Kügele Profile designs, manufactures, and supplies metal profiles for floor coverings in residential and commercial establishments. Founded in 1966, the company has four locations across Europe, with manufacturing suppliers all over the world. With sales, management, and manufacturing widely distributed, the company wanted to find a more efficient way to process and fulfil product orders. It also wanted to provide tools to ease communication and collaboration between employees and manufacturers, without placing additional burdens on its small IT team. Kügele turned to Microsoft Gold Certified Partner atwork information technology, who suggested Microsoft cloud-based services to help streamline processes and reduce IT costs. With hosted services like Microsoft Office 365, Kügele has improved productivity by 30 percent, and it expects to see additional improvements in the near future.Situation
Founded in 1966, Kügele Profile is a family-owned company and one of the leading developers, manufacturers, and worldwide suppliers of metal profiles for laminate, parquet and solid-wood floors, textile and elastic floor coverings, and ceramic tiles. The company is also one of the European market leaders for special profile solutions for builders and subcontractors. Well-known industrial companies, wholesalers, furnishing houses, building suppliers, floor and tile layers, and room outfitters place their trust in the high quality products of Kügele. It employs 50 people.
||With the capabilities provided to us through Microsoft Office 365, we have improved productivity by about 30 percent.
Controller, Kügele Profile
Kügele has four offices across Europe that handle management, production, and sales. The company plans to open a fifth location in Western Europe as part of its global export strategy. To help fulfill orders for customers, the company uses manufacturers and distributors all over the world.
Employees at its offices in Europe rely heavily on the company’s email service. Alexander Perko, Controller at Kügele, explains, “Email is a critical part of the business for us, not only to communicate with manufacturers, but also with our customers. We use it to send marketing materials to potential customers and to provide order status updates for our current customers.” One challenge the company faced was how to provide the most up-to-date marketing materials for customers. Employees were often unaware when new marketing materials were available, so they sent the most recent brochures, photos, and item and price lists they had saved in their inboxes, so the materials were sometimes incorrect.
To exchange order information with manufacturers and distributors in other countries, Kügele relied on a highly manual process: it created spreadsheets for customer orders and physically mailed them to the manufacturer, who would update the order information and mail it back to Kügele. “We needed a way for everyone to have better visibility into the status of orders and to make the process more immediate. By mailing orders back and forth, we were slowing things down and not fulfilling orders as quickly as we wanted,” says Perko.
Kügele considered some on-premises collaboration and communications solutions to help improve the order process, but it rejected them because of the high cost and the additional burden they would place on the company’s small IT team. On-premises solutions would have also required a redesign of its IBM server infrastructure, which the IT team already struggled to manage.
To help find a solution, Kügele turned to Microsoft Gold Certified Partner atwork information technology. atwork provides IT services that include network infrastructure, data management, custom development, software solutions, and cloud solutions consulting. For Kügele, atwork believed the best solution was based in the cloud: it suggested that Kügele subscribe to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a collection of hosted services that included Microsoft SharePoint Online. “We started using SharePoint Online to share calendar and contact information, and atwork created a digital asset library where we can share product logos and images,” explains Perko. Solution
Kügele was happy with the improvements it experienced by using SharePoint Online, so it decided to become an early adopter of Microsoft Office 365, which combines the familiar Office desktop with enhanced cloud-based communication and collaboration services. “As a small business, Kügele is very committed to cloud-based solutions,” says Martina Grom, Partner at atwork information technology. “With Office 365, they can still provide the same solutions that larger companies can provide for employees.”
||For Kügele, Office 365 is a reliable and affordable solution. Now they have one place where they can provide advanced services without the overhead of additional infrastructure.
Partner, atwork information technology
With Office 365, Kügele plans to expand the services it provides for employees through the cloud. It is transitioning its messaging solution from its current POP3 service to Microsoft Exchange Online. Employees will use Outlook Web App to access email and calendar capabilities.
Kügele is also providing real-time communication capabilities such as presence and instant messaging through Microsoft Lync Online. The IT team can use desktop sharing to troubleshoot issues for employees at other office locations. Employees can see through presence information whether colleagues are available to answer questions or have a discussion.
Eventually, the company plans to federate with manufacturers in other countries so that employees can share presence information and calendars with its partners.
atwork has also built a solution through SharePoint Online to help Kügele implement a custom order system. “Now we can see the container contents and current delivery status for every order we process,” says Perko. “We have also enabled external sharing for our manufacturers, so they can see the status of orders.” Kügele plans to move additional processes and information into SharePoint Online, so that it can track processes for change management purposes.Benefits
With cloud-based services from Microsoft, Kügele can offer the same messaging, communications, and collaboration solutions that large enterprises provide for their employees, but at a fraction of the cost. “For Kügele, Office 365 is a reliable and affordable solution,” says Grom. “Now they have one place where they can provide advanced services without the overhead of additional infrastructure.”
Improved Productivity by 30 Percent
With the custom solution built by atwork in SharePoint Online, Kügele can streamline its order process and provide better visibility into the order process for all parties involved. Teams can work together more easily in real time because they can view presence information and start conversations about orders instantly. “With the capabilities provided to us through Microsoft Office 365, we have improved productivity by about 30 percent,” says Perko.
Kügele can also fulfill orders faster than it could previously, because it no longer has to wait for information to be passed through email. Instead, it can share information with manufacturing and distribution through SharePoint Online. “As we continue to build processes and workflows in SharePoint online, we can track information to see how we can further improve our processes,” says Perko. Reduced Costs by 30 Percent
Kügele has avoided or reduced costs about 30 percent by deploying Microsoft Office 365 for its employees. By providing services in the cloud, the company avoided the cost of providing an on-premises solution, which would have required new hardware, licenses, and IT personnel to manage it. It also avoided the cost of providing an additional SharePoint license for manufacturers so that they could access order information; instead, it can provide access to their trusted business partners as a part of its subscription.
With Office 365, Kügele can further reduce costs by eliminating the third-party antivirus and antispam solutions it used for email protection. It can also reduce travel and support costs, because the IT team can use instant messaging and desktop sharing through Lync Online to troubleshoot issues instead of traveling to another location to provide support.
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.
Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement that guarantees 99 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.
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