Flamco manages 16,000 relationships using Archie
Flamco offers a wide range of components in the field of central-heating and cooling installations, as well as potable-water applications, for both residential and non-residential construction. These products are all supplied to the installation industry via wholesalers. In addition to a push strategy, Flamco also uses a pull strategy: through targeted transfer of knowledge to installers and advisors, the company creates brand preference. Archie plays a crucial role in this.
Flamco is originally a Dutch company, founded in 1956 and headquartered in Bunschoten. The company now has five production sites in the Netherlands, Germany and China, sales offices in thirteen countries, and dealerships in 67 countries. For several years, the company has been part of the steel producer Voestalpine.
Flamco is distinguished in the market by the quality it offers. Issues like certification and delivery reliability play an important role, but so do good customer relations. “We are an innovative company. Through our contacts with installation companies and advisors, we get a feel of the market and gather ideas for innovation. Through them we hear what’s going on, what they need, what their customers ask for. These relationships are crucial for us. We don’t have a billing relationship with these companies, since we supply everything via wholesalers, but we still consider them our clients,” tells senior account manager Jeroen van Halem. He is one of the seven field officers at Flamco.
These customers benefit from good information transfer. Especially in a time when products are getting more and more ingenious, this is very important. “You read about it in the papers every day: there’s less and less technically skilled personnel. This means that knowledge is decreasing while the complexity of installations is going up. Just think about all the developments in the field of sustainability. As a supplier, we are playing a more and more important role in knowledge transfer,” says van Halem.
Jacques Vroemen (links) en Jeroen van Halem (rechts)
Jacques Vroemen is one of his colleagues. He combines his position with the role of export manager. “You can see that the market is structured differently in each country. In the Netherlands, the installation sector has a channel that works well. The approx. twenty wholesalers function as logistical partners, supplying the approx. 6500 installers in our country. Belgium has a similar structure involving wholesalers. Hence why we work with Archie in both of these countries.”
"Archie has become a crucial application for us when it comes to contact with wholesalers, installation companies and consultants."
Archie keeps track of all of the wholesalers, installation companies and consulting bureaus involved in defining the specifications. Vroemen: “Especially in non-residential construction, you can see that the installations are becoming increasingly complex. As such, specialist consulting bureaus are almost always involved in defining the specifications. When the specifications involve the use of our products, installation companies and end customers rarely ignore that advice. Hence, they play a pivotal role in our marketing. Of course we maintain a push strategy via our channel, but really, pull is even more important.”
Capture all contacts
Using Archie, Flamco carefully records what contact there has been and with which companies. This goes far beyond communication regarding orders. “Since orders take place via wholesalers, that’s really only a marginal part of what we store in Archie,” van Halem relates. “It’s much more important for us to track what communication we have with installation companies and advisors and which orders they have secured. This also tells us for which components an installation company may require further training, so that we can provide specific advice.”
"All contact information is recorded with precision. This goes far beyond communication about orders."
Van Halem gives an example from his own region. “The new Isala hospital in Zwolle opened last year. Naturally, something like that involves a great deal of installation work. A hospital is a very different building, with different properties and other requirements, than, e.g., an office building. An installation company doesn’t tender for a hospital contract every day. That’s why during the tendering phase, we transfer knowledge to parties who wish to tender, so that they can make a correct offer. And later on during the installation phase, we again provide them with advice, because quality is always the result of a combination of technical components and the way they are installed. If a part is installed incorrectly, then we haven’t done as we promised. So we keep a very close eye on that.”
To track these kinds of large projects, Flamco uses the project module. A working folder is created for every major component supplied by Flamco, so that the Technical Support and Customer Service departments can see every detail relating to the component, from installation right through to maintenance. “This also enables us to see any faults that have been reported for a component. Occasionally we discover adjustment errors in installations this way. Of course we also support the installation companies in this regard, because we want to reduce the number of complaints made, which is entirely dependent on clear communication and explanation regarding our products.”
Customer satisfaction: 8.1
The success of this communication is borne out by the company’s excellent score on its latest customer satisfaction survey: 8.07 out of 10. As many as 97 percent of installation companies consider Flamco a reliable partner. And 91 percent praise its quality, service, and advice. “We implemented Archie around the year 2001. Back then, the system functioned more like a card catalogue. I still remember that we earned back the cost of purchasing the software just from the savings on postage stamps for the newsletter, because we were forced to deduplicate all previously separate address files and perform a quality check,” Vroemen laughs.
"Checking customer details on our smartphones is a matter of course for us."
“Today, Archie is much more than a directory of addresses. It has become a crucial application for us. As field officers, we would be lost without it. Quickly checking a customer’s details on my smartphone while on the go has become something so natural that I can hardly remember how we used to do this work without modern technologies. But Archie is also a core application for our Technical Support and Customer Service departments. Our high level of customer satisfaction is in part thanks to our CRM software.”
The Flamco Group is focused on the development, production and sale of quality components for HVAC applications. Flamco offers succesful and innovative solutions for both residential and non-residential construction, as well as sustainable energy, in more than 70 countries. Flamco supplies top-quality products. But quality goes beyond the products themselves. Service, technical advice and logistics are also major components of the quality offered. For further information, please visit: www.flamcogroup.com.