Background & Needs of the Client
An automotive manufacturing client was challenged with a highly manual process of configuring product components to arrive at a customer quotation. The dependence on a few key individuals, undefined processes, and the sheer level of customization the client offered to its customers meant a delayed Quote to Cash process and the constant threat of lost sales due to outdated pricing. Sparkhound was engaged in defining a roadmap and building an automated platform that would scale and be agile enough to meet the customers changing demand and improve the speed to market.
- The organization's quote generation team brought in a wealth of tacit knowledge and an in-depth understanding of their customers' needs. The team would review the customer request manually and build and validate custom quotes. Due to the manual nature of the process and the increasing demand, the team's bandwidth was found to be a limiting factor to scale and speed.
- The organization risked losing sale opportunities due to the speed with which they were able to turn around the quotes, short-selling the full potential of an opportunity, or losing revenue due to an outdated quote.
- Growth and scalability were an impossibility due to the manual nature of the process, the customization the customer demands, the speed to respond, and the team's bandwidth.
Portfolio Services & Solution
Sparkhound worked with the client to map out the As-Is - customer journey and process value streams to identify the process failure points and bottlenecks. The inputs were utilized to collaboratively solve and demonstrate "the art of the possible" and the automated future process, as well as the value articulation and project pay-off. Sparkhound developed a customer-facing portal that incorporated a custom rule-based processing engine to automate the quotation processes. The solution was hosted on Microsoft Azure to address the scalability while maximizing their Microsoft Power Apps and Sharepoint use to deliver cost-effective automation.
Sparkhound performed an in-depth assessment to understand processes, technologies, and user experience needs before designing a custom portal to manage quotes, including a rules-based engine that would alleviate some of the manual validation performed by the quoting team. Sparkhound created a customer portal hosted on Microsoft Azure and an internal rate calculation engine leveraging Microsoft Power Apps and SharePoint.
The Projected Outcomes
The following are the outcomes that are anticipated by applying the solutions proposed by Sparkhound:
- Focus vs. Frantic: Greater operational efficiency resulting in an increased bottom line revenue and a greater emphasis on new customer acquisition and growth. The improved business processes automated the once-manual quoting and validation processes, allowing for more accurate pricing and reducing labor costs surrounding these processes by as much as $100K given their current workload.
- Realization of Full Revenues: Our client could provide near-real-time pricing updates through the new rule-based processing engine, thus alleviating the lost revenue from honoring outdated quotes. Their customer is required to resubmit the request to get a renewed quote at the time of purchase to ensure up-to-date, accurate pricing.
- Increased Sales: Deals that once fell through the cracks or were lost were reduced due to a faster turnaround time and accurate quote pricing.
- No Single Point of Failure: Data is secured by an Azure-based system in a centralized location that grows with the business, allowing for the online portal to always remain up-to-date and reducing the chances of a failure to deliver an accurate and timely quote.