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Situation

PHS Direct supplies businesses with consumable goods such as cleaning products and paper tissues. Its business is made up of: repeat purchases by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); new business from SMEs; and sales to key accounts from pre-agreed price lists.

The telesales staff is split between three locations and organised in teams for: SME retention; new business 'prospecting'; and a new business 'nursery'.

Problem

PHS Direct had not been able to find a suitable telesales system that would underpin continued profitable growth while also: eliminating as much paperwork as possible; providing timely and relevant data to help sales agents; and freeing up time for sales agents to make the most of their contact with customers.

Ian Featherstone, PHS Group's Chief Information Officer, asked Collinson Grant to help the business get a clearer understanding of the process for generating and handling sales orders.

Approach

We reviewed the telesales process through a series of facilitated workshops with the teams. These helped to explain and map work done on outbound sales, inbound sales, order processing, quoting, issue processing, and administration. They also brought to light problems with processes, paperwork and supporting IT systems.

Outcome

Using data gathered at the workshops, we provided:

  • a list of functional requirements for the IT system
  • a quantification of the productive effort lost
  • a blueprint for a new way of processing sales and orders.

This independent review of the process helped our client to develop a specification for PHS Direct's requirements and to work out how much capacity could be freed by a new IT system. We estimated that if a suitable new system were installed, between 35% and 60% of the time spent on processing sales orders could be spent on selling to customers instead.

Ian Featherstone said:

"Collinson Grant's work has been really helpful in clarifying our position and giving us a decent roadmap for the way forward."