Life science company Eppendorf supplies laboratory instruments, supplies and services worldwide. The company is constantly challenged to respond to changes, not in one market, but in many markets at the same time. Eppendorf increased the flexibility and agility required for this by using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Dynamics 365 Field Service.
For more than 75 years, the Eppendorf Group has been equipping laboratories in a wide range of industries. In addition to consumables, the company’s product portfolio includes numerous devices such as pipettes, automated pipetting machines, centrifuges, bioreactors, and ultra‑low temperature freezers. All of these products, as well as the comprehensive services of the Hamburg-based company, are used in university laboratories as well as in those of the pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries. So, the company must react to diverse and rapidly changing market requirements simultaneously.
The challenge: Different working methods without a common data basis
The impact of COVID-19 has demonstrated how quickly the needs of an entire market can change. Scientists and physicians in laboratories have devoted their time and skills to diagnosis, research, and development. Downstream suppliers have had to keep pace and provide their customers with highly individualized solutions in the shortest time frame possible.
Especially in such situations, a company’s agility and flexibility is decisive for the success of its business. But these qualities are no less critical in times of non-crisis. To better adopt these principles and further expand its premium position within the market, Eppendorf challenged itself to think globally, and to be more transparent in its business processes.
The company wanted to serve the requirements of multiple markets in the life science, pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries equally well, so it decided to harmonize its sales units in 26 countries—all with a uniform customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
No lack of challenges for Eppendorf when introducing a new CRM system
“That’s why we opted to introduce a new CRM system, which is one of the most difficult projects a company can undertake,” says Benedikt Geldmacher-Voss, Head of Commercial Excellence at Eppendorf AG. “This is especially true for companies like ours, which have a large number of different stakeholders and a wide range of tools used to prepare business data—from highly complex partial solutions to Excel lists.”
Conflicts among different working methods and the lack of a common data basis were slowing Eppendorf down. With a modern CRM solution, Geldmacher-Voss planned to transition the manual data-entry processes to a globally uniform platform. The list of requirements was long, because no two Eppendorf customers are alike, and the needs of the operational, sales, marketing, and service departments were widely diversified.
In a preliminary project led by Alexander Gerritsen, Head of Customer Business Management, the team defined what globally uniform processes would look like for the Eppendorf Group, thus forming the basis for selecting the new CRM system. The life science industry is in constant flux, so the new CRM system needed to be flexible and easy to adapt so that it could provide optimum support for customers and partners in every situation. In addition, their status should be traceable along the customer journey at any time.
One particular challenge was to map Eppendorf’s different market situations and sales channels in the CRM system. The goal was to record the complete customer portfolio, including the various sectors such as the medical, pharmaceutical, and food industries; the education sector and private enterprise; and the various fields of work such as diagnostics, research, and quality assurance. All data from direct customers and from those who order via distributors needed to be centrally available, in a uniform format, and updated in real time.
“No more, no less,” according to Geldmacher-Voss. “This forms the basis for strategic decisions. Maximum transparency is the only way we can answer the question of where we will stand with our services in the future.” With all this, Eppendorf didn’t want CRM to lead to more complexity in the system, as that would incur additional costs and additional personnel expenses. So the company turned to Microsoft and its partner HSO to equip all departments in the best possible way and to meet the complex requirements. Today, Eppendorf is using Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Dynamics 365 Field Service. The initial results are outstanding.
Eppendorf chose Dynamics 365 to work data-driven
Eppendorf’s infrastructure had already been shaped by Microsoft once before. “As a result, we could incorporate Dynamics 365 perfectly into our existing IT landscape,” Geldmacher-Voss says. “We were able to generate significant synergies, and acceptance of Dynamics was very high among our employees from the very beginning.” This was confirmed by the first Dynamics 365 user acceptance survey conducted by Microsoft Customer Success management. Very early in the process, the requests of all departments regarding the new CRM system were recorded in detail and refined based on concrete use cases. As the implementation partner, HSO was able to easily start collaborating with Eppendorf’s corporate IT department.
The result? Speed, uniform processes and consistent reports
The cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 now brings together the Eppendorf Group’s data, employees, processes, and customers. Just six months after the go-live, many processes have been homogenized worldwide, enabling consistent reporting on a uniform data basis. This provides a 360-degree view of the customer and creates the transparency necessary for farsighted decisions. Customer satisfaction has improved demonstrably, too.