The traditional Japanese company SUNSTAR can look back on over eighty years of history. SUNSTAR is known above all for oral hygiene products, wellness and cosmetic items. In the field of oral hygiene, the company is one of the largest providers in the USA and in its homeland of Japan it is even one of the market leaders. Its global headquarters have been located near Lausanne since 2002.
In Germany, products are only sold to business customers such as dentists, pharmacists or clinics and this is handled by a traditional field sales team. In some European countries, however, Sunstar products are also available in health and beauty shops. Each member of the field sales team usually looks after a larger number of customers. Bigger customers like the German army or hospitals such as the Charité in Berlin are supported by a Key Account Manager (KAM).
Before the introduction of Salesforce, orders were recorded on paper by the field sales team on the ground and passed on manually to the back office for recording in SAP. Nor did the field sales staff have direct access to the data, and obtaining reliable information for customers became a time-consuming undertaking. Moreover, there were no automated planning, documentation or evaluation options relating to the number of visits required per customer per year for the field sales staff. In other words: the IT structure of Sunstar was in need of harmonisation.
At SUNSTAR Deutschland, Salesforce has already been in use for smaller tasks for a few years. The decision to combine the heavily used SAP system as a backend solution with Salesforce as CRM was taken at headquarters. PARX was chosen to handle the implementation. «We selected PARX because of its broad and deep expertise in integrating SAP», says James Zeng, Project Manager at Sunstar, who adds: «we also relied on the best practice approaches of PARX with Salesforce in the area of sales process optimisation and support.»
Project Manager at Sunstar
In addition to the traditional functions of a CRM system, SUNSTAR therefore required an interface for Salesforce and SAP in particular, in order to create clear, analysable processes across the board. The field sales force was also to be provided with a tool that is easy to implement for planning and documenting visits and that can be used on the move both to access and enter information and provide the necessary evaluation options.
The large volumes of data in the company represented a particular challenge for SAP integration into Salesforce. As some customer data was saved in both systems, but other information just in one system, the greatest possible care had to be exercised in bringing them together. In this context, PARX was able to draw on its experience from other projects involving an order function for field sales. With this background of experience, it was possible to implement the project in a very short period of three months.
Thanks to the integration with SAP, information about order requirements and availability for delivery of all products can now be provided in seconds. The query is submitted in Salesforce with a mouse click when the customer details are entered. It is processed in SAP via the interface and the information is sent back to Salesforce. The field sales team is now able to record orders directly on the customer's premises and thanks to the integration with SAP, multi-stage pricing can be carried out within seconds, so that a fixed total amount is provided and a binding order can be placed.
With the new processes, not only is the burden lifted on staff, but customers are also happier with the reliable, concrete information. Doris Seger, Head of Customer Service at Sunstar Deutschland, says in this context: «We have been able to improve the collaboration between Sales and Customer Service significantly with Salesforce. Back office and field sales are now closely linked together. A lot of the manual stages have been replaced with a seamless integration of CRM and ERP systems. We are therefore even closer to our customers than previously.»
Head of Customer Service at Sunstar Deutschland
The visit planning and administration that can be carried out with Salesforce has made field sales more efficient on the one hand, and on the other now allows documentation and evaluation of customer visits. The field sales team can now schedule and plan the required number of visits per customer per year via Salesforce in a fraction of the time required in the past.
With the new transparency of processes across the board, with the state-of-the-art data processing and management, with faster response options for customer enquiries and better internal collaboration overall, SUNSTAR has been able to improve its productivity measurably.
The work carried out by PARX covered all of the issues along the service value creation chain - from analysis, through configuration and development, to data migration, training and support. At the same time, it was necessary to take account of differences in the local markets and to adapt the approach to the circumstances in the individual country organisations. Thanks to the customised implementation, a very high level of user acceptance among the field sales team has been achieved.
The visit planning and order process that has been successfully implemented in Germany and Italy will be introduced in other European countries.