Cloud improves ANCA’s daily grind

Considering most manufactured products on the planet, from mobile phones to aircraft, require a ‘cutting tool’ to create them, it’s surprising that few people know that the cutting tool was created on an Australian made machine.

The company that Pat McCluskey and Pat Boland founded in 1974, Australian Numerical Control and Automation (ANCA) is today a global supplier of the CNC tool and cutter grinders that form part of major international manufacturing chains. It plays a pivotal role in sectors including automotive, electronics and medical.

Operating across multiple geographies, ANCA is now a global industry leader. Thanks to a talented workforce and a desire to be the best in the world, ANCA plans to stay that way by remaining focussed on innovation and technology, meeting customers’ and prospects’ requirements and expectations.

Market intelligence and understanding your customer and environment is critical for the success of any business. To do that, Greg Perry, head of International Marketing, understood the need to transform ANCA’s sales and marketing function, beginning with its legacy CRM system.

Today, that decision has seen an increase in sales, a 50% reduction in IT costs, and glowing industry recognition. And that’s just the beginning.

Geographically dispersed sales teams
With its headquarters in Australia, ANCA exports 99% of its products to markets in Turkey, Japan, Russia, Korea, China and Indonesia, as well as most of Europe, North and South America.

Its steadfast global footprint requires sales people located across the globe, the majority of whom work remotely rather than in their local office.

ANCA’s existing CRM system was outdated, clunky and unable to meet the demands of this global workforce. It lacked integration and made the ability to monitor the sales pipeline, forecasts or even provide a snapshot of current orders impossible.

Yet with operations continuing to expand, this thorn in the company’s side needed urgent attention if it were to improve productivity and forward visibility.

As Perry explains, “We’re a global company and for everything we do or implement, we have to think beyond our Australian office. Being able to have a global view of our operations, whenever we need it, is mandatory.”

The need for transparency

When Perry speaks about the business need driving the shift toward a new CRM model, he talks a lot about ‘transparency’ and ease of access, something he remembers craving as a sales person.

“Previously, the global team was attempting to access a CRM system held on premise in a vendor’s site. Employees in most global sites, were all grappling with the speed of a system that was temperamental at best, and showing limited success.”

Unsurprisingly, there was a low level of adoption, as the system was not integrated into everyday business processes; the most significant being the lack of assimilation with the widely used Microsoft Outlook.

The end result was that sales teams managed their daily sales activities outside of the CRM tool and subsequently, vital customer data wasn’t captured centrally.

“We really had no idea from day to day what activity we had, and what orders we were receiving. We couldn’t track the enquiry rate or look at forecasts or sales pipelines at all,” Perry explains.

Furthermore, ANCA was concerned it was losing business and missing opportunities to win business because it didn’t have access to meaningful or insightful data on past and present customers. When ANCA lost a customer to a competitor it was unable to find out why because data was either outdated, inaccurate or more often than not, just non-existent. Recovering this insight was a major goal for ANCA.

“When the business owner would ask for an update on the current order book, I simply couldn’t tell him. We’d have to do a manual count of a data base outside or CRM and consult various sources before we would know how we were performing. Not having this knowledge and forward visibility was deeply concerning.”

Adding to this, was Perry’s desire to undertake more targeted and strategic automated marketing activities. Without an up-to-date customer database, such a simple activity was impossible and added to the motivation behind the quest for a new and comprehensive solution.

The big picture view
As part of Perry’s big picture strategy to integrate sales, marketing and operations, he instigated a needs and future-based analysis to create a business case for the roll-out of a new CRM system.

With counsel from partner, Empired, ANCA settled on Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Mike Morgan, Executive General Manager Transformation Services, states, “Greg had heard about Dynamics 365 and was aware it could deliver the visibility, forecasting, reporting and productivity opportunities ANCA so desperately needed. The cloud offering in particular was selected due to its low infrastructure requirements and faster upgrade path.”

An initial 30-day proof of concept was established using Microsoft Dynamics 365 trial services. This allowed Empired to rapidly configure the solution and import legacy data to showcase the capabilities of Dynamics 365 service to ANCA employees. Based on this proof of concept, ANCA employees could use the solution and refine the implementation with very short feedback cycles.  This ensured the solution continued to meet the changing requirements of the business.

A single source of truth
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has transformed ANCA from having no visibility or collaboration across its business, to having a connected global sales force with instant access to valuable, functional data, crucial for assisting with fundamental business decisions.

It has eliminated previous issues which occurred when dealing with global accounts (same company in different locations) and orders quoted in different currencies and has given the business a level of consistency and visibility never before experienced. Sales staff with shared global accounts can now see the activities of other sales staff and are connected within global account groups in CRM.

ANCA’s CRM is now a single source of all truth for its global customer base. Instead of working with disparate contact lists and limited reporting, it now has a core solution that serves as a central sales and customer database, provides automation, succession planning capabilities and up-to-date pipelines and forecasts, enabling opportunities for detailed customer and competitor analysis.

Improved production forecasts and stock estimates
The business owners have complete transparency and the ability to visualise different troughs and trends. Insights such as which months of the year result in downturn because of international holidays have helped ANCA better manage its inventory to minimise surplus and accurately advise the production team on quantities to fill sales.

Perry explains, “With sales forecast estimates, the sales teams are not going on gut feel anymore and we can now use historical sales data from Dynamics to fulfil order projections. This means a reduction in wastage, so inventory is tighter and the whole stock control process is more efficient. It has released a large amount of cash previously tied up in inventory. Having real data to assist in production projections gives us the clarity to make business decisions which impact our profits.”

Costs halve while sales rocket
Since moving to the cloud, ANCA has also seen a 50 per cent reduction in IT costs with Dynamics 365, compared to its legacy system. Perry explains, “Dynamics 365 provides enormous value to our business and is half the price of our previous system, so it was a complete no-brainer. The system is not seen as a burdensome expense, but a vital part of our business.”

ANCA’s sales have also increased because of the company’s new marketing capabilities, and capacity to execute targeted and fully trackable marketing campaigns. One recent email marketing campaign resulted in three new orders from the US, totaling $1.3 million.

“We’re now able to sync marketing content and information to customers, create better quality communications, and facilitate a better touch point than ever before. We’re serving customers and employees better, and we’re making the world a smaller place.”

Industry Recognition
As the winner of the 2015’s Australian Exporter of the Year, Perry acknowledges the starring role Dynamics 365 has played in the award.


“We couldn’t effectively manage our international business without Dynamics 365. It has certainly played a huge part in achieving our sales forecasts, generating greater levels of customer engagement through targeted marketing activities and our capabilities for competitive market analysis. Dynamics 365 is a key tool that has contributed to us doing business on the world stage- business that has won us awards and recognition as a leader in our field,” says Perry.

Deeper integration
Following the widespread success of Dynamics 365, ANCA is now rapidly adopting other 365 applications.  Currently in the process of implementing SharePoint Online to improve global access to company data, they are already looking at other 365 applications such as Power Bi, ADX portal and how they integrate and build on Dynamics CRM. The integration of Dynamics 365 with Office is further opening up some exciting possibilities.

“To connect everyone into the business was quite a challenge. Implementing SharePoint Online will enable us to have even more transparency around communications at a global level.”

Perry concludes, “All in all, Microsoft has really opened our eyes to ways we can be more efficient as a business moving forward.”

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