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Customer Snapshot

The Best-Dressed Windows Wear Hillarys

500,000
combinations

of fabrics, colors, options, and accessories

 

At 30,000 blinds per week, Hillarys is the United Kingdom’s top custom-made blind company. With 1,000 advisors providing consultations and making sales in customer homes across the country, a solution was needed to streamline the job with a single mobile device. With the SAP Mobile Platform, Hillarys is selling more while cutting costs and saving time.

 

Company

Hillarys

Headquarters

Nottingham, United Kingdom

Customer Website

www.hillarys.co.uk

Revenue

£116 million (€143 million)

Number of Employees

>2,000

Implementation Partners

AgilityWorks

Line of Business

Service, Sales, Information Technology

Industry

Retail, Hardlines

Featured Products

SAP Mobile Platform

History

From one man in Nottingham to the whole kingdom

Tony Hillary began making blinds out of his garage in Nottingham, England in 1971. He did everything from advertising, sales, fitting, and manufacturing. Now Hillarys is a market leader in window dressing. With products that are made to order, Hillarys is enhancing home decoration room by room across the United Kingdom.

   

  • 1971 Tony Hillary begins making venetian and vertical blinds from his home in Nottingham.
  • 1978Production moves to a factory, employing 100 people.
  • 1982A second factory opens in Washington, Tyne and Wear to serve customers in the North of England and in Scotland. 1000 blinds per week are being produced.
  • 1985A new factory and head office opened in Nottingham.
  • 1986 Sales at Hillarys reaches £10 million per year.
  • 1990 Hillarys is producing 5,000 blinds every week.
  • 1996Outdoor awnings are added to the range of Hillarys products.
  • 2000Hillarys is producing 20,000 blinds every week.
  • 2002Hillarys is employing 1,000 people and sales reached £70 million.
  • 2011Hillarys celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Business Model

Find perfect window coverings–without leaving home

It is very difficult to walk into a shop and choose a window covering off the shelf. This is why Hillarys’ advisors visit customers at home where they can help guide the search for the perfect window covering. Once the customer has found the right combination of style, fabric, and color, that window covering is custom made to meet each window’s exact specifications. Whether for a traditional cottage or a contemporary apartment, Hillarys’ advisors can help customers create one-of-a-kind blinds, curtains, or shutters to transform any room and fit any budget.

 

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Hillarys overview

1,000 advisors visit 10,000 homes each week.

Success Strategy

Transforming customer service with promise-keeping

“When you look at how many customers buy from us a second, third, or fourth time, and how frequently they recommend us to others, it’s very clear that service is a key part of our offering. And this makes us fairly unique in the marketplace.”

 

Hillarys has built its success on providing fantastic customer service and striving to make every customer a customer for life. Part of this is thanks to a program called Service Breakthrough that set out to transform service culture throughout the organization. Although in-home advisor consultations were extremely popular, when looking at the occasional complaint letters, management saw a clear trend of customers who had contacted the call center and then not received the follow-up call they expected.

 

Using the SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, Hillarys gave its call center associates the tools they needed to start a record for every new customer, recognize returning customers and pull up their history quickly and easily. By directing each caller correctly, and prompting them whenever it was time for a follow-up, the result is a commitment to promise-keeping that spans the entire organization.

 

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How to build a service platform using SAP CRM

The Challenge

The technology to maintain market leadership

“We needed a new platform that would take our existing capability to a new level by taking advantage of the new generation of mobile devices to deliver a more consumer-centric solution.”

 

Because the core of Hillarys’ business happens in its customer homes, having an effective mobile enterprise solution is absolutely essential. But the legacy mobile application in place since 2004 could not keep up with the latest advances in mobile technology. Not only was the operating system no longer supported by the vendor—but the application could not provide the agility Hillarys needed to remain a market leader and compete effectively in local markets.

 

Hillarys also wanted to reduce the cost and complexity of remotely managing data and applications on the mobile devices used by its advisors and sales managers. It needed to configure devices, deploy applications, and maintain real-time data connectivity quickly and securely so its sales force could get all the information it needed while out in the field.

 

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85% of sales are achieved using a mobile selling device.

Enter SAP

Continuing a relationship of trust and success

In replacing its mobile solution, Hillarys wanted to leverage its existing SAP software investment, including the SAP ERP and SAP CRM applications. Having successfully redefined its service architecture with the help of SAP CRM, turning to SAP for a mobility solution that would integrate into the rest of its ERP system was the right decision for Hillarys’ business and bottom line.

 

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The market leader in mobile platforms

“It’s clear that if you are making 30,000
individual blinds per week, then you are going to
need computer systems with which to support it… When we were looking at a platform for developing our next-generation mobile app, Sybase Unwired Platform* was clearly the market leader. The fact that we already have a large SAP software implementation made it an obvious contender.”

* Now the SAP Mobile Platform

 

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Opportunity to redefine service architecture

The SAP Experience

The right partner for the job

1st native Android-based solution using the SAP Mobility Platform in the UK.

Hillarys teamed with AgilityWorks to develop its new generation of mobile apps. Working closely with Hillarys’ IT team and key stakeholders across the company from the sales force to the factory floor, they developed a sales advisor mobile app built specifically for the Samsung Galaxy smart-phones and tablets carried by advisors in the field. They also launched a mobile analytics app for field-sales managers to leverage information from Hillarys’ SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse application.

 

“In a rapidly changing field of technology such as enterprise mobility, we wanted to work with an SAP partner with the right experience. We chose AgilityWorks, which was recognized by SAP as having that track record.”

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The importance of using a partner

Less than 6 months from sign-off to going live.

Benefits

100% ROI within 12 months

1 mobile device = £250,000 saved across the sales force each year.

Mobile solutions from SAP support Hillarys’ extended sales and installation cycle, including advanced resource planning, appointment management, lead management, pricing, order and deposit capture, product configuration, payment processing, and mobile receipt printing. Manufacturing, delivery schedules, and stock availability can also be synchronized in real time. And interactive dashboards with up-to-date performance metrics and drill-down functionality enable more detailed and up-to-date reporting for the sales management team.

 

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Adding value to the business with SAP mobile solutions

10,000 appointments handled each week with
mobile apps.

The result is that sales advisors can be more productive than ever before, attending more appointments and improving sales performance across the board. Plus, with the SAP Afaria mobile device management solution, Hillarys has the additional security of being able to remotely delete customer data from any lost mobile device.

 

£2-3 million in additional sales opportunities.

 

Lessons Learned

Time saved is time earned—with family

Having started as a one-man business, Hillarys maintains a sense of family despite having vastly expanded operations. And the company has learned that investments in cutting edge technology not only save time and increase profits, but also allow it to give back to the community and its employees. Whether it means donating to charity or wrapping up business by closing time, members of the Hillarys family can relax and spend time with their own families, knowing that business is running better than ever before.

 

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“SAP mobile applications can absolutely save me time and really allow me to spend more time with my family.”

Journey Ahead

New windows of mobile opportunity

Hillarys is just beginning to realize the full potential of using the SAP Mobile Platform to build mobile apps that enhance customer service and overall business performance. One planned initiative involves extending Hillarys’ use of SAP CRM to help ensure that a 360-degree view of customers is available to its advisor network. This will improve the customer experience by giving advisors the same complete, up-to-date information that is currently available to staff in Hillarys’ contact center.


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SAP helps Hillarys manage complexity

“The platform positions us to not only take advantage of rapidly evolving mobile technology, but it also allows us to create new mobile apps that capitalize on our existing SAP software landscape.”

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