The future of steel engineering: Using CRM systems across supply chains

The construction industry has undergone significant transformation over the past twenty years. Speedpanel, a leading Australian manufacturer of lightweight, fire-rated, and acoustic wall systems, made a groundbreaking entrance in the early ’90s, revolutionising the Australian construction landscape.

Over the next couple of decades, Speedpanel systems have become among the most certified and trusted in the industry, widely adopted across Australia. In line with this growth, the company has always placed the highest emphasis on ensuring that its clients receive the very best customer journey and experience.

Commitment to improvement

Peter Lorenc, Speedpanel’s National Sales and Marketing Manager, emphasised, “Our commitment to continuous improvement is ingrained in our DNA and culture. We have always strived to do things better and smarter, and this focus has driven our success.”

With a well-established presence in the Australian market, Speedpanel continues to focus on internal transformation and scaling. The company is investing in digitising its manufacturing workflow to enhance efficiency.  “We are in the process of improving our back-of-office functions so we can continue to innovate and offer an industry-best customer experience.”

Central to this initiative is the adoption of SugarCRM, a Customer Relationship Management system traditionally used for sales and marketing, now critical in optimising engineering and manufacturing processes. By leveraging SugarCRM, Speedpanel has streamlined workflows, resulting in faster and more efficient operations.

Centralised project management 

In the steel and engineering sectors, effective collaboration among engineers, designers, and clients is crucial. Previously reliant on disparate systems for project tracking, Speedpanel has transitioned to using SugarCRM as its centralised project management hub.

“Sugar is now our project information oracle,” said Lorenc. “With Sugar, everyone can see what stage a project is in and view related documents and meeting notes.” The result is a smoother and faster project management process. “The faster we get, the happier our customers become,” he added.

Accurate forecasting

Accurate forecasting of raw material requirements is critical in an industry with extended lead times. By leveraging data from SugarCRM, Speedpanel now forecasts material needs more precisely and places orders well in advance. “There are sometimes two to three-month lead times on materials, so we need to work ahead,” Lorenc explained. “Sugar has made us smarter when it comes to procurement. We can see what materials we are going to need and by when on one dashboard.”

Digitising compliance checks

Ensuring compliant installation of fire-rated Speedpanel walls is not just a safety imperative but also a legal requirement.  Speedpanel assists with compliance by offering complementary installation reviews. Previously, this involved a project manager visiting construction sites and manually documenting installation notes for later reporting.

Now, the company is developing a real-time installation review process using SugarCRM. “We’re implementing a process that enables us to do near real-time installation reviews and feedback,” Lorenc shared.

“We can take photos, use AI to help populate commentary around corrective requirements, and give this information to subcontractors right away.” This innovation is expected to significantly boost internal efficiency and enhance the customer experience.

Innovation and growth through digital transformation

Looking ahead, Speedpanel aims to continue its growth trajectory by leveraging CRM technology for improved real-time visibility and enhanced customer communication.

“We’re taking a leadership role in the way we offer our services,” said Lorenc. “By using a CRM, we can provide features that are commonplace in B2C, like customer portals, in the B2B space. This opens the door for future growth and improvement of customer experience.”

The content of this article is based on information supplied by SugarCRM.

Source: The future of steel engineering: Using CRM systems across supply chains – Australian Manufacturing

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