ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America: Speeding time-to-market of sales support
ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation is one of the largest systems integrator in Japan. In North America, primarily through its subsidiary ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America, ITOCHU Techno-Solutions is conducting surveys and proactive R&D activities in relation to the latest cutting-edge technologies and market trends, and seeking to expand its local SI business operations (with a primary focus on Japanese-affiliated companies by enhancing its SI framework).
Outgrowing a labor-intensive sales support process
As ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America’s business expanded, the company began to experience pain points in outmoded internal sales support processes that could no longer keep up with the pace of orders.
One of these processes was sales registration, a manually intensive operation that involved obtaining sales quotation information from ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America’s Microsoft Great Plains (now called Microsoft Dynamics) ERP system, and then putting this information into a spreadsheet that was distributed to ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America managers for review and approval signoffs.
“We were doing many manual processes to move data between the different systems, and we wanted to reduce the time and manual efforts around this,” said Kanae Hirai, sales account executive for ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America’s sales and solutions engineering.
Fixing the process with integration and automation
As ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America set out to find a way to improve the time to market of its sale registration process, it didn’t have to look very far.
“HULFT was already a business partner, and when we started to talk to them about this cumbersome sales registration process, we began to see that HULFT could also be applied to our internal business,” said Hirai.
Together, ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America and HULFT outlined ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America’s business requirements for sales registration, which HULFT followed up by configuring HULFT Integrate, a data management and integration platform. Product configuration involved the creation of scripts to tailor HULFT Integrate workflows for ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America’s sales registration support, modifying several firewall settings, and then setting up remote access for users and installing local software on ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America’s PCs.
“What impressed us was the ease of this process,” said Hirai. “Installing the software and setting up remote access took only a couple of days. Then, HULFT trained us on the new process, and also gave us training instructions that were simple to use and follow. The implementation was very straightforward, and the learning curve was minor. We encountered a couple of minor things we had to fix when we first launched this, but these were easy fixes and thereafter, we were up and running.”
“The time we have gained will now allow us to focus our efforts in more strategic areas of sales support, and the automation also reduces the possibility of errors that can be introduced in highly manual processes.”
Reducing process time by 90 percent
For ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America, the results of data integration and process automation through HULFT Integrate were immediate and impactful.
“We had been using our old, manually intensive process for over 20 years,” said Hirai, “So we had become very familiar with it. Nevertheless, it still took us five to ten minutes to process each sales registration form. With HULFT Integrate, the time per sales registration was reduced to one to two minutes. This was a 90 percent process time reduction for us. The time we have gained will now allow us to focus our efforts in more strategic areas of sales support, and the automation also reduces the possibility of errors that can be introduced in highly manual processes.”
The next step
For ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America, process automation and data integration for its sales registration process marks the beginning of future efforts that will further streamline sales support and data exchanges for improved time-to-market.
The sales registration form project delivered measurable sales process time reductions, and also was a proof point for HULFT Integrate as a solution that can now be extended to other areas of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions America’s sales support function.
“Our initial goals were reducing time to process for each sales registration, reducing the potential for human error, and enabling sales support personnel to do other work,” said Hirai. “Now, we will extend this to other areas of our sales support process because we believe we will see other major improvements. HULFT Integrate will be critical to this effort.”