engine was another significant benefit. The rules engine permits only valid order configurations. “Experlogix prevents people from making mistakes,” Walsh says. “It helps guide them to the right answer.”
Sales reps configuring orders start in Dynamics CRM. “They open up a new sales opportunity with a specific customer, and then hit the Experlogix button, which brings up a menu of all the product series. All the information you need – all options and pricing – is right there,” Walsh states.
One of the big benefits in the implementation of Experlogix was a huge increase of Dynamics CRM usage across all seven divisions of the company. “With an integrated CRM/CPQ environment, there’s so much information available at your fingertips and everyone began to see the value in it,” says Walsh.
Experlogix has also had a significant impact on time-to-quote, which greatly reduces time-to-market of assemble-to-order products. “Experlogix has made it much faster to create valid orders,” he says. “We’ve seen about a 50% improvement in time-to-quote, and accuracy in quoting has also improved about 50%.”
Experlogix also fits neatly into HCA’s ISO9001 environment to ensure document versions are controlled. The end benefit and result ensures equipment orders are supplied correctly to the customer.
As an Experlogix Administrator, Walsh states that it is easy to create new configuration pages for new products, or new divisions. “We recently bought a company called Wenco, a Canadian company that provides Fleet Management systems. They’re very different from what we do, but I can design a new landing page for that team to use in quoting – and it’ll all be within the same Experlogix system.”
Accurate quoting with Experlogix in Dynamics CRM affords more accurate forecasting of inventory requirements. “It’s easy to look at how many quotes we have, how many machines we’ve sold, and then forecast what the company anticipates selling going forward,” says Walsh.
Walsh’s job has been made easier, as well, with the quality of service that he’s received from the Experlogix support team. “Experlogix has the best customer service from a vendor that I’ve ever experienced,” he says. “They’re extremely responsive. If you have a problem, they pull out all the stops. When I call, if the people I’m talking to don’t know the answer, they pull others into the call to resolve the issue.”
“You need to have reliable support,” he says. “In past dealings with other vendors, they typically hand you a manual and you’re on your own. Experlogix makes sure that the system is working the way you need it to before they let you go.”