Chronopost takes logistics to a new level

Drupal and SugarCRM take it up a notch

THE CHALLENGE

Living in the highly competitive distribution market, Chronopost decided to revamp a lot of internal and external business processes, and start using their website as a pivot point in relating to customers, replacing a lot of phone and other exchanges, as well as boosting company communication.

There was a need to remove all the spreadsheet based management of processes across the company, with information stored in several places, often in an inconsistent fashion, and dependent on specific persons being available.

THE SOLUTION

...is made up of 3 blocks: a corporate website; where all company information, news, basic services, etc... is made available, a CRM system where several business processes are implemented, from marketing to sales to support, and a self-care for individual and enterprise customers, within the website, that links both worlds.

Our solution uses Drupal and SugarCRM, integrated to make sure everyone works in sync, effectively creating a BPM tool that reaches all departments of the company, and using information from other company systems, like an AS400 ERP and a Price Management & Optimization System — Open Pricer.

"There are a lot less spreadsheets flying around, and we are more focused on our customers and their concerns" - Carla Pereira, Marketing Director, Chronopost PT

THE RESULT

In its first year alone, the project has some impressive numbers: there are about 13.000 Chronopost customers who have active accounts in the selfcare area, nearly 8.000 contacts of various natures have been logged and handled via portal, over 3.000 customer requests for shipping material and around 5.000 business opportunities have been managed by the System’s 100+ users.

"Using Open Source tools we were able to access several other applications, and that flexibility was a big part of our success" - Paulo Rosa, IT Director, Chronopost PT


The whole story 

Chronopost specializes in the express delivery of letters and parcels up to 30kg to both companies and private customers for all destinations.

A company of about 750 employees in a complex business, there were several points of optimization through various business processes, and the company decided to tackle them in an aggregated, customer oriented fashion. As is usual with projects this large, it started with a discovery stage, with numerous stakeholders coming together in a living room, discussing the specific wants and needs of their business areas. Lots of ideas were generated, triaged and a plan of attack was conceived.

Website

 

Image 1 - Chronopost.pt allows users to arrange shippings, calculate prices and trace parcels

The first priority and target was the company’s website. Chronopost wanted a modern website that could keep up with the pace. The marketing team needed access and tools to create and edit several types of content without notice. Acquia Drupal was the tool of choice. More than a mere corporate communication vehicle, the website also serves for some of the more basic services, like package tracking and price calculation.

CRM + BPM

The CRM system was designed from the early stages to be the heart of the whole platform. Most of the business processes within the company would at some stage reach SugarCRM, either as a means to control their flow or a place where information could be stored and accessed by various people when appropriate. Account and Contact Management, Opportunity and Sales process Management, Support and several logistics specific processes were implemented and integrated with other systems.

Image 2 - Custom SugarCRM reports

The reporting capability of SugarCRM was also a goal in the implementation, and all types of business data can be used to aid decision making, and channeled back to customers through targeted marketing campaigns, managed directly by the Marketing Department.

Self Care Portal

Another project goal was to build a self care portal from which customers — individuals or enterprises — could handle many of their current business with Chronopost, not needing email or phone exchanges. This was created inside the corporate website, with users and interactions being visible in the portal and in the CRM, where they can affect internal processes. Users can manage pretty much everything in the portal, from pickup locations to COD Refunds, orders of shipping stationary and several others.

An integrated Suite

Image 3 - Selfcare portal makes customers more independent and ultimately happier

For all the above to happen, information from several systems has to be gathered. The master for the account data is an AS400 ERP that communicates with SugarCRM and keeps it in sync with the business. The sales cycle is shared with Open Pricer, a tool that aligns pricing processes (setting, quoting, implementing), and other third party applications are used to communicate with the likes of barcode scanners or tracing applications, to name a few.

How the story ends

Having all information in the same system effectively helps the company to be closer to its customers. However, whoever, whenever talks to a customer has all the information required to maintain a fully contextualized interaction. Marketing campaigns become more targeted with relevant information conveyed to the correct customers and support is able to share knowledge across resolutions of problems.

There are other results that are less palpable, like the fact that customers are now much more aware of what’s going on with their requests, orders, etc... and they can see live tracking data on the portal. Internally, information flows much better between departments, with everything getting logged into the system, and processes becoming more and more independent from the person who is actually executing them. A purpose built set of alerts and dashboards ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.

There is also the fact that by having information from so many systems in a single one allows users to leverage a reporting engine to obtain a lot of indicators and make quick adjustments. This is one of the somewhat unexpected gains: the ability of users to create their own reports, and the agility the business acquires with it.