As intense industry pressure squeezes profit margins, Doka Group looks to broaden its customer base and gain competitive advantage by enhancing customer service and slashing order-processing costs.
Doka Group transforms into an omni-channel business, enabling clients to place orders via a new online shop based on SAP® Hybris® Commerce Accelerator for B2B, delivered by ecx.io – an IBM Company.
50% lowerprocessing costs expected for each order placed online
Addsconvenience for clients, who enjoy quick and easy online ordering round-the-clock
Frees upsalespeople to provide better support for clients with complex requirements
Business challenge story
Pressure on profit marginsIntense competition in the construction industry is pushing profits and margins down. To weather the storm, construction companies and suppliers are seeking innovative ways to cut costs and strengthen clients’ loyalty.
On a mission to pinpoint areas for improvement, formwork specialist Doka Group conducted a rigorous strategic analysis of its core processes – and unearthed some interesting findings.
Gerald Haring, Head of E-Commerce at Doka Group, begins: “We assist clients of all sizes working on a broad range of construction projects. We realized that to serve them effectively, we needed to differentiate more finely between their needs.
“Clients managing large construction projects typically need help working out which products they need, and whether it makes sense to hire or purchase from us. That’s where our highly-skilled salespeople step in, guiding clients through the process and determining their precise requirements. But often, experienced clients working on smaller, more-straightforward construction jobs already know exactly what to purchase.”
Stefan Pruckmayr, Head of Marketing at Doka Group, continues: “Previously, clients needed to contact a salesperson to place their orders. We realized that for those clients who already know which products to buy, a complete omni-channel strategy with an online shop would be a more efficient option. Reinventing our business model and adopting e-commerce would enable us to process straightforward orders at lower cost by harnessing automation, while freeing up our highly-qualified sales teams to assist clients with more-challenging, high-value assignments.
“In addition, we recognized that a comprehensive omni-channel strategy with an easy-to-use online shop would help us gain a stronger foothold in markets we have only recently entered. With a stronger online presence, we would be able to reach out to prospective clients more rapidly, accelerating growth and boosting profitability.”
With a vision to reinvent the business and undertake a digital transformation of its sales and order processing, Doka Group set out to find the best vendor to turn its dream into reality.
Laying the cornerstones of success
After reviewing options from several leading vendors, Doka Group decided to implement SAP® Hybris® Commerce Accelerator for B2B and engage ecx.io – an IBM Company which is part of IBM® iX™, the design and consulting division of IBM. ecx.io was tasked with developing a detailed strategy and bringing it to life, supporting the vision to expand Doka Group into new markets and significantly streamline order workflows.
Gerald Haring elaborates: “We opted for SAP Hybris Commerce because it came highly recommended by respected analysts such as Gartner. Furthermore, SAP Hybris Commerce is a future-proof solution that we can integrate easily with our growing SAP landscape and with our ERP, CRM and production applications. With the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 on the horizon, the construction industry is piqued for dramatic change, so flexibility to integrate with different applications is a huge advantage.
“ecx.io provided excellent support during the initial strategic consulting project, running more than 20 workshops. We decided to work with ecx.io on the implementation too, based on the previous positive experience and because the ecx.io team already knew and understood us and our business very well.”
Underlying the Doka product catalog is a complex pricing structure, with bespoke ordering and discount agreements for each client. ecx.io worked closely with Doka Group to analyze and understand the pricing, ensuring that clients would continue to benefit from their individual arrangements. In addition, Doka Group fostered support from the sales team by integrating online shop sales into the commission system, helping to motivate salespeople to push the online channel to new and existing clients.
To facilitate the implementation and ensure the flexibility needed for a successful launch both on time and on budget, ecx.io suggested the Scrum agile project management framework. Guiding the joint team along this iterative approach for software development, ecx.io helped the team to split the work into two-week long development cycles. In doing so, ecx.io ensured that all stakeholders were involved at an early stage, helping Doka Group secure buy-in from key employees and setting the project up for success.
Adopting the Scrum methodology made it easier for Doka Group and ecx.io to make changes quickly. For example, the team talked to pilot customers in Germany, Austria and the UK throughout the implementation, and incorporated their recommendations to improve the user experience and optimize design and workflows to achieve the highest levels of convenience, before opening up the online shop to all clients.
Following the launch of the new online shop, clients can now order goods quickly and easily around-the-clock. The back-end processing of online orders is largely automated, increasing productivity and saving salespeople time, so that they can focus on higher-value projects and assisting clients with more-challenging requirements.
Building a better customer experience
The new online store has proven a hit with clients and salespeople, and has even won Doka Group a gold SAP Quality Award in the “Innovation” category for being the first international online shop for formwork systems, components and accessories.
Stefan Pruckmayr adds: “According to an industry study by global consultancy Roland Berger, online sales will account for 25 percent of revenue in the construction sector by 2030. With our new online shop, we give clients greater choice and convenience in how they order goods, making it easier for them to do business with us. We are confident that uptake of the online channel will continue to rise.
“Salespeople are happy too, because the online shop saves them often up to two hours of manual, repetitive work for simple orders. Now, their roles have transformed towards devoting more time and energy to assisting clients with complex enquiries, and building stronger relationships.
“The digital transformation of our workflows is good news for our bottom line, too. By harnessing automation, we expect to process online orders at 50 percent of the cost compared to traditional direct sales. Thanks to these savings, we are confident that we will boost competitiveness and see a return on our investment in the SAP Hybris Commerce solution and our work with ecx.io.”
In addition, Doka Group is providing improved stock visibility and increasing order-processing automation. The group’s online shop running on SAP Hybris Commerce integrates with the company’s ERP system, connecting with the SAP applications that handle manufacturing data generated by Industry 4.0 solutions and the Industrial Internet of Things.
Building on its wealth of experience, Doka Group is launching additional services for its clients to strengthen their loyalty. For example, the company plans to offer an inventory management solution, helping clients to track building materials and equipment across construction sites. As a next step, Doka Group is looking at expanding its business model, by teaming up with other construction suppliers to extend the range available on the online shop, and becoming a one-stop-shop for clients.
Gerald Haring summarizes: "Launching an online shop is an important move in our digital transformation strategy, and we learned a lot from ecx.io during the implementation. Thanks to the agile project management with Scrum, we demonstrated early project success that convinced critical stakeholders to support the digitization of our business. It was a completely new approach for us to run a project so flexibly and be able to stay on track while incorporating changes to our requirements. After working with ecx.io and experiencing how close collaboration between different departments allowed for a smooth transition, we would like to apply the Scrum framework to internal projects as well in the future.
"For our clients, buying from us now requires just a simple click – this is a big step forward in the construction industry. In general, we are very happy with how our clients have accepted this new service. For example, one immensely loyal client who regularly orders plywood sheets for simple construction projects now purchases almost exclusively through the online shop. He knows our products very well and doesn't need support or advice from our sales team. Using our online shop speeds up the process for him, and releases valuable time for our salespeople to spend on more complex tasks."
Gerald Haring concludes: “At a time of unprecedented pressure for the construction industry, we are offering our clients new services to make their lives easier. Our new online channel, enabled by SAP Hybris Commerce for B2B and ecx.io, supports our strategy of extending and reinventing our business model.
"We are confident that our efforts will pay off in the form of reduced costs, higher profit margins, a larger customer base, and enhanced customer satisfaction.”
About Doka Group
Headquartered in Austria, Doka Group is a world leader in developing, manufacturing and distributing formwork technology for use in all fields of the construction sector. With more than 160 sales and logistics facilities in over 70 countries, Doka Group has a highly efficient distribution network which ensures that equipment and technical support are provided swiftly and professionally. An enterprise forming part of the Umdasch Group, Doka Group employs a worldwide workforce of more than 6,200 people.
- GBS AD&I - EA - SAP
- GBS BCS EA - SAP
- IBM Global Business Services
- IBM-SAP Alliance
- Ind: Architecture / Eng / Construction
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