When an order arrives, Power Metal must respond fast—or risk losing out to a competitor. The company wanted to help its people work more efficiently, but using phone and email slowed processes down.
Power Metal has adopted an analytics-driven, social approach to collaboration based on IBM® Verse™—enabling personnel to surface vital information instantly and accept customer orders faster.
Enablesemployees to respond faster to order requests
Helpsthe company win valuable business opportunities
Reducescompetitive risk and strengthens Power Metal’s industry reputation
Business challenge story
Staying switched on in a competitive space
When we turn on our TV, we seldom think about all the people that played a role in building it. In fact, today’s consumer electronics goods are the product of multiple specialist manufacturers, each responsible for creating everything from display screens to the screws that hold the finished item together.
Power Metal is one such manufacturer. Based in Dong Guan, China, the company supplies metal frames for entertainment systems from world-leading brands such as ARRIS and Foxconn. To thrive in a demanding just-in-time manufacturing environment, responding to clients fast is a must.
Squall Lin, Global IT Manager at Power Metal Hardware, explains: “When a client places an order, it’s vital that we confirm within 24 hours that we are able to take on the job. Any delay dramatically increases our risk of losing business to a competitor, and we are always looking for ways to accelerate our processes and improve our operational efficiency.”
He continues: “In a globalized economy, geographically distributed operations are an excellent way to capture and fulfill opportunities, but it’s easy for agility to suffer. We operate three factories across Thailand and China, as well as offices in Taiwan, Hong Kong, America, Brazil and Japan. To communicate across geographical boundaries, our 150 back-office employees relied on phone calls and a legacy mail transfer agent to drive our finance and order management processes.
“The challenge with this approach was that there was no straightforward, reliable way to search for emails, attachments and contacts. Many of our order requests arrive via email, so we knew that this way of working increased the risk of important information getting lost in the shuffle.
“In addition, the difficulty of using email to communicate meant that many of our people were relying on phone calls—slowing down our processes and limiting our ability to respond to client requests within the all-important 24-hour period. To achieve our goal, we looked for a more effective way to help our people work together.”
Uniting a global business
To solve its collaboration challenges, Power Metal deployed an analytics-driven, social email platform based on IBM® Verse™. The solution intelligently surfaces the most relevant and important information for each employee, empowering them to work more effectively.
“I had experience of IBM collaboration solutions in a role before I joined Power Metal, so I was already familiar with the capabilities of IBM mail and social platforms,” recalls Mr. Lin. “By adopting IBM Verse as our email platform, we realized that we could enable employees to work with colleagues based in offices thousands of miles apart just as effectively as if they were sitting next to each other.”
Working together with IBM, Power Metal implemented IBM Verse in a hybrid cloud configuration—allowing the company’s IT team to manage the entire environment from a single point of control without increasing the cost and complexity of its on-premises infrastructure.
“The IBM Domino® mail server solution that supports our environment is extremely robust and easy to control—which is very beneficial for a lean IT team like ours,” comments Mr. Lin. “Today, we have a centralized address book for every employee in the business, and provisioning and deprovisioning users is simpler than ever. Most importantly, it’s now straightforward for employees to find and contact their peers, wherever they work.”
He adds: “The entire implementation process was seamless, and we completed our transition to the new way of working within just one month—including knowledge transfer for regular and power users. The IBM team was with us every step of the way, and was always standing by to provide guidance whenever we needed it.”
Responding in time, every time
IBM Verse is now helping Power Metal to bring its 150 back-office personnel together on a single, centralized platform, allowing the company to enhance the efficiency of key sales and finance processes.
“In the past, our reliance on phone calls and the complexity of retrieving email attachments meant there was always a substantial risk of important information about client orders getting lost in the shuffle—reducing our ability to respond quickly,” explains Mr. Lin. “Today, our people have instant access to all the information they need to size, quote and respond to client orders within hours of receiving a request, which mitigates our competitive risk.
“Our people are now embracing IBM Verse as their preferred working environment, and it is easy to see why. The IBM solution surfaces information in a highly intuitive way, which means that emails from important contacts such as large clients or close colleagues are displayed prominently.”
He adds: “The flexibility of the IBM solution makes it ideal for our global workforce. The solution has language options for speakers of Thai, Chinese, English and more—which has helped all of our employees to get up and running on the new platform quickly.”
Based on the success of its IBM Verse deployment, Power Metal is planning to enhance its platform by adding social tools such as IBM Sametime® for instant messaging and IBM Connections™ Cloud for more immersive virtual teaming and co-location.
“Employees at all levels of the business are finding the IBM Verse platform extremely valuable in their day-to-day work,” says Mr. Lin. “For example, our management team uses document sharing in IBM Verse to disseminate training materials to employees, which helps people consume information faster than distributing it on paper.
“Looking to the future, we see great potential in utilizing collaboration tools to help our people share ideas via wikis, forums and digital communities, which will help us to co-create faster and more effective processes.”
He concludes: “In the consumer products space, the pace of manufacturing innovation means we need to stay on the cutting edge—both in terms of our ability to produce new kinds of products and to deliver them in a timely manner. Thanks to enterprise-class collaboration in IBM Verse, we can respond fast when our clients make an enquiry.”
About Power Metal
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Dong Guan, China, Power Metal is a leading designer and manufacturer of precision-stamped metals. Serving clients across Asia and the Americas, Power Metal employs 800 people and operates 30,000 square meters of factory space.
- Connections Cloud (SaaS)
- ICS: Domino
- Verse on Cloud (SaaS)
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Verse solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/business-email-platform