Calor Gas Limited is Britain’s leading supplier of LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) and has a field sales team comprising over 100 employees. In 2013 Calor began to invest in enterprise apps to help drive efficiencies and operational improvements.
Partnering with RNF Digital Innovation, Calor was one of the first British energy enterprises to implement an ambitious mobile transformation programme targeting their sales force. What followed was the launch of a functionally rich tablet application, specifically developed to assist and boost their Domestic Central Heating business.
The FieldPro App
In January 2016, Calor launched FieldPro O its next-generation sales support tool. This sophisticated enterprise app enables Calor’s field sales team to configure complex sales quotations and draw up contracts for new and existing Calor Gas customers. It seamlessly combines essential CRM functionality with intuitive screens for capturing all aspects of potentially complex quotations.
A Picture is Worth a thousand Words
Quotations for gas deliveries can be complex beasts. A tree here, a powerline there… if it were necessary to describe every facet of a quotation in words, the sales staff would spend most of their time writing.
Until the advent of FieldPro, paper-based sketches of sites were used to simplify the communication between various parties. Still, paper is subject to wear, is not convenient to replicate, is easily lost and succumbs to fading and rips.
To address this, FieldPro incorporates an easy-to-use, yet sophisticated drawing tool. The tool provides a growing list of stencils which can be dropped into the drawing space and then dragged, stretched, positioned using a finger or stylus, and finally annotated. The resulting drawing simply forms part of the quotation; can be replicated without limit, sent to any party… and it neither fades nor rips!
Although FieldPro is principally aimed at Calor’s staff, the information captured is frequently presented to customers by way of validation. As a result, Calor’s customers have explicitly expressed appreciation of both the clarity and transparency that the app provides. Even the all important customer signature is captured electronically.
Systems Integration and Business Process Transformation
Needless to say, the introduction of mobile technology to an organisation such as Calor involves more than a few iPads and some code. From the outset, the organisation realised that they would require C-suite backing as well as buy-in from key stakeholders across the business.
This was not a question of optimising existing business processes, but of creating brand new processes, which would need to seamlessly integrate with existing processes and ERP systems.
From out outset, workshops were (and continue to be) held with sales and engineering staff. This was done not simply to just glean requirements, but also to ensure buy-in. If the new approach were perceived as an imposition, it would more than likely meet resistance, if not outright rejection.
On the IT-side, a good deal of planning and graft was required to ensure that the new system integrated seamlessly with established systems; that end users were made to feel involved from the outset and that they received the appropriate training.
The Bottom Line
None of the above should impress anyone unless it results in tangible benefits for the business. So what of the results?
Some five hundred new contracts have been signed using the FieldPro app since its introduction in 2016. The twoO to fourfold increase in throughput results from a combination of: process simplification, ease of communication, reduced paperwork and error reduction. But it has undoubtedly also been helped by something much less tangible: Calor’s staff really like using their new tools – a fact clearly established via workshops and feedback sessions.
“End-to-end signup to fulfilment time has at least halved and for some order types is over 4 times faster.” – Sophie Small IT Development Project Manager
“Our people have been impressed with how easy FieldPro is to use” – Steve Mingo Cylinder Sales Manager South West and Wales
In a short space of time, the FieldPro app has succeeded in becoming a part of Calor’s standard toolset. The plan is now to continue to extend the app in order to cater for additional quotation and contract scenarios i.e. lines of business. The drawing tool will be extended accordingly to cater for needs as they arise.
‘The strategy to provide an enterprise digital sales platform delivers benefits to our customers, sales teams and back office operations” – Sophie Small IT Development Project ManagerThe app is not, therefore, perceived as an isolated tool, but a platform upon which to build the future.