Automating Business Processes with Zoho Creator | Melchers

Published: 22/06/2023

Automating Business Processes
Melchers

INDUSTRY : Trade and development

SIZE: 1,000+

TYPE: B2B

About Melchers

Headquartered in Bremen, Germany, C. Melchers GmbH & Co. is a global trading company with over 50 subsidiaries worldwide. They connect various manufacturers with consumers by marketing products and enabling their clients to buy or resell them.

Melchers Malaysia has been coordinating the company’s trading activities in Malaysia since 1958, with several offices located across the country. Their trading activities cover machinery, industrial materials, construction equipment, testing, and calibration.

Off the paper trail

The vision of a “paperless office” is perhaps one technology paradigm that takes longer to materialize than others. Most businesses look to go paperless to make things easier, more organized, and as automated as possible.

We relied a lot on manual processes. Whether reporting of meetings or the customer credit filing process, we had to wait till our customers manually filled the forms and sent them back to us

“We relied a lot on manual processes. Whether reporting of meetings or the customer credit filing process, we had to wait till our customers manually filled the forms and sent them back to us,”von der Aue said.

He went on to explain that the Melchers calibration system was also paper-heavy and could benefit from automation and a better workflow. Eliminating human error in order to track things accurately during the various validation stages of their processes was also a pain point the company hoped to address.

That’s when Zoho Creator came to their rescue. Omar Khamam, CEO of The Techno Set Sdn. Bhd. and an award-winning Zoho Creator partner, introduced the idea of customized low-code solutions and their benefits to the Melchers’s team. The company now has two full-fledged applications that digitally transformed several critical business functions.

We relied a lot on manual processes. Whether reporting of meetings or the customer credit filing process, we had to wait till our customers manually filled the forms and sent them back to us

Calibration System

The calibration lab at Melchers implements and maintains an effective quality assurance system for the manufacturing and service industries. The calibration process involved meticulous manual documentation through several stages by the auditors.

The custom calibration system streamlined and accelerated two critical business processes by helping the team record and track equipment calibration history and the recalibration reminder process. Each job cycle in the application starts with a new work order mapped to a calibrator as a job. The equipment moves through different process stages, and the calibrator records relevant data with the application. Once the equipment is calibrated, it goes to the quality control department for a final review and further documentation. The process is marked completed once the equipment is delivered to the customer. Melchers inspectors can accept and reject data and check the status of equipment throughout all stages easily, too.

“Our auditors here have to manage and keep track of information and categorize them properly, so they can refer back to them whenever required. It was also important that only certain people could access and use certain files to prevent conflict of interest. Once a year, we invite the government authorities to come to audit us, and we have to adhere to strict rules and processes. We must show them how well-segregated data is between all the teams involved; hence, there’s no partiality in the documentation process.”- Gilbert von der Aue, Managing Director, Melchers Malaysia

melchers-credit-application

“Another great aspect of the solution is we can check the status of the calibrated equipment right from the field. For example, we calibrate a lot of oil and gas equipment, so the inspectors in the field can directly check for the validity status through a simple QR code system,”von der Aue said.

The calibration system is tied together with existing systems and other Zoho applications forming a complete digital ecosystem from the customer details gathering phase and invoice generation, to calibration and after-service support. The application retraces details whenever a piece of equipment is due for recalibration. It automatically alerts the customer and the administrative team with a notification and required information, saving time and reducing approval cycles.

Customer credit application

This application automates the customer credit submission and approval process. The process starts with the salesperson pushing information from Zoho CRM to the custom Creator application through a button in the customer’s record section. This sends an email to the customer asking them to fill out an online form and upload the required documents.

On submission, the customer receives another email with the information they submitted in a signable PDF. The customer then uploads the signed PDF to the application, which the sales team reviews and forwards to the finance team.

After verification, the request is sent to management for approval. Once approved, the customer’s record is automatically updated in all the relevant systems across the organization. Even after a customer successfully submits a credit application, Melchers is able to edit a cutomer’s records within the application. The customer will get an updated letter with the incorporated revisions without a time-consuming paper trail.

melchers-calibration-system

“The customer credit application saved us a lot of time and made things simpler on the customer side. Customers often submit half-filled forms with many missing details with manual forms. We had to chase them down and get the rest of the details filled in. It was just not working out. But with the online Creator forms, we have compulsory fields that our customers must fill out or cannot submit. It saved us a lot of ups and downs between all the departments involved. We’re also able to track the status of the application anytime we want, whether it’s still with the customer or with one of our teams. With many teams involved, it can get confusing without a proper workflow.”- Gilbert von der Aue, Managing Director, Melchers Malaysia

After Creator

The move from paper-laden processes toward low-code automation proved to be beneficial for Melchers, which was highly reliant on manual paperwork before using Creator.

“We saw a 60% boost in productivity after we started using the application built on Zoho Creator, because it cut down on a lot of paperwork. It’s also very efficient because we can access these applications anywhere”- von der Aue said.

The custom low-code solutions helped Melchers:

  • Automate paper-based manual processes
  • Reduce work hours and improve overall efficiency
  • Streamline and accelerate critical business processes
  • Collaborate effectively across departments
  • Improve the overall customer experience

Innovation roadmap

An organization-wide digital transformation is always a work in progress. In an age when technology and customer preferences constantly evolve, the digitization road map should be fluid enough to adapt and adjust to ever-changing developments.

In line with that, Melchers Malaysia is in the middle of building a custom solution that’ll help connect sales with their indoor air quality assessor (IAQ) services process. The app will collect data from the company’s air quality checking devices and convert it into real-time reports for the team.

Inspired by Melcher’s automation story? Watch this session on how enterprises can leverage low-code to build custom applications.

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