September 7, 2021
Success Story: Ecuadorian Wood Supplier Supercharges Customer Service Experience
Partner: Inova Solutions | Customer: AGLOMERADOS COTOPAXI-EDIMCA | Location: Ecuador | Size: 1000 employees | Industry: Manufacturing and Retail
Inova Solutions successfully created a tracking system for Aglomerados Cotopaxi’s customer orders using Microsoft technologies, helping the company provide better service to their customers because of accurate and real-time information being provided on orders. As a result, the company experienced an increase in sales and a growth in their customer base.
In today’s world, access to vital information is not only a necessity, it’s something we have come to expect. No longer we are willing to wait. After all, information is always at the tip of our fingers. One gesture, a word written and out comes the result we expected. Although we are unaware of the processes behind the construction of such information filled portals, we demand that information be ready for us. That is true for everything, and more than anything else when we order items. Ordering, whether we do this online or not, produces an automatic reaction in everyone’s mind: we immediately want to know when our order will arrive. Whether it’s pizza, clothes, a computer, or something more complex, we immediately head over to the tracking app, tracking website or anything of the sort. And if it is not available, we head call the customer service line, only to become frustrated when we do not get an answer.
Aglomerados Cotopaxi is a leader in the forest-related industry, setting up plantations for the production and distribution of wooden boards. As a company in the Forest Industry, Aglomerados Cotopaxi has the FSC® Certification (Forest Stewardship Council®), which verifies that the management of forests and plantations comply with strict international standards on Responsible Forest Management, based on social, environmental, and economic criteria. Although originally a local supplier, Aglomerados Cotopaxi has become an international reseller, through its affiliated company Edimca. Today, wooden boards produced in Ecuador are exported to several countries, and particularly to the United States.
Lost in Translation
While the production and sales side of the equation has been progressively automated in response to the increment in export sales, this wasn’t the case for order traceability. In essence, customers who placed an order had no idea of where their products would be at any given time in the shipping process. In essence, this meant there was no information available, and if it were, it would probably be outdated, or incorrectly passed onto the foreign clients. Adding other issues, such as a language barrier, poor lines of communication and the pressure on those having to provide information to exasperated customers, you get a recipe for failure. Then came 2020. And with that, the pandemic. The situation became more complicated, because for months the staff wasn’t at the office to respond to customer queries. Management started to get nervous, as customers started to divert their orders to other suppliers that could provide them with better and more immediate information, at a similar cost.
Fernando Giron, IT Apps Analyst at Aglomerados Cotopaxi, had already seen the change in productivity they obtained with Microsoft Office 365. He had witnessed firsthand how well it had worked with the help of Inova Solutions, by then their preferred supplier for Microsoft-related technologies.
Fernando and his colleagues had worked side by side with the Inova Solutions tech staff for the implementation of the solution, and then with our own Microsoft Certified Trainers to provide training on the use of Microsoft Office 365. Inova Solutions must have the solution to this problem, Fernando thought, so he contacted Enrique Cruz, a member of the Ecuador team who had helped them in the past.
Fernando remembered Enrique had previously spoken about embedding customer-centric solutions in SharePoint, and at the time he had also spoken about the benefits of Power Apps and Power Automate. Perhaps Enrique and the Inova Solutions team could help.
A Partner for the Best Solution
The parties set up a meeting using Microsoft Teams, and went through the different available options to solve the issue. The tech guys at made it sound so simple, Fernando wondered if it would be that easy to resolve. They spoke about SharePoint, SharePoint Designer, Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate. A solution could be created utilizing the very same tools they already had. When Inova Solutions (Inova) presented a proposal using Microsoft technologies, with a cost so low management thought it was a mistake, they all agreed to give it a try. After all, Inova had already helped them in the past and had become a trusted partner.
And it worked. In three months’ time, Aglomerados Cotopaxi and its affiliated entity Edimca had a portal any customer could access to retrieve information on their orders in transit, complete with all pertaining details almost real-time status information. Whether an order is being prepared, ready to ship, in transit or at customs, immediate real-time updates are now at the customers’ disposal. No more disgruntled clients. No more calls left unattended, or incorrect and outdated information being given. At the click of a mouse, real time info is finally at the disposal of those concerned.
“There are no words to describe how this solution impacted our operation”, says Fernando. “Increased sales, a spike in customer satisfaction and the ability to have our staff perform other tasks, instead of providing information they at times did not even have at hand, have impacted our company in a tremendously positive way. Our customer base is increasing at the same time because of us being able to provide accurate and timely information, and existing customers are increasing their orders because they know when they will receive their goods, therefore having the ability to properly forecast consumption and sales. Our own staff is in a better place too. There is no need to have our people at the office. They can work remotely; with the safety and security their own homes provide while at the same time providing yet a better service to customers. Picture how much has changed at Aglomerados Cotopaxi”, Fernando details.
“Enrique Cruz and Inova have helped us take a step forward in sales, in our quality of service and organization. What was a complex problem has now been turned into a business advantage, in as little as three (03) months. And what is most notable, it has been done with a moderate investment, utilizing a set of Microsoft tools we already owned. This is proof that having the right partner does make a difference, and a statement when it comes to our trust in Microsoft. It has indeed paid out.”
About Inova Solutions
Inova Solutions is the Microsoft trusted provider of cloud services in the Caribbean and Ecuador, with an outstanding Gold Partnership. Its mission is to “Empower organizations of all sizes to create business advantage by adopting digital transformation”. Inova Solutions’ focus is to help organizations ensure business continuity by embracing the smart use of technology. The main priority is to establish the ultimate customer experience driving transformational change.