What do you do when in-person meetings simply aren’t possible, but real-world challenges still exist? The COVID-19 crisis has certainly put things like collaboration to the test.
A Gallup poll released in April stated that as much as 62% of employed Americans have worked at home throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Throughout this period, the use of technologies for videoconferencing and other forms of digital collaboration have been adopted. But the use of these tools hasn’t been limited to team meetings. In fact, some have found creative uses for videoconferencing tools to help trouble shoot quality issues, demo new solutions, and more.
While laser-cutting parts using the 48,000 lbs. of plate they received from Ryerson, this customer noticed a problem. The material was bowing. In typical circumstances, the Ryerson rep would have made the trip to investigate the issue in person, but COVID-19 conditions eliminated that option. Email and phone communication simply didn’t suffice in handling a material-claim. So that’s when the rep decided to get creative.
He arranged time for himself, the buyer, and the customer’s operations manager to connect via a video call where the operations manager took his phone to the shop floor.
There it was observed that the material bowing was within an acceptable range and posed no threat to the customer’s equipment or product. They agreed to monitor bowing over the coming weeks and, if needed, transition to temper pass (flatter) material in the future.
This resolution saved the customer hours of time and approximately $40,000 for what might have been lost and replaced material.
When it came time to renegotiate their contract for purchasing metal, one machinery company wanted to explore new ways to enhance their purchasing power. With representatives in both Colorado and across the border in Mexico that needed to be involved, proximity added a new hurdle to the situation.
Knowing that an in-person demo simply wasn’t possible, Ryerson Sales Representative Wes Mountain pivoted to the alternative: A web demo with the director or purchasing and his team across the multiple locations.
This provided an ideal platform for exploring the value of using an e-commerce solution. During the demo, the team quickly discovered that the value of an e-commerce solution went far beyond simply the ability to purchase metal online. In fact, the wealth of features included introduced new ways to save time and money.
For instance, the ability to streamline the purchase order process—which for this company comprises roughly 180 parts. The way it previously worked for this company was to issue one purchase order for multiple items and send it daily to Ryerson. The estimated time this took for the company was about 30 minutes daily.
The e-commerce solution introduces the ability to issue one “blanket” purchase order for each item for the entire year. When they place their order online, it generates an auto invoice with that purchase order. Now, rather than spending 30 minutes each day on purchase orders, the company can instead generate all 180 purchase orders in the matter of just two days.
All of this was able to be introduced via a web demo where the remote locations were connected and engaged.
“(Videoconferencing) provided an excellent platform to allow collaboration across geographic regions between Ryerson and our customer,” says Mountain. “With locations both domestically and internationally, we transcended traditional boundaries with the help of technology, saving significant resources.”
In times of crisis, creativity often rises to the top. Thinking beyond the typical meeting, more and more companies are finding real business value in connecting with partners via videoconferencing tools. And the results are real dollar savings.