Bemis Manufacturing, the largest toilet seat manufacturer in the world, expands it usage of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help its wholesale division gather and analyze customer and competitor intelligence, harnessing the power of data to improve its products, manufacturing processes, and customer experience.
Bemis Manufacturing has a long and storied history. The company opened its doors in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin back in 1901. The company’s roots were in woodworking, originally manufacturing furniture and wooden wagons. As the Great Depression swept across the country, Bemis made a shrewd move to begin manufacturing toilet seats – something that was more or less a necessity for everyone.
Bemis Manufacturing has grown and evolved since those early days, and today they market products under their own brands in addition to providing expertise to others. The company produces private-label products and component parts for a wide variety of industries serving consumer, commercial, medical and industrial markets worldwide.
Impressive stuff. Equally impressive was the daunting task of keeping track of the large amounts of market intelligence that Bemis would get from various parts of the company. Information on influencers, competitors, new products, pricing models, the list went on and on. Adam Hale, Bemis Manufacturing’s market research guru (Manager – Market and Business Development if you’re being technical), was charged with finding a better way to compile, analyze, and develop actionable strategies from all of this intelligence. Luckily for him, the backbone he needed to make it happen was already in place.
“Ledgeview's very well organized, and they bring everything to the table in the right sequence to help you think through things systematically. I would definitely recommend them as a good third party support system.”Adam Hale, Manager - Market and Business Development, Bemis Manufacturing
Bemis Manufacturing has two main business units – the proprietary division, where Hale spends most of his time, and the custom plastics division. The custom plastics division had adopted Microsoft Dynamics CRM a couple of years earlier, and had chosen Ledgeview Partners to help them design and implement the system. Custom plastics uses Dynamics CRM to visualize their sales pipeline. They log all of their opportunities into the system, and then use it to determine how they could best quote the opportunity utilizing the company’s various manufacturing resources. Then they track the conversion process from there.
Custom plastics is really happy with the system, so when Hale began interfacing with Bemis’s IT department about possible solutions for his challenge, they quickly steered him to Dynamics CRM and Ledgeview Partners. It was an easy decision based on the initial success that custom plastics had experienced. Hale began the process of mapping out what Bemis needed with Ledgeview. He explains, “For Wholesale, this was really about universe management. Keeping track of market information and influencers as they move around from one company to another. For us, this was the next step in expanding our market intelligence.”
In addition, there was a certain urgency around building a central repository for the vast amount of company knowledge that was walking around in the heads of Bemis’s employees. Hale notes, “We’re a very stable company, and we have a lot of reps who’ve been here for a long time, and they’ve collected a lot of information in their heads over the years. CRM gives us the means to capture all of that internal information, making it accessible and transparent across the organization.”
Ledgeview worked diligently with Hale and his team to design the components needed to help Bemis track the universe in which they compete. Now, Bemis has structured data and a defined process for compiling it, giving them a strong foundation on which to build future outbound marketing initiatives.
“I’ve come to trust Ledgeview. They’ve been a good business partner for us. They stay in contact with you enough to get a sense of who you are, and how decisions are made at your company. They make sure you have the right information to make the decisions you need to make. ”Adam Hale, Manager - Market and Business Development, Bemis Manufacturing
Bemis has seen several benefits from having Microsoft Dynamics CRM up and running in their wholesale division. Beyond simply having one repository for consolidated information and increased access to that information across the division, Bemis has been able to perform some detailed analysis that has lead to actionable improvements for the company.
One example involves a manufacturing issue with NextStep, the company’s potty training toilet seats. The product had one small part that seemed to be failing prematurely. In the past, understanding how widespread the problem was could be problematic, with only anecdotal information flowing in through various channels. But now, with Dynamics CRM in place, Bemis could quantify exactly how many complaints they’d received, and the specific nature of the complaints. Bemis knew exactly how widespread the problem was, and what needed to be done to fix it – which they did.
Hale and his group also did a market pricing study, thanks to the data that was available through Dynamics CRM. The study helped Bemis understand exactly how a competitor was pricing products in various regions around the country, allowing them to develop a strategy to combat them. That’s powerful stuff, and Hale’s excited about the possibilities as his division continues to learn how to better utilize Dynamics CRM. “You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it,” Hale explains, “Now that everything’s in one place, we can do some real, serious analysis.”
In the near future, Bemis plans to start adding marketing functionality to Dynamics CRM so they can provide useful and actionable information to influencers out in the market. As they expand functionality in the future, they plan to continue to rely on Ledgeview Partners to lead the development and implementation.
At Ledgeview Partners, we definitely look at every engagement as an opportunity to establish a long term relationship, so you can expect us to behave the same way that Hale’s described above. We want to understand your business inside and out so we can provide valuable insight that makes you more successful. That’s just how we roll.
About Bemis Manufacturing
Bemis Manufacturing Company is a family-owned business that traces its roots back to 1901. Headquartered in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.A., we have quietly grown to become an innovative international manufacturer serving markets worldwide.
We market products under our own brands and provide expertise to others, producing private-label products and component parts for a wide variety of industries. We serve consumer, commercial, medical and industrial markets worldwide and have over 1,600 employees located in six countries around the world.