ACF Environmental is a leading supplier of geosynthetic solutions for the construction industry. They have many locations spanning several states along the east coast. ACF has a large legacy system which handles their inventory and sales processes. ACF had two specific necessities that their systems just could not provide because they were not available or just too expensive to deploy.
First, they desired a way to provide up-to-date sales information to their managers located in various sales offices. This feature would significantly improve sales operations. They were using emails with attachments to send the sales team daily reports about their sales activities. Unfortunately, these reports were static and didn’t give the sales managers the ability to query the information they were searching for. They had to peruse the entire report to find the information and this took time. They also lacked strategic reports to help them evaluate their own performance.
They also desired a better way to generate and track their shipping information to improve accuracy and cost of shipping. There was no system that provided this capability so the entire process was managed and tracked on paper.
The ACF sales system was a form based management system that does not provide API features. It does provide limited ODBC access to its database. We determined the best solution was to extract sales data nightly and port it into a much more robust SQL Server database. This database acts as the back end to a dynamic website that allows the sales team to access critical sales information.
A secure, login based, website containing several webpages was developed to provide necessary data to all the sales managers, giving them access to critical information necessary to manage their sales teams. These web pages provide ad hoc search capabilities that allowed the managers to get to the information quickly from their laptops or desktops.
The managers now have easy access to quotes, sales orders, and customer contact information. They were also provided a dashboard showing each sales manager’s performance data. The site also supports print features so they could reprint quotes and sales documents without requesting them from corporate.
We also provided a shipment management system as a separate website that provides the logistics team with the ability to create and track all their shipments. The site also includes audit functions used by ACF to validate shipping records. A variety of shipping and auditing reports were provided to allow ACF to monitor their business.
The final result was that ACF was able to augment their legacy system and provide additional capabilities to field sales personnel and in house shipping personnel to improve customer service and sales without replacing any major systems or spending astronomical amounts of money.
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