Digitalization @APP Timber
In line with our previous Blog Post about technology in the timber industry, let’s look at how we handle this topic.
Digitalization and how we understand it
Digitalization at APP Timber means transforming our business model from analog interaction with our customers to digital processes.
Technology integration transforms the way organizations operate across different areas, services, and channels, with customers and other stakeholders, in our case, suppliers and employees.
A true digital transformation process is more than buying and using a new tool or software; it requires an honest commitment from the entire organization to evaluate, challenge and reconfigure business processes in a way that works for our co-workers, clients, and suppliers.
Customer Service in focus
As a provider of wood solutions, our main intention heading to walk the path of digitalization was the improvement of our customer services. At the same time, the integration of all processes under one “umbrella software”, our self-developed APPiC (aka APP Timber Information Centre), enabled us to streamline our internal processes, reduce workloads, eliminate redundancies, move away from analog document handling, and to integrate free-floating excel sheets group-wide, in brief, increase in-house efficiency.
Standardized in-house processes for our customers’ benefit
Years back, our now all-in-one portal APPiC started as a tool purely focusing on internal contract administration, including shipping supervision and payment control.
Today, APPiC is APP Timber’s central application for all business-related processes.
Our business developers across Southeast Asia can create their contracts online from any device in any location. They no longer need a back office that translates requirements from email to contract. A simple approval process suffices, and the signed contract will be converted to a purchase order.
The signed contract triggers the automated delivery of individual password-protected APPiC access to all relevant users in the buyer’s organization.
From that moment onward, our buyer can access all relevant documents, shipping info, and payment details online. Email notifications inform them about newly available documents or ETD/ETA changes. Such information is provided via an integrated GPS location service, connected to and tracking each respective Bill of Lading.
APPiC’s document storage includes not only contracts, B/Ls, and invoices. Our buyers can also access their EUTR/EUTD and FSC/PEFC-relevant documents at any time. APPiC allows them to download documents individually one by one or as a document package in PDF format with a single click.
All in all, APPiC helped us to reduce in-and outbound emails that request or deliver information significantly. Consequently, our clients and business developers can focus on their core tasks without continuously checking on available information and paperwork.
But we taught APPiC to do more than this.
Improved in-house processes
Via API integrations, APPiC is harmonized with a 3rd party CRM software and Google Maps. Here, our customers’ geolocation data are synchronized with their status, territory, and business developer assignment, thus allowing for an easier visit and trip planning.
Our sales colleagues’ incentive system is based on information provided by APPiC. Instead of investing in another external software solution, we developed the system and the necessary data supply in-house. Monthly incentive calculation, payouts, and reporting work like a breeze. In addition, all respective colleagues can track their incentivized income via a mobile app on their smartphones.
Digitalization is not a one-time activity, it is a continuous process that requires clear commitment throughout the entire organization. Many more ideas are in the pipeline for further improvements and enrichment of our APPiC. Always with the customers’ service benefits in mind, we will continue to add further helpful functionalities.
Continuously increasing usage of APPiC by our customers, their positive feedback, and input for further improvements confirm that we are on the right track to differentiate APP Timber not only via our personal presence but also through our online service.