Driving sales with advanced project management:
Zumtobel staff lighting's bespoke solution

THE CLIENT

Zumtobel Staff Lighting is part of the Zumtobel Group, one of the few global players in the lighting industry. Originating in Austria in the 1950s,the Group has production facilities in Europe, North America, Asia andAfrica and sales outlets and engineers in almost 100 countries.

The worldwide leader in electronic lighting technology and professional lighting systems, Zumtobel Staff supplies innovative lighting solutions tocreate added value in terms of ergonomics, economic efficiency, esthetics and environmental compatibility. Through consistent orientation towards integral lighting solutions, innovative technology andintelligent lighting management, Zumtobel Staff has become an expert partner to electrical consultants, lighting designers and architects.


THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE

These consultants form the main client base for the company’s sales engineers who need to track a new project from the outset, managing client data and specifications for two or three years before a new building or redevelopment begins. “All our work is based around these projects and they need to be registered as soon as possible,” said Agnes Szentgyorgyi, Administration Manager at Zumtobel Staff Lighting in the UK. “We identify all our operations by project number and that data is used to track the progress of projects as well as feed into forecasting reports for the business.” Although the company uses SAP worldwide, a project management tool was required, which could be used by the UK engineers, to coincide with a move to remote working, four years ago.

One option was for the engineers to use standalone databases – synchronizing data, accessing emails and sending Excel spreadsheets to their managers on an ad hoc basis. However this would not support the high level project management that underpins the entire sales operation. “Between the first client visit and final agreement on the specification, an engineer might issue many different quotations. The status of the project can change considerably and all that information needs to be tracked, monitoredand consolidated over time,” said Agnes. “We knew a stand alone system would not deliver the kind of dynamic solution needed to drive a project orientated operation.”

The company also wanted to integrate sales data with price and product information, for example from the factory in Dornbirn in Austria, to match against business rules in generating client quotes. The Commercial Department is heavily involved in the costing process and, as pricing is so closely monitored, access to updated sales and project information is a priority.


THE SOLUTION

Zumtobel Staff asked Transputec Computers plc to design a bespoke CRM, sales, quotations and project management tool. “We decided to take the bespoke route because there was nothing available to support our unique way of managing sales and projects geared to the long term,” said Agnes. “Transputec was the natural first choice as they were already supplying a support and maintenance contract and we were very happy with the service. We knew of Transputec’s software development section and its reputation for high quality, costeffective, bespoke solutions.”

The first phase of the software development, called LIZARD, enabled the engineers to register and monitor projects, update their client databases and allow management to track sales. Within a year the full functionality of LIZARD was operational and the system now represents a powerful project management tool.

A recent facility allows the sales force to access pricing data from the product database. The system also matches pricing data against predetermined business rules to generate client quotes. Certain criteria determine the route for the quote process, for example variants on products or larger commercial projects filter through to the Commercial Department while the routine business links directly to the Sales Office for high efficiency processing. LIZARD is also linked to SAP to enable full integration with enterprise systems and enable high visibility of all projects and sales data.


THE BENEFITS

LIZARD supports the project management of a complex and dynamic sales operation and represents a high value technology tool in a company that is very IT-driven. “As a project progresses over two or three years many aspects of the original specification will change and considerably affect pricing. With all the information available at a glance, LIZARD provides the facility on which so many of our critical commercial decisions are made,” said Agnes.

The use of intelligent workflow allows customer quotes to be matched against predefined price criteria, escalating queries for assessment by the Commercial Department as appropriate. LIZARD enables a clear demarcation between the sales side and the ultimate commercial decision. Accurate project data plays a big role in optimising pricing.

“The benefits are significant,” said Agnes. “We use LIZARD to reassess project specs, adjust mark-up and increase the value of the business. Intelligent data management is at the heart of commercial performance.” All aspects of a project are recorded on LIZARD including mailings from the marketing department, client visits, the type of literature left with the customer, quotations and product information.

According to Agnes one of the most important benefits is the ability to use LIZARD to generate forecasting data. “We use LIZARD to predict the probability of generating business using all the information gathered on our different clients, competitors and the value of client quotes. The result is some very accurate, long term data modeling”.

The engineers use LIZARD to manage all aspects of client contact, with scheduling to plan client visits and the use of forward and retrospective diaries to track all sales/customer activities. The system also provides a tool to manage the success of the sales force and identify new business targets. Agnes concluded: “LIZARD is an advanced project management tool that supports the business at all levels".