Having its own retail business in lockdown provided the foundation for Emplas’ investment in remote selling technology. Total Installer (TI) spoke with T&K Home Improvements’ Damian Smith (DS), which trialled the offer ahead of this autumn’s launch.
TI: What is the relationship between Emplas and T&K Home Improvements?
DS: We’re part of the Emplas Group of companies but exclusively focussed on retail in Northamptonshire. In that sense we work in the same space as many of Emplas’ retail customers, so we face the same challenges that they do.
TI: What impact did national lockdown have?
DS: It was clearly very disruptive but what was clear was that right through lockdown there was demand from the end-user. It was just that it was very difficult for us – and for any retail business – to service it.
TI: What is WindowCAD?
DS: WindowCAD is a front-end sales tool which allows you to take the homeowner through the sales process developing specifications as you go and visualising them through a digital product representation and the application of that, on their property, either by logging in from someone’s home or remotely.
Being able to take a picture and then overlay windows or doors onto that so that they can see what it’s going to look like is a major advantage in the sales process.
WindowCAD also acts an ‘electronic price book’ which allows you to sell directly from it, automatically pulling in price changes and mark-ups according to the specifications chosen.
It helps the end-user understand why a foil will cost more than a white window and to see the price difference that their choices make.
TI: What is different about how Emplas is using WindowCAD?
DS: Emplas’ inhouse digital team has created a unique integration which allows WindowCAD to ‘talk’ to Emplas Virtual Assitant and WindowDesigner, so that the data inputted right at the start of the sales process can be extracted from it and used to place orders. Essentially it cuts out a stack of process and saves masses of time.
TI: What was your role in its development?
DS: I’m T&K Home Improvements’ window and door surveyor. We were tasked with trialling it [WindowCAD]. So, the sales team used it and we ran the checks on the process to make sure that things were accurate.
WindowCAD won’t let you specify and sell something that can’t be made, so it builds in checks and balances anyway but as part of the trial we benchmarked it against our pre-existing processes to make sure that pricing was right.
That’s a very good feature – if your pricing is a little out, it’s very easy to introduce an additional uplift.
TI: How do you use WindowCAD as a surveyor?
DS: The sales team will sell the job, either in person or remotely. Once it’s sold I’ll use WindowCAD to pick the job up and check the dimensions and measurements and manufacturing sizes and that is then directly sent to Emplas.
If you’re dealing with ‘sales sizes’ you’re always going to need to check things from a technical perspective but you have the data there to work from. You don’t need to input everything again, you simply amend whatever has already been put in on the system.
Previously I would have used remote surveying software, put in the details from scratch and get the customer to sign-off on the job – I don’t need to do any of that. The lead layouts, the Georgian bar layouts – everything is on there so it’s much better.
TI: Are there any other benefits?
DS: You get a very clear digital audit trail against the job. You can even get the customer to sign digitally, linking to their individual IP address, so other than running those checks on measurements sales can be if they need to be, completely contactless.
There’s also an integration with EVA and the quotation pack, which fully automates the process pulling in relevant certification, accreditations and product specifications from data already inputted, during the sales consultation.
It links up the entire process from sale to order and takes out administrative burden at each of those stages. It also removes mistakes because the salesperson can only sell what can actually be made rather than something that they think can be. Something that has, on occasion, been known to happen!