Jerrards Shine The Spotlight On Customer Management

K3 Business Technology Group Plc (K3) announces that Jerrard Bros. Plc is the latest company to invest in SmartVision CRM powered by Microsoft CRM. The company will use the SmartVision CRM Sales Module to track its customer interactions, sales opportunities and manage marketing activities. In addition, SmartVision CRM will be used to manage supplier relationships and also hold details of a customer's customer i.e. the retail outlets through which its lighting products are sold.

Jerrards designs and manufactures lighting for both domestic and commercial uses. Organised into two divisions, Arcadia supplies aquarium lighting products globally, through wholesalers or distributors. The products are then sold to retailers, who sell on to consumers. The Jerrards division concentrates on commercial lighting, designed and manufactured for specific commercial applications.

Based in Croydon, the company has strong relationships with Europe's leading lighting suppliers and component manufacturers, and specialises in a range of different lighting technologies and applications such as Aperture Lamps, LED Rails - for signage and point-of-sale applications - water resistant lighting and cold cathode lighting for confined-space illumination.

The company has recently moved from a proprietary e-mail system to standardise on Microsoft Exchange and Outlook to provide a unified platform for e-mail, contacts and diary management with capabilities to provide external access. By implementing SmartVision CRM the company will be able to capture inbound and outbound e-mails automatically and file them against its CRM records, thus providing a centralised view of all customer and supplier interactions.

Managing Director Gerard Oates comments: "This is the first step in providing a unified approach to our customer and supplier relations. Currently we have customer and supplier data held in a number of separate and discrete databases as well as our manufacturing and accounting systems. By adopting SmartVision CRM, we will be able to consolidate the customer and supplier data into one environment and capture all of the interactions we have with them. Once the data is held centrally, we can then begin to profile our different types of customer which will include both retailers and end consumers, with whom we do not transact directly but would like to influence."

Jerrard Bros. uses K3's SmartVision manufacturing application for production control and Great Plains Dynamics for accounting. Adopting SmartVision CRM will give the company additional functionality in CRM specifically for the manufacturing sector and will also integrate with the existing manufacturing and accounting applications.

Because a number of employees travel extensively to visit key customers and suppliers, it was important to access the systems externally. The company was about to embark on an implementation of Citrix, a software solution providing an external "window" into their systems, but because SmartVision CRM is based on Microsoft's .NET technology and is fully browser based, the Citrix environment was no longer required as SmartVision CRM can also be used to link and display data from other systems in the same browser environment. The installation will be deployed on a dedicated CRM server accessed by both web browser and Microsoft Outlook.

"We were able to divert the budget we would have spent on the Citrix software and infrastructure and allocate the funds towards our CRM project. Thus delivering greater business benefit rather than investing solely in infrastructure and the associated management overheads. This will allow us to view our CRM records together with the financial, order and delivery status against each customer," said Gerard Oates.

"The implementation is being used to streamline our processes, and improve the efficiency of our whole operation. In addition, the choice of SmartVision CRM will give the company all the benefits of integrating SmartVision and CRM together. The choice of a CRM system from another supplier would not have given us these benefits. Furthermore, we have worked with K3's predecessor, Kewill, since 1988, and have full confidence in the quality of its software support."

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