Keeping a Cool Head When the Heat Is On

Roos Freizeitanlagen sells and produces both complete swimming pools and solar swimming pool heating systems and accessories for self-construction. This includes liner film, counter-current systems, solar control units, and roman pool steps. The company, which was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Altenstadt in Hessen, supplies its systems to customers around the world.
Swimming pool construction is a seasonal business. As soon as the thermometer hits the 25°C (77°F) mark for the first time, many house owners and builders start to dream about having their own pool. Those who already have a pool clean it for the first swim of the year. This means that during the spring and summer months Roos has its hands full trying to supply its customers on time.

Using all possible contact channels

A large number of orders have to be processed in a short time. As well as supplying complete swimming pool kits, Roos also sells a broad range of care products for cleaning and maintaining existing pools. They also market covers that enable full enjoyment of the pool even if it is windy or raining.
The company deals predominantly with end consumers (Business-to-Consumer). “We are a marketing-oriented company. This requires us to have a well maintained contact database in order to group and select records according to advertising-relevant criteria and target specific customer groups,” explains Kai Maurer, sales manager at Roos Freizeitanlagen. The company previously deployed a solution that had been developed in-house, however this was not future proof. It lacked the requisite link to e-mail or fax, which is essential for efficient marketing. “Also, the old application was only e-business-enabled to a limited extent,” says Kai Maurer, describing a further deficit. Integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and standardized order processing were thus not possible.
Maurer therefore decided to retire the in-house solution in favor of a future-proof standard software application. This new software was required not only to map the customer management and sales processes consistently in a single database, it also had to be adaptable to the specific processes at Roos Freizeitanlagen and support modern e-business concepts, such as the integration of an online store.

Mapping processes across the board

Kai Maurer explored the market and compared various software products, including SAP Business One. The company decided to implement SAP’s standard business software for a number of reasons. First, the SAP software enables Roos Freizeitanlagen to map the individual processes in sales, maintenance of business partners, and warehousing in a single database and to integrate these. Further, the software is subject to constant ongoing development by SAP.
Roos chose the Mainz-based SAP Business Partner rocon edv-consulting as its implementation partner, and Maurer consistently emphasizes the excellent level of cooperation between the two companies. A mere eight weeks elapsed between the first meeting in October 2004 and going live at the beginning of January 2005. The actual implementation phase, including the transfer of the legacy data and form modifications via the form manager, took just around four person days.
What was particularly important for Maurer was the smooth transfer of the customer master data from the legacy system. The previous central information structures were to be retained in SAP Business One. In its legacy system, Roos Freizeitanlagen had provided its customer data with special codes, abbreviations, and IDs, which in turn were interlinked with one another. When a customer was called up, their full contact history appeared with a list of all transactions, including all documents, such as invoices or returns. The design and the familiar user interfaces were to be retained as far as possible in order to make the switch as straightforward as possible for the users. “In the layout of the forms SAP Business One displayed its flexibility to the full, since the modifications were made very smoothly,” emphasizes Michael Weidmann, Managing Director of rocon edv-consulting.

Direct line to the customer

The total of six users at Roos Freizeitanlagen have been benefiting from the new software since the beginning of January 2005. The efficiency and quality in sales and customer service has grown considerably. For instance, the sales team is now able to send personalized emails and faxes directly from SAP Business One to preselected customers. If a customer calls, an integrated telephone interface ensures that all saved business transactions, that is orders, invoices, complaints, etc., can be viewed quickly and easily and the corresponding member of staff can answer the customer’s questions specifically and in detail. Conversely, sales can call customers directly from SAP Business One via a double click.
E-business is no longer an issue for this specialist supplier, since the online store is linked to the SAP standard software application via an interface. As soon as a customer or a new customer completes the fields in the order form of the company’s web store, this information is fed into SAP Business One. The duplicate check programmed by rocon edv-consulting automatically compares this with contact data already saved. “We thus avoid holding redundant data and improve the quality of our customer data,” reports Kai Maurer.

More transparency and flexibility

For him, the switch to SAP Business One has definitely been worth it: “We can answer all inquiries quickly and flexibly via different contact channels and send out quotations via e-mail, fax, or letter. This is twice as fast with SAP Business One as previously. This pays off particularly in the high season, since we can also keep a cool head when it’s 30°C (86°F) in the shade.” However, it is not only in the area of customer relationship management that Roos Freizeitanlagen reaps the benefits of the flexibility and future-proofing of the SAP standard software application. The reporting functions give management access to products-sold analyses, sales statistics, and the full product history at any time. The up-to-the-minute overview of all company KPIs has considerably increased transparency in the company.

Saving time and costs

In the medium term Roos Freizeitanlagen intends to manage further processes such as accounting or warehousing via SAP Business One. At the same time the company is planning to link its overseas representatives into the SAP solution via a VPN (Virtual Private Network). The overseas sales bases can then write their quotations and orders directly to the SAP software and save them there, thus saving costs and time. Maurer is also keen to extend direct marketing to new customer acquisition, mainly via mail shots or regular email newsletters. “SAP Business One has now given us the technical capabilities needed for this,” says Kai Maurer in conclusion.

Dr. Andreas Schaffry
Dr. Andreas Schaffry