U.K. Lighting Manufacturer Gets Clearer View of Activities with New CRM System

At Thorlux Lighting, engineers provide continuous post-sales support. But opportunities to increase productivity were being missed due to limited visibility of engineers’ activities. The firm couldn’t identify whether site visits were being invoiced or if engineers had the right equipment. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM—implemented by eBECS, Microsoft Dynamics Reseller of the Year 2012—Thorlux now has a clearer view of activities across the business.

Business Needs

Thorlux Lighting, a division of the F.W. Thorpe PLC Group, is proud of its strong post-sales support, commissioning and fine-tuning customers’ commercial and industrial lighting installations.

Paul Moisy, Technical Services Manager, Thorlux Lighting, says: “Over the past 10 years, our post-sales support activity has expanded rapidly. It has grown from a couple of engineers with some part-time administrative help, to a team of more than 20 that splits the workload between engineers that make site visits and engineers that provide customer service advice and support in our technical department.”

However, along with that growth came a loss of visibility. The firm was finding it increasingly challenging to establish the efficiency of operations and the commercial value that they provided to the rest of the business.

“How many site visits were we making each year? To which customers? How many of those visits involved rectification—and at what cost to the business? Questions like these were extremely difficult to answer: we just didn’t have the information,” says Moisy.

Anecdotal evidence suggested that opportunities were being missed to combine customer visits, increasing the number of visits each engineer could make per day. Likewise, there was a suspicion that some potentially chargeable engineer visits were only partly invoiced or not at all.

“We needed a system that could help us keep better track of what we were doing, why we were doing it, and for whom,” says Moisy. “A basic customer relationship management (CRM) system as used by our sales team would be of no use and had already been discounted. So what sort of system would match our needs?”

Solution

While Thorlux was happy to keep an open mind about the eventual shape of the solution, one option was rejected from the start. Moisy and the other Thorlux senior managers were adamant that they didn’t want a custom-built solution, or a package with limited support and a small user base.

Moisy says: “We wanted a solution with a strong history of development, support, and an extensive user base. In addition, we wanted the ability to customise and adapt it to our changing needs.”

A two-year search eventually led Thorlux to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, sourced from and implemented by Microsoft Gold Business Partner eBECS.

“From a solution perspective, Microsoft Dynamics CRM fulfilled our requirements sufficiently. From a solution provider perspective, eBECS combined a strong pedigree in manufacturing with a strong history of working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” says Moisy. “The more we talked to them, the more we felt that they understood what we were trying to achieve”.

The system was implemented at the end of 2011, and the results to date have been impressive. Moisy says: “Microsoft Dynamics CRM has given us an eye-opening amount of visibility into our post-sales support processes, and the opportunities that exist to increase the value to the business.

“We ended up getting a lot more than we expected. We’re able to target areas for improvement quickly, and pinpoint how we can serve our customers more effectively. Also, the information that becomes visible can now be fed back into our sales and manufacturing processes.”

Benefits

While Thorlux had high expectations of its investment in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, several early benefits quickly highlighted the power of the system, prompting the company to make its processes more transparent.

Company gets better view of activities. “We were concerned about how much engineering time we were giving away by not invoicing chargeable visits,” explains Moisy. “We were also anxious to understand costs and pinpoint areas to take advantage of opportunities.”

Firm reduces costs. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has helped the company reduce costs through better workflow, improved productivity, and enhanced visibility of data—leading to more site visits per engineer per day.

Solution gives Thorlux flexibility. “We are impressed with the flexibility and configurability of the system,” says Moisy. “We wanted to be able to make changes to the database and workflow ourselves without going back to eBECS.”

Company plans to extend use of Microsoft Dynamics acrossthe business. “In terms of power, configurability, and return on investment, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been truly transformative,” says Moisy. “The question now is how we extend its benefits to the rest of the business and integrate it with other business systems across the company.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Customer Size: Medium Organization
Industry: High Tech & Electronics
Country or Region: United Kingdom
Solutions:
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Organization Profile:

Established in 1936, Redditch-based Thorlux Lighting is a specialist manufacturer and supplier of commercial and industrial lighting. It provides a range of professional lighting and control systems.

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