Doka: First class customer service and substantial cost savings

The fierce competition in the construction industry is putting pressure on profits and margins. In order to counter this, construction companies and suppliers are looking for innovative ways to reduce costs and at the same time increase customer loyalty. Formwork expert Doka has transformed its business into an omnichannel business following a strategic analysis of its core processes, enabling customers to place orders through the new online shop. This is based on the SAP Commerce Accelerator for B2B and was set up by ecx.io. The software should help to drastically reduce the processing costs of orders. Customers can order online around the clock quickly, easily and conveniently. As a result, the sales team has more time to deal with complex customer requirements.

The Doka Group, with its headquarters in Austria, is one of the world’s market leaders in the development, production and sale of formwork technology, which is used in all areas of the construction industry. With over 160 sales and logistics locations in more than 70 countries, the Doka Group has a highly efficient distribution network which ensures that components and technical support are available quickly and professionally. Doka is part of the Umdasch Group and has more than 6,200 employees worldwide.

The challenge lies in the varied requirements of the customers

Doka serves customers of all sizes and a wide range of construction projects. This results in a great variety of requirements. Clients who manage large-scale construction projects often need help selecting the right products or advice on whether to buy or hire. Doka’s sales team takes care of the specific needs of these customers and guides them through the sales process. In contrast, experienced buyers who run smaller, more manageable construction projects, usually already know what they need. For them, an omnichannel strategy with an online shop is a much more efficient solution than buying through an employee. Prior to the launch, all customers had to contact the sales team to place an order, which was very time-consuming for both parties.
The new business model, including e-commerce, now makes it possible to automate manageable orders and reduce costs. The customer can buy from Doka with a simple click – a big step for the construction industry. The shop has also changed the role of the employees: the sales team is freed up and can use their resulting spare capacity to help customers with complex, higher-margin enquiries. The online shop also offers greater choice, a better overview of stock levels and speeds up the ordering process.
In addition, a sophisticated omnichannel strategy with a user-friendly online shop helps Doka penetrate deeper into the markets the Group has recently opened up. With a strong online presence, they can reach potential buyers more quickly, accelerate growth and thereby increase profitability.
The digital transformation of the workflow is also good news for net profit. Thanks to automation, online orders can be executed at only 50% of the cost of traditional direct sales. These savings help to increase competitiveness and to achieve an ROI from investing in the shop solution, consulting and implementation.

The search for a partner and platform

With the aim of redefining the business and digitising sales and order processing, Doka went in search of a partner. The Group decided to implement the SAP Commerce Accelerator for B2B customers and to engage ecx.io – we were to develop and implement a detailed strategy.
Doka chose SAP Commerce because it was recommended by respected analysts. SAP Commerce is also a future-proof solution that can easily be integrated into Doka’s growing SAP landscape and works with ERP, CRM and product applications. With the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 on the horizon, the construction industry is facing a dramatic change: the flexibility to integrate different applications is therefore a significant advantage. The shop connects to SAP applications that manage the manufacturing data generated by Industry 4.0 solutions.

ecx.io has already demonstrated support in the first strategic consulting project and led more than 20 workshops.Gerald Haring (Head of E-Commerce, Doka Group)

User experience at the forefront

Doka’s product catalogue is based on a complex pricing structure with tailor-made discounts for each customer. ecx.io analysed the pricing model to ensure that customers would continue to benefit from their individual agreements. Doka also encouraged support from the sales team by integrating online shop sales into the commission system. This helped to motivate the sales staff and to bring the online shop closer to both new and existing customers.
In order to facilitate the implementation, and to guarantee the flexibility that a successful launch requires, ecx.io proposed the Scrum project approach. The digital agency accompanied the team in the step-by-step approach to software development and divided the work into two-week development cycles. In this way, ecx.io ensured that all stakeholders were involved at an early stage and helped Doka to secure the buy-in of key personnel and to implement the project successfully.
Thanks to the agile approach, changes can be made quickly. For example, the team spoke with pilot customers from Germany, Austria and the UK during implementation and also before the shop opening. Their suggestions were integrated in order to improve the user experience, to optimise the design and workflow and thereby to achieve the greatest possible user-friendliness.
Most of the backend online ordering processes are automated, which increases productivity and allows sales reps to save up to two hours of manual repetitive work on simple orders.

Innovation award and other projects

The online shop was well received by customers and sellers alike. It even won a gold ‘SAP Quality Award’ for Doka in the Innovation category – as the first international online shop for shuttering systems, components and accessories.
According to an industry study by worldwide consultancy Roland Berger, online sales will account for a quarter of the construction industry’s revenue by 2030. Doka expects the use of the online channel will continue to increase.
The Group is using their experience from the launch to plan further new services to strengthen customer loyalty. An inventory management solution, for example, is planned for tracking building materials and equipment on construction sites. As a next step, the Doka Group wants to expand its business model by working together with other construction suppliers to increase the product range of the online shop so it becomes a ‘one stop shop’ for customers.

Conclusion

The launch of the online shop was an important step in Doka’s digital transformation. The agile project approach Scrum brought early successes, which secured support from key stakeholders for digitising the business.

It was a new approach for us to carry out a project in such a flexible way and to be able to stay up to date whilst at the same time integrating changes in requirements. The close collaboration between various departments allowed a smooth transition. Scrum will also be used for internal projects in the future.Gerald Haring (Head of E-Commerce, Doka Group)

Doka hopes the digital transformation will result in lower costs, higher margins, a larger customer base and happier customers.

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