What we did
For thousands of years, trade has fueled our economies, and shipping has made it possible. While the basic tenets are simple—one party ships the goods, the other party receives them—the processes are extremely complex. That’s why Montréal-based Delmar International helps clients all over the world manage supply chains and logistics.
Founded as a customs broker in 1965, the company has since expanded its offerings to include advisory services, international freight forwarding, warehousing, distribution, business-to-consumer ecommerce, supply chain technology, and more. That means ensuring that products will be produced and shipped on time; coordinating air, ocean, and trucking; and consolidating freight loads from suppliers of all sizes. As a family-owned business with more than 1,500 employees in 15 countries worldwide, Delmar differentiates itself with services that are highly customizable, fast, and efficient.
When Delmar was ready for a new phase of growth, the first step was to enhance its technology stack with a new CRM. Slalom was chosen to implement Salesforce—but we wanted to ensure that the company had the tools and information to optimize it. A closer look at Delmar’s internal processes revealed important opportunities where, together, we could streamline customer service and build a strategy for short- and long-term growth.
Where other firms were hyper-focused only on implementation of Salesforce, Slalom was interested in why we needed a new CRM in the first place.
Strong solutions need a strategy
Delmar had always valued technology, but more than ever, saw the potential to lead with it. Slalom initially provided a logistics expert to implement Salesforce, but we soon saw that technology alone would not grow relationships. As we discussed the best approach, Delmar recognized the need for strategy and change management, and expanded the scope of our partnership.
From the start, we knew it was fundamental to understand exactly what Delmar was trying to achieve. “Where other firms were hyper-focused only on implementation of Salesforce, Slalom was interested in why we needed a new CRM in the first place. They really worked with us to dive into the root causes of our issues and saw an opportunity to refresh our processes company-wide,” says Daniel Cutler, CTO at Delmar.
The project began with discovery. Because everyone at Delmar works together in some element of customer-facing service daily, Slalom interviewed representatives from every business unit in every country, from senior executives to operational coordinators and everyone in between. As we drilled down, we learned what was working and what could be improved.
We implemented Salesforce through a short series of two-week sprints. Using its suite of services, we then quantified our discovery findings, including customer challenges, tasks that employees found stressful, and the intersection of those issues. Some findings confirmed what Delmar already believed, while others—complexities around the customer onboarding process, issue resolution, and case management—were more surprising. We needed to figure out how to set up the right structure within the organization and help Delmar create a more seamless customer experience.
Putting new systems to work
In phase two, we augmented Salesforce to align people and processes. Our goal was to create a holistic, customer-centric solution driven by Delmar’s needs, metrics, and KPIs—and to do it quickly. To define priorities, as well as our strategic and technical approach, we had daily virtual meetings with the client team.
Together, we analyzed the big picture—what was happening in the world, what was happening in the industry, and how Delmar could attract different types of customers. Based on those findings, we created a roadmap for the business and a plan that began with internal efficiencies. “The reason why I love this project is that logistics hasn’t changed that much in thousands and thousands of years—and yet it’s ripe for all kinds of strategic and technological innovation,” says Neil Hamdani, senior principal at Slalom.
Delmar had plenty of useful data, but it was siloed in several disconnected systems—an internal accounting system, ocean, air, and trucking systems, and more. To integrate all that data, we implemented MuleSoft and structured it in a way that allowed us to train the Delmar team to manage its own integration needs.
Next, we needed to ensure successful adoption of the new platform and show employees how to maximize it. Using recorded training sessions and documentation, the system was rolled out across the company. The process also made many representatives aware of tools they hadn’t known were available.
Delmar teams are now empowered to help customers help themselves. Everyone involved in an inquiry can now see who’s answering, when, and how it’s being resolved. “This would not have been possible without Salesforce, especially in departments that have seen higher turnover than usual due to the pandemic,” says Oliver Cutler, CMO at Delmar. “Knowledge transfer between coordinators has allowed customers to feel equally well taken care of.”
The reason why I love this project is that logistics hasn’t changed that much in thousands and thousands of years—and yet it’s ripe for all kinds of strategic and technological innovation.
Visibility gets results
The solution was delivered on time and on budget—and is seeing strong adoption throughout the company. Among the many positive employee comments: “Where has Salesforce been all my life?” With access to company-wide data, representatives have seen a reduction in both call resolution times and case volumes. In fact, one type of service inquiry that represents 25% of all inquiries has been reduced by 80%.
Customer satisfaction has improved now that MuleSoft enables representatives to track their own shipments and account information. Using the portal, they can also work through parts of the onboarding process independently, which means significant time savings for employees. “We would not have done this strategic exercise with any of the other implementation partners we spoke to," says Daniel Cutler.
The platform’s marketing data capabilities have yielded important results in acquisitions as well. Delmar can now create dynamic lists and send specific communications to a subset of clients, then record touchpoints to discover which were most successful. Sales teams have the tools to bring new clients into the system far more easily.
Our data integration work with Delmar continues with further enhancements. “Even virtually, this became a true partnership with strong relationships. We always made time to make it about personal connection before we got down to business,” says Hamdani. Together, we built a foundation to help Delmar reach its goals—and expand its customer-first services worldwide.