This system has resulted in lower volumes of incoming “technical query” calls whilst simultaneously increasing sales.
Sales Process Efficiency
Falcon Panel Products now have an online system, named Wizardoorer, which is updated in a single place to ensure all the team have up to date information without the need for sending a client large, data-heavy spreadsheets as was previously done. Customers are now able to use the online tool without assistance using their individual login from the sales team.
With this new online tool, the Falcon Doors sales team are spending less time answering incoming technical queries as their customers can access an easy-to-use self-service tool with their own unique login. This has increased their sales process efficiency allowing their team to focus on increasing sales producing a high return on investment on the development work.
Falcon Panel Products Ltd were using manual processes and an in-house offline Excel spreadsheet document to query and configure door product construction specifications which were then sent to clients taking their product range into consideration.
They wanted an online application with mobile app development which dictated the choice of framework.
Removing Siloed Spreadsheets
Primarily, they wanted to move away from using siloed spreadsheets on the team’s individual computers to a shared ‘cloud’ solution. This provided a central place to update door data and have it instantly available to all the team, registered customers and other stakeholders who are working with the same data. In order to facilitate this, Falcon required authenticated user access and the ability to add, update or delete users themselves when required.
Furthermore, being able to bulk update data for the arrival of new/updated/revised scope of products was essential to speed up the management of the system.
Finally, they wanted an attractive, easy to navigate tool that customers would be comfortable to use without requiring much assistance from the sales and technical team. This would speed up their customer support process and free up the team to focus on product development, sales & marketing activities and more in-depth customer support.
The [developers] were enthusiastic and positive, always looking to provide a solution where others had stated “it can’t be done that way".
Due to the complex calculations involved in the spreadsheets, using industry-specific business rules including fire ratings, acoustic performance, door measurements and other industry-specific product classifications, and considering moving this tool online for the first time, meant that a discovery phase was essential. These had to be correct and therefore the team had to understand them.
There were two key members from Falcon Panel Products; the Technical Manager and Technical Coordinator who held a lot of the knowledge and designed the original spreadsheet that our new tool was replacing and a basic understanding of Drupal’s user interface.
A number of face-to-face meetings took place to clarify our understanding of what Falcon Panel Products needed from their new tool.
We released tool development changes on a fortnightly basis to show progress and allow Falcon to provide feedback and the development team at Ixis to implement changes.
Our expertise was relied on to provide a minimum viable product (MVP) in the first phase.
The second round of work was then carried out based on feedback from Falcon before their team were introduced to using it for day to day business.
Our Account Manager was always on hand when we required an update/progress report
Drupal 8 with Vue.js
The tool was built with Drupal 8 as the content store and reporting system. Vue.js provided the front end complex configurator forms and responsive interface for mobile and tablet devices so that customers could enter their criteria whether on-site or in the office. This future-proofed the tool to enable them to move to a native mobile application to carry out configuration work with very little additional costs.
Keeping loading speeds to a minimum
Loading speeds needed to be kept to a minimum for the tool. As there were a number of complex calculations and large amounts of data, we decided to build a single page application (SPA) framework.
This meant we were able to keep page loading speeds to a minimum as only the search functionality was being refreshed rather than the entire page. Users are not directed to a new URL when using an SPA as it is done within the same URL.
By using these complex forms and calculations it created a quick way to filter through over a hundred PDF specification documents to find matching data for the existing spreadsheet trying to match customer specification with the right product and configuration.
We also implemented a bookmark feature allowing search forms to be saved for use later or to share with colleagues. A user was able to enter their criteria into the form, click go and save the criteria and results. They would then be able to see these results at a later date. It would also allow Falcon to provide a responsive support service to check the data against the customer’s criteria.
Falcon Panel Products Ltd intends to continue developing the application with Ixis to support their customers who are working in what is under a particularly scrutinised industry – fire safety in construction products. They have openly engaged with Certification Bodies, Construction Regulators, manufacturers and Architects/Specifiers. The feedback regarding Wizardoorer has been extremely positive and a plan for enhancements and further system developments has been drawn up from the responses received.
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