[VIDEO] Joris Ide: a steel future with a digital touch

Sep 21, 2023
  • sales, marketing and service
  • SAP

Joris Ide has steel construction down to a tee. The Belgian-based company’s steel panels, tiles and profiles are used in a variety of sectors, from agriculture and industry to residential. Apart from its high-quality products, Joris Ide stands out for its focus on customer service. Recently, the company embarked on a digital journey with delaware and SAP to bring its customer experience to new heights – all while also boosting internal efficiency.

  • Client: Joris Ide, Belgium’s leading manufacturer of steel panels, tiles and profiles
  • Challenge: Improve digital customer experiences and boost internal efficiency
  • Solution: Centralize scattered product data in a PIM, set up a B2B portal, and implement Kontent.ai headless CMS to optimize website

The challenge: digital service reinforcements needed

Over the course of three decades, Joris Ide has grown from a local business into the Belgian market leader and one of Europe’s leading businesses. With that success comes a steep increase in service requests. This makes it challenging to answer every question within an appropriate timeframe and to remain focused on establishing long-term customer relationships.

“As our customer base kept growing, our service team was drowning in requests,” says Bernard Bossuyt, CIO at Joris Ide. “Answering all of these in a timely manner became more and more difficult, which is completely at odds with who we are. However, we also noticed that most questions were about order status, invoices, and basic product information. We figured that, if we could help our customers find this information themselves, it would free up the service team to focus on the less obvious cases and build stronger customer relationships.”

The journey: think before you plan – and act

To get the ball rolling, Bernard reached out to delaware, who has been a trusted partner for Joris Ide since 2008. “They supported us with our ERP implementation back then, and with our 2021 migration to SAP S/4HANA,” Bernard explains. “Their technical expertise and vast experience with our business made them the logical choice for this project as well.”

Yoeri Coessens, partner at delaware, oversaw the project from the start. “We always begin with our Think-Plan-Act methodology,” he explains. “This step-by-step approach eliminates guesswork and assumptions, and ensures we create something our customers and employees actually need.”

  1. Think – “The first step was to consolidate insights from all stakeholders to get a thorough understanding of where Joris Ide is heading, what the expectations and needs of employees and customers are, and how we can get to that desired situation. In this case, it became clear that the customer service challenge was part of a bigger story: how Joris Ide could optimize customer experiences and strengthen its digital presence while also improving the efficiency of its internal processes.
  2. Plan – “Based on these consolidated insights, we were able to prioritize Joris Ide’s needs and draw a roadmap with clear milestones and concrete initiatives.”
  3. Act – “Because of the value of customer service for Joris Ide, one of the first things we had to do was set up a B2B portal. In the process, we wanted to start exploring B2C e-commerce as a new revenue channel, update Joris Ide’s corporate website, and provide the sales and marketing teams with powerful CRM and marketing automation solutions that enable them to generate qualitative leads, spot opportunities sooner, and improve their follow-up.”
We wanted to make sure we create what customers and employees need, and not what we assume is right for them.
Bernard Bossuyt, CIO at Joris Ide

The solution: centralizing product data

To make all of this possible, however, something else had to happen first. “As is the case in many companies, product information at Joris Ide is scattered across multiple teams, departments and tools,” says Yoeri. “To ensure that this information is correct, up to date, and readily available to customers in a B2B portal, it has to be managed centrally, in a single place. That place is a product information management system or PIM, which is embedded in the SAP Commerce solution, and connected to the SAP S/4HANA ERP. It is, by any definition, the cornerstone of Joris Ide’s digital transformation.”

Once the PIM was in place, the relevant product data could be easily transferred to the SAP Commerce Cloud B2B portal. Bernard: “Our customers can log in to the portal and find all the information they need. It’s a real time saver for them, and it also unburdens our service teams. Moreover, it’s a great way for marketing to gain relevant insights, which can help them to offer personalized content and product recommendations further down the line.”

By the numbers

50% reduction in customer service calls

Minus 1,000 hours of marketing efforts per year

EUR 80,000 revenue in first B2C year – a sales channel that was non-existent until very recently

For Joris Ide, the B2B portal marks only the start of the journey. Bernard: “We decided to make the most of our new tools and start experimenting with B2C as well. While it’s not a strategic priority for us, we still get a decent number of sales via our webshop. Next to that, we improved our corporate website by implementing the Kontent.ai headless CMS. Our sales and service teams are currently getting the hang of SAP Sales & Service Cloud to improve internal efficiency as well. In the near future, we want to implement a customer data platform that allows us to gain a 360-view of our customers, and experiment with marketing automation tools like SAP Emarsys to make progress in that department.”

Great minds innovate alike

The above initiatives and implementations are all part of a greater goal: strengthening Joris Ide’s position as a leading European steel manufacturer in the digital realm as well. “Our goal is to create a comprehensive, resilient, and future-proof platform that is completely aligned with Joris Ide’s current technological landscape, and that enables further growth,” says Yoeri.

“Major transformation projects like these aren’t done overnight,” says Bernard. “Our migration to SAP S/4HANA clearly marked the start. Now, we have to keep making progress towards our goals by continuously building, reassessing and optimizing. There’s a lot going on and a lot to look forward to: a 3D product configurator for B2C, a pricing and quotation tool for our sales teams, … Having the delaware team by our side to guide and support us, both on a business and on a technical level, gives us the confidence needed to tackle these challenges.”

Having the delaware team by our side to guide and support us, both on a business and on a technical level, gives us the confidence needed to tackle these challenges.
Bernard Bossuyt, CIO at Joris Ide

Yoeri adds: “For me, Joris Ide’s innovative mindset and drive towards sustainability are the absolute pillars for success. The company has been a flagship customer since 2008, and since then we’ve always challenged each other with new ideas and innovations. Witnessing the company’s growth and playing a part in that is tremendously rewarding. We look forward to continuing on this path together.”

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