Want to drive 10x efficiency in your small business? Collaboration tools are the answer

April 27, 2018 Charlotte Sturman

Employees are the lifeblood of any SMB, so giving them the right tools to communicate and collaborate is essential.

Take Italian fashion brand Del Brenta, which manufactures heels, wedges, and platforms for the world’s biggest footwear brands. When the company mapped out its enterprise resource planning (ERP) processes, it realised a large proportion of time was being wasted as a result of miscommunication, and this subsequently affected productivity.

Your business will likely have various different departments that need to coexist in order to produce a particular product or service. In the case of Del Brenta, manufacturing a heel required operations, logistics, accounting and sales to go work together from concept to creation.

Scaling collaboration with business needs

However, collaborating at scale had become difficult, with large professional design files having to be sent across various departments. Del Brenta clients were wearing out their own shoes travelling back and forth to various offices for design meetings, and internal communication was limited to email, which often resulted in lost or missed communication. As you know – one missed e-mail can lead to several dreadful scenarios, particularly when deadlines or targets are missed.

To minimise waste and decrease delivery times, Del Brenta had to look for a product that could help its employees to communicate in real-time, in a number of ways.

As Stefano Bezzon, Head of Innovation at Del Brenta, explained: “Every day we use WebEx Teams as a messaging platform, and sometimes this turns into a video call, or screen sharing, a whiteboarding session; something different when you need it.”

This option means that Luciano Polato, Del Brenta’s CEO, can reduce the need to communicate in person – including journeys that could take five hours. Instead, he can replace them with a mere 10-minute web conference call, where he can see the research, slides, prototype, and any other information he needs. 

Why travel five hours to a meeting which can be completed within ten minutes over a phone call with access to presentation slides?

Extending the benefits of WebEx Teams out externally

Businesses shouldn’t just think about their employees when they consider a collaboration tool; after all, the most successful and innovative companies today focus on the customer first.

Del Brenta took this approach and extended the benefits of WebEx Teams to its key customers, implementing the same hardware in their offices, enabling a dedicated digital video phone line with them. Customers can now remotely show details of their requirements directly to a team that makes the products.

If there is an issue with how a heel fits or looks, they can speak to a Del Brenta footwear artisan, and work through the changes right there and then, live on screen, without any travel or cumbersome email chains. In just minutes, it saves Del Brenta customers an entire working day in addition to travel costs.

Companies need to consider how they communicate with their customers. By opening up new ways of communicating, they can make major improvements in productivity. But more importantly, by investing in technology that can help them, customers will feel empowered and are likely to feel more loyal towards your company.

Remote working with suppliers

While Del Brenta heels are fully produced in-house, the precision mouldings are only made by a select group of trusted suppliers. Because fashion moves very quickly, these mould suppliers need to be in the constant and close alignment. WebEx Teams has enabled a smoother shipping process, ensuring customers receive the product on time.

The results from Del Brenta’s new, more efficient communication tool also decreased the risk of mistakes in the manufacturing process. Del Brenta gained 10x efficiency with collaboration tools, and dramatic gains in efficiency in all areas of the business as well.

Manufacturing prototypes in real time 

Having this new digital equipment in Del Brenta’s prototyping office is where the real fun begins. This facilitates instant feedback during the early research and design phase. Del Brenta artisans can build the prototype, using real-time collaboration techniques. Increasingly, customers are able to participate to ensure the final product is exactly as they want it.  

With this technology in place, Del Brenta’s design is in production in a matter of hours and Del Brenta gets the latest look to customers in fashion capitals of the world: Paris, London, New York, and beyond.

Learn how Del Brenta in Italy uses Webex Teams to change the way they do business in the fashion industry.

 

About the Author

Charlotte Sturman

Proud and privileged to work as part of the superhero (and heroine!) EMEAR Content Marketing Team for Cisco Collaboration. Writing content and telling stories about Cisco's amazing portfolio of transformational working technologies. The future of work is here!

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