A CRM system built from scratch using
a low-code technology for process automation.
When striving for the effective implementation of a digital transformation strategy, it is worth following the example of companies that have been successfully doing it for years. A great example of such a company is ROHLIG SUUS Logistics. In less than two years, they implemented a tailor-made CRM system for managing customer relations and sales, built on a low-code business process management and automation platform – WEBCON BPS.
ROHLIG SUUS Logistics is a leader in complex logistics and supply chain management solutions. In Poland, they have developed their own domestic LTL distribution system with 24h delivery efficiency. Throughout Europe, they operate a partnership system that serves around 200 regular groupage lines per week. Furthermore, they offer warehousing services in their logistics centers boasting a total area of over 200 000 square meters, equipped with advanced technologies and environment-friendly solutions.
ROHLIG SUUS Logistics used an off-the-shelf CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for over a decade. At one point they decided that the current solution no longer met their expectations and was not keeping pace with the company’s growth.
By closely observing the market of new technologies, we realized that we needed a new, flexible tool that would further facilitate professional and personalized customer service, as well as supporting efficient and smooth communication within the organization – Teresa Bukalska, Head of the Project Management Office at ROHLIG SUUS Logistics.
After evaluating the most promising systems available on the market, the company chose an off-the-shelf solution. However, already at the Proof of Concept stage, it turned out that the system would not be able to handle the extensive and complex range of processes, including the industry-specific ones that characterize the logistics sector.
At that time, ROHLIG SUUS Logistics started working with ArchiDoc, an IT solutions provider that specializes in electronic document management and the digitization of business processes.
Together, they had already implemented a digital workflow for invoice approval management, e-invoices, and an electronic repository of shipping documents that uses an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) mechanism. The solutions were built using a low-code platform for business process management and automation – WEBCON BPS. The high flexibility of the solution and the good experience of cooperating with ArchiDoc convinced the RSL Project Management Office to try out WEBCON BPS, as it was already part of the company’s IT infrastructure, in the context of developing a comprehensive CRM system. After a successful verification of Proof of Concept, they decided to build a CRM from scratch using the WEBCON BPS platform.
The project started with a business analysis that helped define the scope of the project.
The foundation of each implementation project for us is a thorough review of the company’s business processes. We never copy the current way of performing processes 1:1, but take the time to analyze it, and look for new ways to work better and more efficiently. We treat the business analysis stage as an opportunity to re-organize business processes, locate the so-called happy flow and create a safe framework for further workflow modeling – Teresa Bukalska, Head of PMO at ROHLIG SUUS Logistics.
The basic processes to be analyzed during this project were the sales processes. They were grouped to create one intuitive mega process, comprising such elements as Sales Leads, Business Opportunities and the development and management of inquiries (RFI / RFQ).
We also included carriers in this mega process, who are a very large part of our contractors. As a result, a compendium of knowledge was created in one place, where you could easily check whether a given carrier has, for example, a valid policy or license, which is crucial in ensuring the safety and quality of shipments – Teresa Bukalska.
ROHLIG SUUS Logistics uses many modern IT applications and systems on a daily basis. One of them is the ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), which ensures smooth communication between different platforms and provides an efficient flow of information within the organization. This solution can be integrated with almost any software used in the company. All the data from domain-specific systems goes to the ESB, from where it is retrieved by other applications when needed.
The CRM system had to also be integrated with the ESB.
Using the out-of-the-box functionalities of WEBCON BPS, we have built a communication module that globally manages the process of sending events (tasks, activities, approvals) to other applications, regardless of the source of the call and the data recipient. This allows for a seamless management of the integration with the ESB, and the CRM system itself flawlessly communicates with the accounting system, transportation system, email client and BI tools – Adam Kubat, Head of IT Systems at ArchiDoc.
CRM has also been connected to external data sources, including KRS and CEIDG databases, which allows for automatic data imports for such things as the quick registration of a contractor in the system.
With such a complex and extensive project scope, there were quite a few challenges along the way. One of them was managing the growing number of changes proposed by the business users. Fortunately, WEBCON BPS’s ability to immediately implement changes at every project stage (even after its completion) allowed the approach to be changed to take into account evolving business requirements and scope creep management.
The most difficult challenge was still around the corner, though.
We had to design a business rule that simultaneously assigns our sales reps to postal codes, branches, and products, and at the same time freely manages exceptions.We knew that it would not be an easy task, especially since this was a problem for the off-the-shelf solution we had originally considered. The fact that the BPM-class platform met such a challenging requirement confirmed our belief that we had made the right decision by choosing a tailor-made solution. – Teresa Bukalska
The process of implementing the CRM system in ROHLIG SUUS Logistics lasted 23 months. A large part of that time was related to determining the scope of the project, remodeling selected processes and convincing c-level management to choose a tool that would revolutionize the way they work. There were 40 people involved in designing the concept for the IT solution, later joined by a further 20 testers. When working on the project, the team used both agile and PRINCE2 methodologies, which allowed for a flexible calibration of its scope to make the most of the system’s capabilities.
Out of 9 processes and 65 attributes initially planned for analysis, as many as 54 processes and over 400 attributes were finally digitized, i.e. six times more than assumed in the original plan. During the migration phase (which was divided into several stages due to the size of this task) data on tens of thousands of contractors was transferred.
The impressive scale of this project is the perfect proof that modern low-code solutions are not only suitable for the quick digitization of individual processes or a specific area within the company, although this in itself significantly improves the daily tasks and operations. Such solutions can also be successfully used for much more advanced projects, including business-critical elements of IT, such as customer relationship management systems – Jakub Romankiewicz, Partner Channel Manager at WEBCON.
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