Convenient client portal offers advantages for employees and clients alike at family business Soenen Golfkarton
Soenen Golfkarton has been processing corrugated cardboard into tailor-made packagings since 1964. The family business from Hooglede-Gits has about 20 processing machines at its disposal, enabling them to offer a wide range of boxes. They also have 2 modern corrugated cardboard machines with a width of 2.81 meters. Their specialty products are, among others, American boxes, high-quality flexo printing in up to 7 colors, punched packagings, larger series and die-cut boxes. Soenen Golfkarton is one of the most modern and automated factories for corrugated cardboard in Europe.
In sync with an experienced software partner
“Our sales department had been working partly automated for some time already. For example, there were pre-set moments when a list of pending orders per client were sent out through the ERP-system. However, this was not fully standardized and our people at the sales department still had to work on it,” explains Sales Manager Bénédicte Soenen. Together with IT Manager Wim Vandenberghe she went looking for a reliable software partner who could help shape and implement a solution. The goal being: full automation, leading to information being permanently available online, which in turn would lead to better efficiency and control in the company. “Conics has a vast experience in our industry and from the first contact onward we felt like they perfectly understood our needs and problems. That inspired confidence so we started working together,” says Wim.
Fathoming a complex graphic flow
At the start of the project, Bénédicte and Wim did their ‘homework’ with some employees. “We reflected about the complex flow in our company and stuck the different steps with post-its on a big cardboard sign. We then presented this to the people of Conics. They immediately understood how we work and what type of solution we needed. It was great to see that we were at the same level at once!” remembers Wim.
Working more efficiently, extra motivation
Based on the information from the preliminary phase, Conics could work on a solution: a user-friendly solution to manage our artworks, including a client portal with up-to-date information. Here, the clients of Soenen Golfkarton can, amongst other things, consult the status of their pending orders at all times. Bénédicte: “This way we want to inform our clients better with information that is available 24/24 and which is always up-to-date.”
Implementation in phases
The implementation of the solution was carried out in several phases. Wim explains: “The first phase was a purely technical connection with our own ERP system. Our people in-house put all data ready. These data were then picked up by Conics so they could start working. Thanks to the excellent interaction with Conics, we managed to stay below 50% of our estimated budget in this phase. The second phase was more complex. This was still an internal phase, this time in interaction with our development department, which is responsible for the artwork of the products. We asked them to enlist all the steps a client has to complete in the process. In the past, all of these steps were completed by e-mail but there was no visible control flow. This led to problems, for example when someone got ill, and there were also the occasional mistakes. It took a lot of time to structure all of these steps because in the end things weren’t always clear anymore. Not even for our own people. Finally, we managed to define ten concrete steps. On the new portal, soon everyone will have a clear view per order on which steps have already been completed for the artwork. Thanks to this structure it is now a lot easier for everyone to step in at any given moment of the process. Right now we are in phase three of the implementation, in which the clients will also get access to the platform.”
Expanding step by step
For the moment the reactions of clients vary. “Some are very enthusiastic about the new system and appreciate the advantages. Of course there are also those who hold on to the old ways. In any case, the transition will take time, but it will be all right in the end. Our own employees for one are already greatly in favor of this new way of working,” says Bénédicte. “We are already thinking about extensions and new functionalities. But all in good time. The advantage of this software is that we can start small and expand at our own pace as we go,” Wim adds.
Successful project with a considerable credibility and support
The software is a combination of several systems. However, the ERP system Dynamics AX, which is managed by the in-house IT department of Soenen Golfkarton, remains the central axis. The tailor-made software designed by Conics adds extra logic and is the backbone of the new process. This software is combined with Proofscope and Cloudflow by Hybrid Software, which are used for managing the graphic files. These two last software systems were also implemented by the people of Conics and allow for the whole system to interconnect seamlessly. “This project is a unique collaboration between sales and IT, two crucial functions in a company. Bénédicte is the contact person for processes; Wim on the other hand focuses on the budgets and the IT technical consistency. Usually it isn’t easy to duly coordinate the wishes of these two departments. But Bénédicte and Wim succeed remarkably well in challenging and complementing each other where needed. That is why the project is global and complete, and I consider those to be the big success factors. It ensures extra credibility and support among both clients and employees,” concludes Dries Maerten from Conics about this successful project.