American Crane & Equipment Corporation (ACECO) is a leading manufacturer of cranes, hoists, and other material handling equipment. The company also produces components and parts for standard, custom, and nuclear applications. With three plants having a combined capacity of 226,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 150 ton lifting capacity, ACECO serves businesses in a range of industries including nuclear, energy, aerospace, mining, automotive, food and beverage, transit, construction, and others.
ACECO integrates a variety of expertise in-house. Its approximately 180 employees include engineers (mechanical, electrical, and structural, and nuclear seismic experts), manufacturing staff, and field service technicians. The company’s capabilities include: Mechanical design, structural design and analyses, dynamic modeling, failure modes and effects analyses, complete control system design, remote systems, automated systems, software development, load testing, retrofit and upgrades, OSHA inspections, and more.
As you might imagine, there’s a lot of data and logistics to be managed in an organization with such comprehensive capabilities.
That presents challenges.
ACECO’s Obstacle To Overcome: Lack Of A Robust CRM
According to Karen Norheim, Executive Vice President at ACECO, “Our ERP system wasn’t sophisticated enough in the CRM area to do what we wanted. We needed to be able to dig deeper into our customer data for marketing and sales purposes, and we needed a solution to better manage our growing service group.”
ACECO managed their customer information, contacts, quotes, and jobs in their ERP system, but they didn’t have the data management flexibility to create marketing nurture campaigns and to do lead follow-up as effectively as they wanted. In addition, their service technicians didn’t have access to data nor did they have a scheduling engine in the ERP system.
The Solution: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Implemented By Cargas Systems
After ACECO did some some research and decided on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM, someone recommended Cargas to Norheim for the implementation.
“I liked their background and track record,” shares Norheim. “I felt confident in their ability to configure the CRM to meet our specific marketing, sales, and service data management challenges.”
For marketing, ACECO is using the native Marketing Lists functionality within the CRM, and a marketing automation system called “Click Dimensions” for nurture campaigns. Cargas also integrated ACECO’s CRM with a database of global projects and their primary contacts. This allows ACECO to direct marketing campaigns to companies who might actively be in need of its products and services.
The Dynamics CRM is also helping ACECO better track and cultivate sales. With the native Leads and Opportunities features, the company can now generate a sales pipeline report that identifies prospects and qualified sales opportunities.
Scheduling and responding to service calls has improved as well. By using the CRM Service Calendar in the system, ACECO can assign jobs to their technicians as they come in. Technicians can see their schedules on their smartphones, enabling them to check their assignments remotely. Cargas also implemented an add-on called “Apex Calendar” to enable service schedulers to visually review technicians’ calendars and quickly reschedule jobs as needed using drag and drop functionality.
Benefits Gained—And More To Look Forward To
“We’ve had the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution from Cargas for about a year, and we’ve seen an improvement in our ability to follow up on opportunities and capture metrics. We’ve also stopped service cases from falling through the cracks,” says Norheim. “And I believe we’re just at the tip of the iceberg.”
While the initial implementation is complete, Cargas continues to work with ACECO to apply even more of the CRM’s features to enhance the company’s marketing, sales, and service efficiency and effectiveness.
“I’m impressed with how they’ve been able to match the capabilities of the system to our unique needs,” shares Norheim. “I’m very particular about wanting personalized attention and follow up. Cargas and our Cargas CRM consultant Dave Packard have provided exceptional customer service and expertise. I would recommend them to anyone.”