Established in 1977, Lowe Rental Ltd. has grown to be the largest globally recognised refrigeration and catering equipment rental service provider to food exhibitions, sporting events and retailers worldwide.
In 2014, Lowe Rental Ltd’s ERP and CRM systems were no longer fit for purpose. The business was growing and the systems and processes were a hindrance to efficient growth. Many key business processes within the organisation had abandoned these systems and had reverted to using spreadsheets.
Managing asset tracking, availability, sales order processing and other key business functions such as visibility to performance metrics, including asset utilisation with spreadsheets, was simply not going to allow their business to grow and despite reviewing nearly every solution on the market, there seemed to be no viable alternative.
Paul Lavery from Lowe Rental described talking to Flowlens for the first time. “The team took the time to listen, understand our business and recognise that what we needed fit with what Flowlens could deliver, and the price was right. We had a clear idea of where we wanted the business to go and what functions and features we needed in order for that to happen”
“Flowlens has completely revolutionised how we manage and process sales orders, purchase orders, and asset management while at the same time vastly improving our ability to cost jobs and improve our customer service and retention.”
Real-time Asset Availability
“Before Flowlens we sometimes didn’t have visibility on our fleet – as such, we had to make purchases of new equipment to meet demand. Flowlens has solved this key problem completely, with asset availability, tracking and logistics features. The improvements Flowlens has provided means that we know where every piece of stock is at any time and the financials of the Rental Order that it has been assigned to.”
“Flowlens has given us integrated stock and asset availability features, as well as easily allowing us to pick and despatch orders quickly, giving us peace of mind and letting us sell our services with more confidence.”
Since implementing the Flowlens solution Lowe Rental have gained ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditation, essential steps in the growth of Lowe over the last couple of years. “These process accreditations are looked for by our potential clients and are important selling points. Flowlens was absolutely key in our ability to attain and maintain these industry standards and the annual reviews they require.”
And the future?
“We’re looking forward to stretching the capabilities of Flowlens as we continue to expand and grow – Flowlens is constantly evolving, as is the data and insights it can provide to help us. We’re looking forward to working with them in the years to come.”
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Environmental Street Furniture has successful partnerships with many high profile international clients across a range of sectors, including the renewable energy, construction and visitor attraction sectors, all of whom require quotations to submit with their bids.
Environmental Street Furniture often issues multiple quotations to bidders for such projects, however most CRMs are too rigid, and couldn’t handle this. The firm had resorted to emails, spreadsheets and manual documents to track follow-ups and activity for opportunities worldwide. The fast-growing business was frustrated by this manual approach and sought a solution that could support its growth and the project-based quotations.
Flowlens demonstrated to the team at Environmental Street Furniture how multiple quotations can be tracked against projects, which typically attract many bidders. This solved the problem of staying on top of quotation follow-ups and allows a clearer understanding of success rates.
Managing Director of Environmental Street Furniture, Alan Lowry said, “We are delighted with our new customer relationship management (CRM) system. Flowlens, with a local office and support network, ensured that their configured solution fitted our business needs, allowing us to track by project rather than by customer. With our business operating across 25 countries and having tried many other popular CRM systems, Flowlens not only met our needs but delivered on the flexibility that was required.”
Flowlens easily manages the unique Project/Contractor/Quotation requirement, alongside its user friendly interface, mobile sales activity management and simple quotation builder tool. For Management, Flowlens provides information quickly and in realtime through dashboard and instant reports. Furthermore, as a modular ERP and CRM solution, Flowlens offers Environmental Street Furniture a pathway to adopt other business management features such as Order Processing, Sage 50 integration and After-sales management.
Flowlens also offers an affordable subscription pricing option, with a range of training and configuration services to support Environmental Street Furniture in getting up and running quickly.
Rich Dale said “Environmental Street Furniture is a fast-growing company, operating globally and with needs across a range of sectors. Flowlens was able to demonstrate support for this need, alongside mobile working, user friendly tools, freeing up time for more sales, and less paperwork.”
Western Building Systems is a leading construction firm that delivers a diverse range of traditional and modular building projects throughout the UK and Ireland. With increasing volumes of enquiries and tenders won, Western needed to move on from it’s array of spreadsheets and documents for enquiries, sales, tenders and digital marketing.
Flowlens analysed the current methods and it was clear that the lack of reporting and analytics for the sales and tendering process was a major pain point. Tender details were recorded across documents and emails, making it virtually impossible to report on tender results.
Western’s website enquiry assignment was also unsuitable as enquiries would go to a central inbox to be forwarded to sales executives. These enquiries were assigned manually and some got missed due to human error. Also, there was no way to monitor follow-up action.
Finally, because data was siloed within the departments, the marketing team had little indication of what existing or prospective customers may want. This resulted in poorly targeted marketing campaigns.
The Flowlens Sales cloud software tool manages Western’s enquiry and sales pipeline. Website enquiries are routed to Flowlens automatically, for assignment and qualification, removing manual intervention. Tenders can be logged and reasons for win/loss can be reported on.
Sales Task management and alerts can be used to promptly process and track any task, ensuring that nothing gets missed, helping sales executives meet their targets.
Flowlens Contact Management centralises relevant customer information, meaning that all departments have complete visibility.
Information is also shared with management through Flowlens’ real-time dashboard reporting. Dashboards provide quick access to key performance metrics while reports are available for in-depth analysis.
Flowlens has provided significant benefits for Western Building Systems, reducing manual effort, and increasing visibility. It has provided efficiency savings by streamlining data capture, significantly reducing data duplication and manual processes. Automated routing of enquires and task management ensures that enquires are dealt with efficiently. Silos between sales, operations and marketing have been removed, as information is now shared across functions.
Structured win/loss data enables management to identify why they are winning or losing sales/tenders, enabling better strategic decisions and changes to sales techniques or the product offering. For example the reports may indicate that tenders are being lost in specific market or failing to meet tender criteria.
The joined-up approach results in the complete visibility of the sales pipeline, allowing operations to prepare for future orders, in terms of stock and time scheduling.
Increased visibility for the marketing team provides a complete picture of what customers value and need. This enables targeted campaigns to be sent and managed through Flowlens’ Campaign tool, identifying further sales opportunities.
Website enquiries feed directly into Flowlens for faster follow-up and reporting.
Manage multiple quotes for the same project.
CRM and Sales Pipeline features aid consistent management of the sales cycle.
Drill-down dashboards identify issues and trends quickly, whilst reporting allows deep dive into activities and outcomes.
Dramatic reduction in paperwork and manual effort required to collect and collate key management information.
Having experienced significant growth in recent years Kiverco acknowledged that the existing array of spreadsheets, documents, emails and manual processes were no longer fit for purpose.
The production process consisted of multiple spreadsheets that handled data for customer orders, bills of materials, stock, purchasing, engineering tasks, and scheduling on the shop floor. Data was manually transferred from sheet to sheet, which frequently resulted in errors and discrepancies. For any given job, multiple versions of the same information would come into existence, particularly around parts.
Due to the bottleneck of manually transferred data, the purchasing team rarely had early visibility of new orders and requirements for stock. This made it impossible to plan far ahead, manage cash effectively, and challenge the market for the best price.
For the sales team, it was difficult to manage customer expectations regarding delivery dates, as the schedule was somewhat fluid, and heavily reliant on the master scheduler.
Working with the Kiverco team, Flowlens mapped the Purchasing to Goods Recieved process. This allowed the project team to test the process and identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. In particular, incomplete sales quotation data, was causing delays at the design and production stages whilst details were clarified.
Flowlens manages core data at the heart of the system, so that it can be used across all functions of the business. This includes Bill of Materials data, as well as production and supplier lead times, and assembly sequencing.
The Flowlens Solutions supports a joined up workflow across the product lifecycle.
Flowlens allows Engineering and Purchasing to work in parallel. Bespoke parts are designed whilst standard parts are ordered ‘just in time’.
Purchasing can manage suppliers, stock levels and costs, with enough lead time to get the best price, without tying up cash in parts that are not needed for weeks.
Dashboard reporting allows each function to keep a finger on the pulse with relevant, real-time information.
Kiverco initially reviewed off-the-shelf ERP solutions, and realised that these would require significant changes to processes in order to get results. The Flowlens approach offered a solution that would work with Kiverco’s processes, and grow with the business.
Clear, consistent quotations, driven by the Bill of Material data ensure that details are not overlooked which previously caused confusion and delay.
Purchasing can go to the market and get the best price, whilst minimum stock levels are managed in real-time, avoiding delays waiting for replenishments to arrive.
As the opportunities for growth expanded, CDE required a system that could provide consistent sales activity management, pre-sales support and easy management reporting to support plans for an extended partner network.
Previously CDE had implemented an off-the-shelf CRM solution, which suffered from low adoption amongst the sales team. It was unpopular because it required excessive, irrelevant and time-consuming data entry that prevented them from what they enjoy doing – selling.
Because of the poor fit to CDE’s processes, sales forecasting and board reporting was a frustrating, time-consuming exercise involving data exports and collation of spreadsheets that distracted senior managers from more value-added and strategic priorities.
Flowlens collaborated with CDE through a series of workshops with the sales team and senior managers. This gave an understanding of the sales team’s requirements, whilst defining the information needed for management reporting.
These requirements were used to configure Flowlens to fit CDE’s processes. This ensured ‘right-sized’ data capture and reporting requirements, which allowed sales executives to get on with their jobs, without hampering management reporting and analytics.
In the materials handling industry, good sales figures are heavily influenced by the amount of sales activity each executive carries out. This activity normally consists of phone calls and face-to-face on site discussions.This means that sales members often need to update information on the road, while it is traditionally difficult for managers to track this type of sales activity.
The centralised view of the customer can be updated on the road using a web-enabled laptop, smartphone or tablet. This means information regarding the customer is accurate, while significantly reducing data duplication and manual process.
Flowlens also allows managers to monitor activity in order to help individuals plan their time across prospecting, meetings and proposals in order to meet targets. Dashboard analytics give quick access to key performance metrics, whilst detailed reports are available for drill-down analysis.
As part of Flowlens integrated approach, Operations has complete visibility of the sales pipeline including specific project details for when sales are won. This provides complete visibility across the business enabling operations to plan and schedule for future projects.
Flowlens has provided significant efficiency savings for CDE, streamlining data capture and reporting while eradicating numerous emails and spreadsheets. The solution removed enough waste to allow an extra day selling per week for each sales member, while the Sales and Marketing Manager is saving almost one week per month in manual reporting.
The platform is a key enabler for CDE to grow its Sales team whilst ensuring consistency of approach globally. The team has now grown from 10 to 30 people. This increased team is generating a higher volume of quotations, which are now managed through Flowlens pre-sales feature, reducing manual effort and improving risk assessment.
Thanks to the requirement gathering process, the project had full buy-in from the sales team and management resulting in full adoption of the platform. ‘Right-sized’ data capture and reporting requirements allow salespeople to get on with their jobs, without hampering management reporting.
Flowlens also enabled CDE to create added value for Partners and Customers by providing secure, personalised access to the system. Overall, due to the joined-up nature of the Flowlens solution, CDE enjoy complete visibility of the customer and project information, avoiding significant duplication of information and effort.
Survitec Group required a solution to manage servicing of its significant global fleet of liferafts, serving thousands of customers, and ensuring legal compliance for its network of service stations.
Liferafts must be serviced annually, at authorised service stations, by fully trained and accredited technicians. The challenge was to provide a platform that ensured complete control of these critical safety concerns, while providing complete traceability for the growing fleet of liferafts.
Commercially, Survitec sought a system that would secure additional revenue from servicing, certification, technician training, and spare parts, whilst ensuring legal compliance.
Like many fast growing businesses, the company’s Service function was over-reliant on paper and legacy IT systems, unfit for purpose in supporting the business as it grew. Off the shelf software had failed to meet the needs of the business, requiring processes to be compromised, resulting in low adoption among users. Over time, the business processes and systems had evolved organically and these required streamlining to remove inefficiencies to meet future growth ambitions.
Flowlens designed, configured and implemented a customer lifecycle management system, based on detailed workshops and analysis of the business needs, end users, and existing processes. The result is a tailored business process, asset servicing and management reporting platform.
Servicing and Asset Tracking ensures that Survitec has full traceability of the product as it leaves the factory and across its lifespan. Therefore annual service activity can be tracked, ensuring compliance with testing requirements and ensuring use of authorised spare parts. As the Group acquires new liferaft brands and service stations, these are easily migrated onto the system.
Flowlens ensures compliance by tracking the training and accreditation status of technicians, alongside approvals for service stations. As these expire, the platform ensures that technicians are booked onto refresher courses. Failure to stay accredited will result in a lock-out from the system. An online worksheet has also been introduced to streamline the service workflow and capture more valuable data.
Survitec can now alert its service station network to the latest compliance and safety procedures regarding its products, which must be observed and acknowledged. Previously this entailed substantial costs for paper documentation, postage and follow-up, which has been all but eliminated. Flowlens powers an Online Audit Worksheet, enabling the Global Audit team to capture and report on Service Station compliance. Management is able to use real-time information to manage compliance and avoid risks.
Historically, Survitec sold through distributors and as a result stayed at arms length from the customer or end-user. However, this was no longer viable as the competitive landscape changed. The Flowlens platform enables Survitec to understand and use its customer data and communications, to empower the Sales and Marketing teams to generate new opportunities and revenue.
Survitec has enjoyed considerable cost reductions, whilst doubling the size of the ‘fleet’ and service network managed. Flowlens ensures legal compliance across the global network, and facilitates quality procedures and the compliance audit trail.
Flowlens enables Survitec to track a liferaft from manufacture, through its lifecycle and service history until it is reaches its end-of-life. This end-to-end visibility has generated new commercial opportunities.
Before Flowlens, reporting could take days, requesting, collating and processing data manually from across the globe. Dashboards and reports now offer real-time insights and time-savings, including better sales forecasting, upselling and cross-selling opportunities, competitive insights, compliance issues and efficiency gains.
As a tailored solution that matches Survitec’s business processes exactly, the Flowlens platform is easy to use, free of clutter, and effective.
Due to the Flowlens long term partnership approach, there is a deep understanding of the Survitec Group business. Survitec trusts Flowlens to offer objective solutions to emerging business challenges and combined with the flexible nature of Flowlens, new requirements can be quickly developed and implemented.
New initiatives built upon Flowlens include the Survitec Group website and enquiry management system, ‘Global Hire’ Liferaft Hire management system, and Marin-Ark Quality Management System.