Manufacturer Strengthens Customer Relationships and Saves U.S.$30,000 a Year
Tower Semiconductor employees held customer and sales information in disparate systems, making it difficult to monitor projects and measure market demand. Working with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Advantech, the company deployed Microsoft Dynamics® CRM version 4.0. This integrates with existing systems, and offers clear, accurate data to help users manage project life cycles, make smart business decisions, and enhance customer support.
Based in Israel, Tower Semiconductor (Tower) manufactures integrated circuits for organisations such as those serving the consumer electronics, computer, and automotive markets. The nature of its business demands an unusual sales cycle. As a specialist manufacturer, Tower builds products to order according to customers’ needs.
This model delivers its own, specific challenges. As in any business, managers need to understand sales prospects and trends to make informed decisions. But as Koby Mizrahy, Director of IT at Tower Semiconductor explains, this process is complicated by fluctuating demand cycles. “Customers buy our products for their inventory, so there can be long breaks between orders. We need to be creative and flexible to reduce the effect of quiet periods on our business.”
Tower also has to seek potential customers actively. And, with the global economic climate placing the business under even greater pressure, Tower sought a better understanding of how to win new business and retain its customers with excellent service.
||Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers a central point of access for all our information. We can monitor our global prospects, more accurately predict revenue, and pass our business forecasts on to customers.
Director of IT,
An SAP solution provided Tower with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for handling manufacturing data. But the company needed further insight into sales activity and closer contact with customers. Until recently, sales people held information about customer orders in their own files or in e-mail messages. With no central place for employees to locate data, the life cycle from identifying business leads to manufacture was often lengthy. As Mizrahy explains, new Chief Executive Officer Russell Ellwanger initiated a technology review. “One of Ellwanger’s first tasks was to visit key customers. He was concerned when he saw that the consolidation of customer data for his appointments was a major project.”
The true extent of these challenges emerged as the business began the consecutive manufacture of three product lines, each requiring dedicated support. With so much at stake, Tower Semiconductor wanted to find a more reliable solution to complete these complex projects.
In 2008, Tower acquired wafer foundry Jazz Semiconductor, which used a Salesforce.com customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Tower considered this solution, but working with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Advantech, chose instead to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM version 3.2. It has since rolled out the latest release version 4.0.
“Cost was a major factor in our decision,” says Mizrahy. “Saleforce.com demands an annual fee for each user. Also important was the level of integration that Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers, which provides access to the critical information held in our existing systems.”
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook® client links users’ contacts in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, so employees can easily add e-mail conversations to their customer information. Microsoft Dynamics CRM also integrates seamlessly with SAP. Advantech has ensured SAP data can be accessed and manipulated from within the user-friendly production, manufacturing, and logistics systems in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Advantech also developed a customised add-on to the system, which offers managers tools and graphical presentations to forecast the probability of closing deals.
Today, sales information is managed in a single database, shared and accessed according to employees’ permission settings. Customer contacts are presented as orders or potential opportunities. Employees can also view financial data corresponding to each account, alongside manufacturing data, problems, and customer queries.
Users have insight into the entire sales cycle. Automated flags warn them when production processes vary from what was agreed with customers, giving employees time to amend processes before time or money are lost. Senior managers can also view business intelligence information generated in the SAP system. Executive reports provide updated pictures or snapshots of sales leads and opportunities, and this information can be presented in Microsoft Office Excel® 2007 spreadsheet software for real-time analysis.
Employees at Tower are confident that the solution offers a secure foundation on which they can build and strengthen customer relationships. The system easily supports a smooth life cycle for as many consecutive projects as Tower can handle, and provides managers with the clear, accurate insight they need to make smart business decisions and generate new sales. Mizrahy says: “Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps us focus on projects, prioritise the right elements, and offer our customers an efficient and consistent service.”
- Managers forecast sales more accurately. Tower managers no longer rely on verbal communications from sales people to form the basis of their strategic planning. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers a central point of access for all our information. We can monitor our global prospects, more accurately predict revenue, and pass our business forecasts on to customers,” says Mizrahy.
- Solution choice saves business many thousands of dollars annually. “Our decision to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM instead of the Salesforce.com solution has saved Tower up to U.S.$30,000 a year in fees,” says Mizrahy.
- Technology supports business through tough economic climate. Mizrahy believes that the new solution will help Tower avoid expensive mistakes through difficult business periods. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives us confidence that we won’t lose important opportunities through human error.”
- Employees deliver better customer service. With all customer information at their fingertips, employees can ensure that valued customers receive the highest quality of service. If a new employee is assigned to a customer, the system reminds them to follow up customer calls, prevents the duplication of work, and ensures all historical information is documented and accessible.
- Familiar tools ensure ease of use. Part of the decision to choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM rested on its integration with familiar tools such as Office Outlook 2007 and Office Excel 2007. Sales people are familiar with these technologies, making user acceptance easier.
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