Sales optimisation with customised quotation app

Plieger Group is known for the brands Plieger, ThermoNoord, Hoomie and Memodo. They are the specialist in plumbing, heating, air & ventilation, solar and energy storage. With more than 750 colleagues, they are big in the Netherlands and part of the international Cordes & Graefe group. To optimise sales and efficiency of the Plieger showrooms, we developed a ‘Showroom App’ together with the Plieger Groep.

Released 2022
Statistics

Outdated software inhibits potential sales

The number of visitors in Plieger’s showrooms was not translating into expected sales figures because of a fragmented and lengthy quotation process. The use of an outdated ERP system combined with loose excel files meant that employees could handle few showroom visits per week as they spent the rest of their time preparing quotations.

Due to manual notes, duplicate or redundant data entry and unconnected data sources, quotations were often inaccurate by the time they were delivered to the end customer days or weeks after the visit. This caused loss of millions of euros in potential sales.

“Customers should have a PDF in their mailbox with a complete quotation even before they leave the shop. Our aim is to give showroom staff time back, reduce errors and make it easier for customers to review quotations.” – Jaap van Leeuwen, Ciphix

IT change management drives business transformation

For Plieger, the showroom experience is much more than just creating an attractive environment where customers can find the essentials for their dream bathroom. Efficiency in the showroom affects how quickly the end consumer can make a final purchase decision with the installer (Plieger’s primary customer). This directly affects Plieger’s sales.

Andrea Berkhout, IT manager Plieger Group took a holistic approach to implement changes within the IT landscape to improve results for the business.

This exercise included selecting a proven development platform in the form of Mendix, introducing new processes for collaboration between colleagues and building a diverse and expert team with a stake in this change. To accelerate this low-code project, Webflight was brought in as a Mendix implementation partner.

 

“Software development is not a core business for us. Thanks to Ciphix’s guidance and expertise and the visual interface of the Mendix platform, we were soon able to contribute to the development process.” – Andrea Berkhout, IT manager at Plieger

Improving the end-to-end user experience

The iterative method of low-code development delivered quick results. Within 6 months, the Showroom App was complete and offers a host of improvements for Plieger employees, including:

  • Enhanced search and filter functionality based on search & discovery platform Algolia for its 150,000 products, allowing sales reps to look up customers’ choices in real time and make faster recommendations for related products
  • Centralised product data, including dynamic pricing based on installer agreements, or potential discounts, making quotations more accurate and reflecting real-time product availability
  • Automated quotation generation via PDF and email, providing both installer and customer with easy-to-read quotations on the same day they visit the shop.
 

The Showroom App is built to centralise and streamline large amounts of data related to hundreds of thousands of products, materials, installers and prices and synchronises with the product information system every two minutes. To invoke data in real time, it uses Rest API-calls.

Automating this cross-checking and connectivity between products saves employees a lot of time. “If you sell a shower, you don’t just sell the shower head, but also the plumbing, what goes into the wall, the tap, the filter, and more,” Berkhout told us. ” Previously, sellers had to find and link items together. The Showroom App automatically gives suggestions of items you are likely to need when you select products,’ which is a huge plus for the seller.”

Plieger as a future-proof organisation

The development of the Showroom App has made the internal organisation more open to digital improvement and optimisation. The company has adopted a new perspective on IT projects, avoiding future monoliths, taking the time to develop things the right way and re-evaluating entire processes rather than just the tools to achieve this. 

Plieger already has a growing list of future Mendix applications on the horizon. The distance between business and IT has traditionally been great within Plieger. Webflight and Mendix have helped reduce this distance. Due to the user-friendly design of the Mendix platform, Plieger is able to further develop the Showroom App itself, giving full control over the organisation’s digital transformation.

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