Digital platforms can speed up communication and provide customers with full access to their data. Without digitalisation and a sales platform, a simple delivery request can look like this:

E-mail: “What’s the status on my delivery of paper sacks?”

Due to the time difference, three hours later the procurement officer receives a response from his Account Manager, letting him know that the order was finalised and left the plant this morning.

E-mail: “Thanks. When will it arrive?”

Another two hours may go by while the Account Manager checks with customer service and production, and waits for a response before he is able to provide a delivery confirmation to the customer.

New digitalisation tools can make the customer ordering process work more efficiently and transparently, turning this five-hour exchange into a five-minute session. The many benefits of digitalisation initiatives such as an online customer platform, include streamlining communication and information sharing. Time zones, different public holidays and information gathering from various departments can pose a challenge for even the best customer service team. A digital sales tool can provide customers immediate access to their data, while also increasing transparency, and maintaining strong customer relationships through improved quality, convenience and productivity.


 

The digital way of working has arrived

A new digital way of working is here. Not just for millennials, who are driving this change, but the entire workforce has different expectations about how to order their products. A Gartner study1 estimates that 75% of B2B procurement spending will happen via an online marketplace until 2025. A salesforce.com study found that 82% of B2B buyers want their business purchasing experiences to be similar to personal shopping, which means, digital, flexible and available at all times.2 Mondi, a leading global paper and packaging group, also conducted a customer satisfaction survey in 2019 with almost 3000 customers, which found that more than half (57%) answered that they would find digital ordering and tracking useful.

Load your ‘forklift’

Mondi is advancing the digitalisation of many of its services. The company established a new all-in-one digital customer platform, myMondi, which took almost a year to research and develop before launching in April 2019. This new digital customer experience goes beyond the scope of a typical webshop, making the overall experience more efficient.

Based on SAP Hybris, an e-commerce product platform, myMondi is the only all-in-one digital solution for managing paper sack orders in the cement industry. It uses a browser responsive user interface (UI), serving over 1000 customers in 14 languages.

A client can now log in to check their order status at any time of day or night, without waiting for a response from their account manager or customer service team. This offering gives the customer full access to their own information, allowing them to focus on when their order is ready, where it is stored, and when it will be delivered, instead of waiting for e-mails and follow-up phone calls.

How it works

Instead of filling a shopping cart, the customer loads their online ‘forklift’, receiving an immediate calculation of how many pallets of bags will be delivered once the new order is confirmed personally by their Account Manager. This means the sales teams are able to offer a more personal touch with customers. The online platform complements this work by offering transparent communication with full access to information at any point in time. Claudio Fedalto, Chief Operating Officer of Mondi Paper Bags, suggests that working in a digital way with cement producers is something that everyone has come to expect in their personal and professional lives for managing services and orders. The online customer platform was developed in order to serve customers who do not have an already integrated SAP infrastructure, to provide transparency about the business between Mondi and its customers.

myMondi's dashboard example

 

Once logged in

The customer can manage their orders, products with various SKUs, access information about ageing bags and make a direct call-off from their already produced paper sacks stored at a Mondi site. This way, the customer can manage several sizes of bags and a large number of orders, check current artwork and designs, and reorder any size or model as necessary. In the case of myMondi, orders for new items are still placed directly with customer services to ensure that capacity and deliverables are confirmed personally.

Once the order is in the system, the client can manage and reorder any batch of previously produced bags themselves. Customers can even download bag details, such as artwork and construction, valve type, the plant certifications for any upcoming audits, and save documents like delivery notes and invoices from their web browser on their PC, tablet or mobile phone. Gathering valuable information that may often have been a lengthy process, can now be an accessible short task. Plant Manager at Natural Granen, Rudy Nouws, has been using the system to manage the company’s bag orders to check stock and order history at any time, and has experienced the benefits of sending call-offs easily, and receiving confirmation immediately.

The most commonly used features on the system are stock reporting, the re-ordering of products, and call-offs from stock. Peter Van Den Langenbergh, Production Manager at Beduco, says that although customer service is only a phone call away, having direct access saves time. He also praises the system for being very user friendly. The user experience is a priority for the company, as managing data in a clear manner mitigates frustration, making it easier for the customer to make decisions, and manage their orders, bills and deliveries.

myMondi's ordering function example

 

Direct feedback

Sometimes customers need to make a claim. myMondi offers users the ability to make claims so that issues can be resolved efficiently. The customer can upload images and explanations directly, and can track the status of the claim. This provides customer service with all the correct information customer service colleagues need, so issues can be processed swiftly.

Who’s who?

Using the system, the company sales team can assign roles within the customer’s team or organisation to streamline processes. For example, finance can access the invoices and payables, while procurement can focus on products, stock and certifications for the bags ordered. Each relevant team member can access the information they need, maintaining confidentiality where necessary. For globally operated cement producers with complex structures, this makes it possible to maintain oversight and clarity.

Conclusions

Just as customers are used to performing transactions digitally in their everyday life, new B2B developments are the logical step for digitalising the cement industry, allowing full transparency and access to information, which improves the quality and speed of decision making. The future is here, just a simple ‘log in’ away.

References

1. Gartner Research 2018 – https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/gartner-trends-2018-AIb2b-
marketplaces-chatbot/514389/

2. Salesforce.com/State of the Connected Customer 2018 – https://c1.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/e-books/state-of-theconnected-customer-report-second-edition2018.pdf

 

Article published on World Cement, April 2020