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JSI Store Fixtures, Manufacturer of Retail Displays Turns to Scribe’s iPaaS to Drive Better Sales Forecasting

For over 25 years, we have created food-forward displays that have transformed the perimeter of supermarkets across the country. And we’re not stopping there. We are partnering with future-minded retailers to re-envision the shopper experience across channels, formats, and product categories. We are fusing our rich experience in fresh foods with our focus on engineering efficiency, operator convenience, and earth-friendly production.

THE CHALLENGE: IMPROVE SALES FORECASTS AND ENABLE THE BUSINESS TO GROW

A manufacturer of merchandising displays—including boxes, bins and refrigerated cases—had experienced fast growth over the previous five years. Customers, which included large grocery store and supermarket chains, were ordering more than 1,000 standard and custom displays every month. But the company’s leaders knew that if they wanted the company to continue to grow, they needed a stronger IT infrastructure, especially one that would give them better visibility into the end-to-end sales process and allow them to better forecast sales.

Originally, the sales team captured opportunities, proposals and display designs in its Salesforce CRM system. Orders, shipments and invoices, however, were separately captured and tracked in the company’s Infor VISUAL ERP system.

With the two systems operating in isolation, the sales team could not readily see whether sales orders had come in and how sales orders compared to quotes; they had to contact someone on the finance team to check the ERP system manually. Even then, generating the type of reports that sales needed from the ERP system proved difficult.

“Creating an accurate sales forecast was a very difficult, manual process,” says Elissa Bradley, a Senior Consultant at Sadhana Consulting, which provides the client with complete Salesforce consulting and implementation services as well as ongoing support and maintenance. “Their sales team didn’t have easy access to orders to check their status or their size. The company wanted to give sales people instantaneous feedback into orders so they could more easily forecast monthly sales. That would lead to other substantial benefits such as a better planning process for the manufacturing operation and a stepped-up level of service for customers who wanted to know the status of an order.”

These requirements made the mission clear for Sadhana Consulting. Close the sales cycle loop between Salesforce and the VISUAL ERP system to give the client’s sales team real-time access to the status of quotes, orders and invoices. Achieving this mission would help ensure the grocery stores received the display products they require and give better visibility to customers, the sales team, the manufacturing team and sales leadership.

THE SOLUTION: SCRIBE IMPROVES SALES CYCLE VISIBILITY BY INTEGRATING ERP AND CRM SYSTEMS

To help the client take on this challenge and provide its sales team with all the information it needs to effectively provide services to customers, Sadhana Consulting recommended the Scribe iPaaS (integration platform as a service).

“We initially considered using DBAmp from forceAmp for this project, but that solution requires a high level of coding to bring data models over to Salesforce,” Bradley points out. “This approach also adds to the overall solution cost and requires an internal technical resource to maintain the data model after the deployment. We wanted to make data integration between the two systems simple and less costly—and that’s what Scribe delivers.”

Sadhana strongly recommends clients avoid the coding option when it comes to data integrations. Coding means clients have to hire resources to change the coding if a data flow ever breaks or if data fields change.

“But the Scribe data connectors are easy to set up,” says Bradley. “Even non-technical personnel can create and maintain the data flows.”

When the client evaluated the Scribe data integration platform, the internal IT team valued that Scribe generates error logs so it knows immediately if any data does not transfer correctly. The internal team also appreciated how the Scribe graphical interface makes it easy to map fields from VISUAL to fields in Salesforce.

THE RESULTS: PRIME POSITION TO SCALE AS BUSINESS DEMANDS INCREASE

Leveraging the Scribe data integration platform, Sadhana created integrations for the client that bring key customer information into Salesforce from VISUAL: sales orders, shipments and invoices. Each of the data sets breaks down further into individual lines (parts) that make up each order. This creates the level of granularity the sales team needs to forecast sales projections by different products and services—including fixtures, refrigeration units, foam components, wood components and shipping.

With all this information flowing into Salesforce automatically, the sales team no longer needs to check with the finance team to confirm the status of orders, shipments and invoices. They can see everything in Salesforce, where it’s also much easier to generate reports to analyze sales activity by client accounts, by reps, and by product lines. “This is a benefit for the finance team too,” Bradley says. “They don’t get pulled away from their jobs to help out the sales team.”

The exchange of information between the ERP and CRM systems also provides the manufacturing team with greater visibility into how many orders they need to fulfill, which sometimes number as many as 1,000 per month. This capability will be key as the company scales and production forecasts need to be more accurate.

More importantly, the sales team can now be more responsive when customers ask about an order—the information is right at their fingertips in Salesforce. The team can also analyze in real time how well it performs in turning quotes into orders and just how much product each client purchases.

But a bigger benefit is that the sales team can now forecast more accurately. “Each rep manages a large number of orders, and it used to be difficult to sort the orders for each display component,” Bradley explains. “With Scribe passing data from VISUAL into Salesforce, the sales team can now easily adjust their forecast numbers throughout the month and make appropriate adjustments to their sales efforts immediately—instead of waiting to get reports at the end of each month.”

The client now benefits from improved forecasting along with the ability to better service customers, analyze sales activity, and predict manufacturing needs. And thanks to Sadhana Consulting and Scribe, the client is also in prime position to scale operations as business demands continue to increase.

KEY BENEFITS OF INTEGRATING ERP AND CRM DATA WITH SCRIBE

  • Facilitates accurate sales forecasts on an on-going basis rather than waiting until end of each month.
  • Helps company scale more efficiently as business continues to grow steadily.
  • Creates the granularity sales needs to forecast sales projections by different products and services.
  • Eliminates the need for sales to check with finance on the status of orders, shipments and invoices.
  • Provides manufacturing with greater visibility into how many orders need to be fulfilled.
  • Enables sales to be more responsive when customers inquire about order status.
  • Streamlines analysis of how quotes turn into orders and how much product each client purchases.

Regent University Accelerates Lead Follow-Up with Scribe’s Real-time Integration to Ellucian Recruit

Founded in 1978 in Virginia Beach, Regent University is one of the nation’s leading academic centers for Christian thought and action. Students, faculty and administrators all share a calling—founded on biblical principles—to make a significant difference in the world. Regent offers affordable, high-quality degree programs while also preparing men and women to excel both in mind and spirit. The university enrolls approximately 9,000 students each year, and in 2017 topped the list of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report.

THE CHALLENGE: RESPOND IMMEDIATELY TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENT INQUIRIES

Regent University had a goal to grow the university’s enrollment. That meant that the admissions office and the IT infrastructure had to prepare for an increased marketing effort and plan to interact with a greater number of prospects.

“We knew our admissions staff was going to be responding to more inbound inquiries from prospective students, so we needed to enable our admissions counselors to work more efficiently,” explains John Reddy, Director of Web Development for Regent University. “We are among the fastest growing universities in the country, and we want to keep that momentum going.”

To accelerate their recruiting efforts, the university decided to deploy Ellucian CRM Recruit, which runs on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and is designed especially for higher-ed recruitment. Ellucian would allow admissions counselors to personalize their communication with prospective students and follow up on any leads generated through website inquiries and pay-per-click (PPC) and pay-per-lead (PPL) marketing programs run on third-party websites.

Whether Regent University can convert a prospective student to an applicant is dependent on how fast the admissions counselors can respond to an inquiry. The university strives to reach out by phone within just a few minutes of receiving an inquiry, which means leads need to flow into the Ellucian system as fast as possible.

But Ellucian didn’t offer a fast way to import the leads from the Oracle database, which is where the university aggregated all its leads. Rekeying the information manually would have required extra resources, and running a batch process to move the data once per hour would have hurt their conversion rates.

To ensure fast follow up, Regent therefore needed an integration solution that could connect Ellucian CRM Recruit to the Oracle database and execute data exchanges in real time. “We needed real-time data synchronization because it’s best to contact prospective students right after they submit an inquiry,” Reddy says. “That’s the key moment-in-time when they are most interested in hearing what we have to offer; we can’t let that opportunity slip by.”

THE SOLUTION: SCRIBE PROVIDES THE MISSING LINK

After conducting research of possible integration solutions, Regent University identified three possible candidates to connect the Oracle database to Ellucian CRM Recruit. These included Scribe, Jitterbit and MuvData.

“We reviewed quotes from all three companies, but Scribe set itself apart by demonstrating how Scribe Online is the easiest to implement and the most reliable in executing real-time data exchanges,” says Reddy. “We created a test account and set up the data integration without any training.”

Given that the IT team was in a time-crunch to deploy Ellucian CRM Recruit quickly to help maintain and accelerate recruitment efforts, Scribe’s ease-of-deployment and ease-of-use were critical factors. And since Microsoft Dynamics and the underlying Microsoft SQL database were new to the IT team, using Scribe Online to see the entities and the Microsoft fields proved helpful in picking up the nuances of those technologies.

“The Scribe website offers instructional videos, which walked us through all the different integrations we could build,” Reddy says. “After watching the videos, it was pretty easy for us to know what to do.”

THE RESULTS: BETTER EXPERIENCES FOR PROSPECTS AND INCREASED ENROLLMENT

The new workflow process—with Scribe Online transferring data from the Oracle database into Ellucian CRM Recruit in real time—continues to work effectively. Because the integration was able to match the existing business process, the recruitment staff was able to use the new system without any interruption. And when any data-transfer errors occur, Scribe Online immediately pinpoints the issue so Reddy and his team can resolve it before end-users are impacted.

“Our entire team is very impressed with how well Scribe works,” Reddy says. “It does everything we need in relation to transferring data in real time from the Oracle database into Ellucian CRM Recruit.”

In addition to utilizing the Scribe integration that connects the Oracle and Ellucian CRM Recruit systems when a prospective student submits a website form, the combined technologies also help conduct outreach for recruitment events. Regent can also use Scribe for on-demand situations, such as running a mass update in Ellucian CRM Recruit.

Ultimately, Scribe Online has enabled the Regent University IT team to achieve the results required by the senior leadership team when choosing to deploy Ellucian CRM Recruit: “In addition to creating better experiences for prospects as they interact with our admissions counselors, we have also enhanced our internal efficiencies in the way we process prospect data,” Reddy says. “Most importantly, we can continue our mission of immediately calling prospects back, which contributes to our overall effort of continuing to increase our enrollments.”