EPortal improves customer interaction at insulation firm

Recession prompts move to new online system

The recession sparked the introduction of a new online system at Tasman Insulation New Zealand, a manufacturer of glass wool insulation and building laminates.

During the downturn, Tasman Insulation’s general manager Tony Te Au asked himself how the customer experience could be further enhanced. After talking to customers, to gain a better understanding of what they liked and disliked about dealing with Tasman Insulation, an interactive ePortal for customers turned out to be the answer to the ‘enhancement’ question.

“This kind of portal only works if you have the buy-in from customers,” says Elena Wong, head of business systems at the company.

The SAP ePortal lets customers place orders, check the status of their orders, check their invoices, credits and statements, run sales reports, request literature, log customer complaints and access terms of trade information.

The company was already using SAP but it investigated using technology from other vendors as well, she says. However, as the company already had the SAP skill sets in-house, and the promised return on investment, SAP turned out to be the most suitable choice, she says. ROI is expected in six to nine months, Wong says. Improving the relationship with customers is the primary benefit of the system, but it has also added advantages, such as freeing up staff members’ time. The solution already saves three days every month for the company’s customer service manager.

Buy-in from staff and customers has been great so far, says Wong.

SAP’s partner Tango assisted with refining the design of the system, and also to sell the goals of it to senior management, says Peter Herbert, commercial manager at Tasman Insulation. “The team at Tango were insightful,” he says.

From conception to design of the system took a couple of months and testing was finished in two weeks, he says. The ePortal will roll out to customers’ head offices initially and then to store level by the end of the year.

“Overall the project has gone incredibly smoothly,” says Herbert. “It wasn’t expensive, it was easy to do and it has delivered in excess of our expectations.”

Tasman Insulation is part of the Fletcher Building Group and other IT managers within the group are now following the ePortal project with interest, says the company.

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