Inter Cars SA is an international company that specializes in the distribution of automotive parts. The company is a leader in the automotive spare parts industry in the Central and Eastern European region. Inter Cars is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The company has many divisions and a developed network of services.
Inter Cars SA, listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, is the largest distributor of spare parts for automobiles, delivery vans and motor trucks in Central and Eastern Europe. The company's product portfolio also includes workshop equipment; particularly devices for car servicing and repair as well as parts for motorcycles and tuning. Inter Cars has the broadest offer of parts for cars and trucks on the Central and Eastern European market – including Poland. This includes over a million spare parts and accessories for cars as well as for semi trailers, trailers, buses and agricultural machines. In July 2007, the company merged with the JC Auto Company – a leader in the Japanese and Korean car parts segment. Thanks to this merger, Inter Cars significantly boosted its position on the Polish and European automotive markets.
|Microsoft Dynamics CRM enabled the accumulation and effective use of knowledge about our customer relationships as well as the automation of many routine activities. This allows for quicker delivery of products and services that our customers actually need. We can now boast not only the largest assortment of goods in Poland, but also fast and efficient service.|
| Tomasz Jachimkowski|
Deputy Director of the IT Division
Inter Cars SA
The company currently has 153 affiliates in Poland and 106 divisions in Europe: in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Italy, as well as in Slovakia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary. Besides the distribution of spare parts, Inter Cars also sells the legendary motorcycle brands, Triumph and Ducati. It also sells parts and accessories for other motorcycle brands. The company runs over 1000 repair shops for the Polish chains Perfect Service, Q-Service, Q-Service Truck, Q-Service Premium, Q-Service Moto, Q-Service Motor Sport and Q-Service Off Road. It also owns two production companies: Lauber Sp. z o.o., which handles the repair and repurposing of car parts; and Feber Sp. z o.o., which produces trailers and semi trailers. Inter Cars also organizes spare parts, tools and repair shop equipment fairs as well as other events.
The size of the company, its international activity and its broad range of services led Inter Cars to decide to implement a CRM class system that would make it possible to organize all gathered customer data, to use the data effectively and to improve the execution of orders. This would in turn improve service for company's many groups of customers and contractors.
"Managing such a complex company structure constitutes a challenge. In a company of this size with such an expansive scale of activity, distribution is a very complex process that involves many employees. Thus, coordinating the activity of the entire company required the implementation of an appropriate IT system." – says Tomasz Jachimkowski, Deputy Director of the IT Division, Inter Cars SA. Challenge
Before implementing a CRM system to gather information about customer relations, Inter Cars SA mainly used the closed functions of an ERP solution. These were additionally supported by numerous Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. A lot of information was scattered, and its manual input into the system consumed a lot of time and caused numerous errors. Company employees, as well as management, were not able to quickly obtain complete data about the current status of activities in progress and company customer relations. This caused the company to seek an integrated system that would allow for the centralization of data and easy information management and analysis.
The organization of data about customers, who use repair shop technical services, also created many problems. It was important for the company to gather information concerning the history of purchases and repairs on an ongoing basis. This would enable the company to offer customers more personalized service and facilitate vehicle diagnostics in the case of their being serviced at different repair shops.
It was also important for the company to support the sales process and improve the management of sales representatives for the purpose of maintaining good relations with repair shops.
"Auto repair shops are our key customers. The scattered data that we gathered in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, such as repair shop opening hours, were insufficient. We needed a solution that would make it possible to expand information and its analysis for the purpose of improving the efficiency of the activities being conducted. We wanted data concerning the number of mechanics, employees and equipment used at a car repair shop. Such information makes it possible to develop customized offers and to successfully execute marketing campaigns." – comments Tomasz Jachimkowski, Deputy Director of the IT Division, Inter Cars SA.
Inter Cars also sought a solution that would easily integrate with applications that the company already used, such as ERP, Microsoft Exchange, Business Intelligence and SQL Server. Integration needed to be achieved without disturbing the company’s everyday functioning. Implementation
Given the maturity, user friendliness and openness of the programming environment, as well as the fluid integration with other applications in the company, Inter Cars decided to purchase the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 solution and afterwards manage its independent implementation.
Implementing the Solution
|Microsoft Dynamics CRM cannot be classified as a so-called "box" system". Thanks to its flexibility, it allows for the creation of new modules as a company develops and its needs increase. We are constantly increasing our number of offices and the scope of services and products we offer. Without a scalable, integrated, CRM class system, this would not be possible.|
| Tomasz Jachimkowski|
Deputy Director of the IT Division
Inter Cars SA
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM system was selected primarily due to the option of independent implementation. A dedicated programming team from Inter Cars was able to implement the software both efficiently and on its own. A friendly programming environment and the option of adapting a working, predefined "box" of Dynamics CRM applications made users very happy and resulted in its successful implementation.
"We wanted above all else to integrate the CRM system with other applications used by the company. We wanted the new solution to include customer information from the ERP, as well as analytical data, sales data and reports from data warehouses. Implementation took place gradually with the start-up of the solution in individual company divisions – IT, sales, repair shop equipment, marketing." – explains Jacek Dobkowski, System Implementation Expert, Inter Cars SA.
In order to more easily fulfill the need for support of individual business areas, Inter Cars decided to migrate the solution to a higher version – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.
"Updating to a higher version of the Dynamics CRM solution took one weekend. The upgrade covered the CRM system as well as the Microsoft SQL database, new servers and the relocation of Microsoft SQL Server nodes to two independent locations. Testing the solution took about 3–4 weeks, and post-implementation adjustments lasted one week.” – adds Piotr Kalinowski, System Implementation Expert, Inter Cars SA.
The platform currently boasts nearly 1000 users. Solution
Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers functions that enable the facilitation of customer relations. Through effective management of the areas of sales, marketing and customer service, the solution makes it possible to offer the right products to the right customers according to gathered and analyzed data consolidated in the system. It also enables the provision of services on an international scale and strategic decision-making concerning the company’s further activities.
"Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 gives our employees full access to customer information. The solution supports the company in strengthening relations with customers and partners; improving efficiency and facilitating cooperation throughout the organization." – says Tomasz Jachimkowski, Deputy Director of the IT Division, Inter Cars SA. Modules
Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution modules were executed in sequence at the IT, car and truck sales, repair shop equipment and marketing divisions. This made them much more efficient. Gradual implementation of the Dynamics CRM functionality enabled the support of various business areas at Inter Cars SA.
In the sales division, the company implemented a module for efficient management of sales representatives and their work by planning visits and targeting customer offers combined with reporting of results. Other modules available in the system enable support and coordination of entire teams of sales representatives, development and coordination of sales plan execution and implementation of contracts with customers.
The solution also supports the repair shop equipment division: a module introduced into the CRM monitors the post-sales servicing of repair shop devices such as car jacks, balancers, etc.
With Dynamics CRM, the marketing division can now manage VIP customers, prepare and run email and telemarketing campaigns, create and conduct promotional activities as well as manage meetings with customers.
"The Repair Shop Masters Gala 2013, one of the biggest events of this type in the industry, is planned and arranged entirely through a module created using the CRM solution." – says Tomasz Jachimkowski, Deputy Director of the IT Division, Inter Cars SA. Data Systematization
Microsoft Dynamics CRM made the process of data input and unification more efficient. Customer information is gathered in standardized sheets, thanks to which the company has the same knowledge about every one of its customers. The risk of errors was also minimized; compared to manual consolidation which leads to higher error frequency. Access to Data and Decision-making
It was important for the board of directors at Inter Cars to be able to access and analyze company data at any time. They also needed to monitor company activity as a whole and scrutinize the functioning of particular divisions or offices. Such information would make it possible to base strategic decisions on reliable data and to modify company product portfolio so as to make it even more customized and attractive to customers. Rapid Processing of Information and Work Facilitation
The company (offering over a million products and a broad range of services: sales, distribution, and service, and managing relations with networks of more than 1000 workshops and over 250 commercial offices in Poland and abroad) required a tool that could quickly and efficiently process data concerning all of its customers, products and offices. It expected the system to support sales representatives in maintaining relationships with current customers and to facilitate the process of acquiring new customers.
The new software afforded front-line employees better capabilities for cooperation with other company divisions as well as valuable information regarding customers, allowing for more accurate preparation of offers. Data Centralization
One of the most important features required of the system was the capability of strict integration with applications already used by Inter Cars – ERP, Business Intelligence, Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server, as well as the central database. The company needed a cohesive IT infrastructure that would gather data about customers and contractors in one place. This data would then be accessible to all authorized employees.
"It was important for Inter Cars to centralize data scattered over numerous company units into one cohesive system that would, above all else, facilitate the work of sales representatives." – comments Tomasz Jachimkowski, Deputy Director of the IT Division, Inter Cars SA. Improvement of Service Levels and Work Quality Control
The company required the implemented system to automate routine processes. This would contribute to time savings and to work cost reduction. It would also ensure the highest quality of services through the minimization of errors made during interaction with customers.
"The need to boost customer service quality contributed to the decision to implement the Dynamics CRM tool. Today dynamic development is possible for those organizations that can effectively gather, use and control key business knowledge." – explains Tomasz Jachimkowski, Deputy Director of the IT Division, Inter Cars SA. Internet Sites
The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM at Inter Cars SA also has internet elements. The company uses numerous internet-based solutions that leverage data gathered in the CRM function. The flagship website, motointegrator.pl, enables contact between a retail customer and a repair shop. The site provides information such as maps with driving directions, GPS data, services offered and opening hours of car repair shops based on data gathered in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Business Benefits
With the new system it was possible to gather and organize data in one place, optimize the work of sales representatives in all stages (from scheduling to agreement of customer visits), as well as to improve the quality of customer service.
Overall, Microsoft Dynamics CRM made it possible to:
- Gather a large amount of data in a transparent structure and continuously update it. This makes it much easier to browse and process the data, as well as use it for forecasting and making decisions that have an impact on the company's future strategy,
- Control access to information depending on an employee's business role,
- Automate many routine computational processes. This contributed to a reduction in the number of employee errors and enabled quality control for the duties they perform,
- Support sales representatives in all stages of their work – from scheduling visits to agreements with customers,
- Significantly improve customer service levels, which are currently more efficient and precise. Furthermore, by accumulating exact data, the system enables an individualized approach to the customer, regardless of their location,
- Centralize data, which allows the company’s board of directors to exert full control over the entire company, including its individual divisions, and to make decisions based on factual data drawn from the system,
- Create dedicated marketing campaigns based on current data gathered by the system,
- Create leasing/investment contracts between Inter Cars and car repair shops, enabling stronger business relationships.
The intuitive use and tools for data migration available in Microsoft Dynamics CRM made it possible to import data efficiently to the new system without complications. These tools also allowed the company to integrate new software with the applications and databases already in use, without the need for support from a specialized implementation company.
"We did not think that a system which fulfills such advanced and varied requirements could be so easy to implement, integrate and use. We are pleased that our employees are coping well with the new system in as part of their everyday work. This confirms our belief that implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM was the right decision. We plan to use the application on mobile devices in the future, and we are considering the possibility of using the solution at our subsidiaries." – summarizes Tomasz Jachimkowski, Deputy Director of the IT Division, Inter Cars SA. For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to: www.microsoft.com/dynamics
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Document published October 2013