CRM | BPM project in logistics and distribution

2016 — 2018 at Omega Group (KetLogistic, LLC)

Project role — Solution architect + PM

About the company

Omega Group is a leading distributor of the automotive parts in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for many commercial vehicle brands, including MERCEDES, MAN, SCANIA, VOLVO, DAF, IVECO, RENAULT. The range of brands is more than 150. The company has a reliable reputation based on deliveries on time and wide assortment in stock.

I joined the IT team in August 2015 as a Deputy Head of IT department. At the time of my work for the company, the key technologies in IT were Microsoft technologies.

The project goals

Automation of the customer lifecycle management processes.

The progress and results of the project

2016, analysis and plan for a solution

There was the need for improvement in the area of customer relationships that wasn't clearly defined. Everything necessary for the sales (product selection, reservation, customer contacts, customer profile) was implemented in the ERP system. We could split this between the future CRM system and ERP, but at the first glance the splitting didn't give anything.

After analysis, we realized that we need an automation not for sales per se, but for managing the customer's lifecycle. Also, the new system was supposed to automatically assign tasks to the personnel, including managers.

With the help of consultants, we have acquired a description of the missing practices for managing client relationships.

We have started to solve three tasks in parallel:

  1. Change the customer data structures in the ERP system to match the selected practices.
  2. Explore the potential of the existing systems on the market that could be used out of the box.
  3. Ensuring integration of an external product with our ERP system.

We have taken a strategic task — make the user working in the single app, minimizing the negative experience of both the selling person and the client. In the future, it was required that any operation of sales process (product selection, reservation, profile editing) could be integrated into a CRM system while preserving the security features of the ERP system, security could not be a compromise.

2017-2018, implementation

We chose the BPM system, not the CRM system. The reason is that the systems called CRM are focused on managing the long sales we didn't need. We needed to bind the client's lifecycle management to the ERP system, which was more likely achieved in BPMS.

We chose the Russian ELMA-BPM system due to the relatively inexpensive licensing and better match with the competencies of the existing team.

Our ERP system didn't have a wide set of APIs. At the same time, there was a high rate of changes in it, which meant frequent breaking changes (in the case of integration through the database). In order to build control over the changes and provide security-related functionality (authorization, audit), in 2017 we developed a software layer for the API and made it testable.

During the first half of 2018 the first end-to-end process was implemented in the BPM system. That was MVP to proof the architecture.

It was a technically complex project, mostly (90%) due to immersion into the ERP logic for making the right API. However, according to MVP results, the economic effectiveness of the automated department increased by 40%, and the number of violations of deadlines was reduced by 10 times.

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