We heard from Pekka Lettijeff, CEO and President of Sauna360, at the recent E-Connect Europe event in Stockholm, about his team’s digitization journey. With a “just get it done” attitude and a focus on how the project would drive business objectives, they were able to completely digitize the sales process for their Sweden-specific brand, Tylö.
State Of The Union
In order to see the power that Lettijeff’s digitization strategy held, we must first understand where the company was coming from. They sold worldwide, servicing over 100 countries with B2B solutions. There was a big increase in interest as more and more people heard about the health benefits of saunas.
However, because of the average age of practitioners in the sauna industry and its deep traditional roots, there was much to be done for Tylö’s digital transformation. There were several inconsistencies within the in-house sales staff, and orders were being placed through emails, letters, fax, and more. Everything was entirely manual.
“Our own internal process was obviously the main root cause for hindered growth,” Lettijeff lamented how unclear their process was, and how unaware of the ins and outs of the business many of the team members were. It would take hours of chatting on the phone for any sales to start happening.
Ultimately, Lettijeff decided to launch the Tylö Pro Shop, their online store. This would automate any standard transactions with customers. The goal was to solve one of the biggest issues with customer satisfaction, how complicated the sales process had become. “We wanted to be talking about what we’re going to do tomorrow, instead of solving yesterday’s problems.”
The Project Plan
As any digitization expert will tell you, having a clear plan is key to a successful shift. Wanting to get this right, the Tylö team mapped out the next five months of development for their online store.
- Day -60 – 0 Benchmarking existing solutions and selecting a hosting platform
- Day 1 Final decision on the platform and nominating the project leader
- Day 2 – 80 Cleaning up the product info (pictures, manuals, and technical specs) and loading them into one Product Information Management system.
- Day 40 – 50 Create the customer-facing pieces of the store (the look and feel of it)
- Day 50 – 90 Upload all the data to the webshop and program it for customer use
- Day 80 – 90 Create and send out log-in credentials for customers
- Day 91 Go Live!
When they started this project, the digitization team outlawed the phrases “but” and “this is too complicated.” Lettijeff explained, “We needed it to be simple, and to know that we will just do it.” You can see how each phase flowed into the next but also allowed time for any issues to be flagged and dealt with as they arose.
They worked alongside a consultant who, once they knew what the goals of the project were, was able to solidify the best course of action from what had been done previously.
Results of Digitization
In the years since Tylö undertook this transformation, they’ve seen excellent results. A digital, automated storefront has brought about:
- Over 20% higher sales
- Double the profit
- Higher quality sales
- Eliminated miscommunications
In fact, the only sales that don’t currently go 100% through their online storefront are specialty projects that require more care.
The benefits of this process are clear, and the team was thrilled with the impact they had on Tylö’s business objectives. They were able to achieve
- 24/7 Availability for Customers – The team was no longer restrained by the working hours in Sweden
- No Room for Human Error – once someone places an order, it goes directly into production through automation
- Clean Data – Through the data cleaning process that got the information ready to go online, Tylö’s team was able to flag discrepancies in price and rectify them, leading to increased profit
No project worth undertaking comes without its challenges. As the shift online was finalized, there were a few things that still needed to be dealt with.
Some of the older customers that are coming to Tylö still want to have a conversation on the phone with their salesman, however this leads to longer wait times, more errors, and higher labour costs. It takes some getting used to, but if you expect your customers to go through the online port, and set it up as essentially the only option, they will ultimately thank you.
As you may have deduced from the breakdown of the changes that were made, many of the sales positions were shifted dramatically. While this did open up opportunities for team members to grow and learn about more tech-heavy positions, there are always those who are not interested in that kind of change.
Investing in digital transformation requires a team to accept that things will be transformed. If your staff is willing to adapt and grow, then they will find that this kind of automation frees them up for higher-value positions.
Digitization Best Practises
Through their “get it done” approach, Lettijeff and his team were able to solidify a few best practices for any digital transformation undertaking. While every digital transformation journey is different, there are a few key things that will be true across the board.
Tip One: Digitization is Not a Goal Unto Itself
One of the biggest barriers to digitization is a lack of understanding as to why it’s important. Many companies approach the project as something that is only interesting or effective for the IT team. Lettijeff explained, “People make (digitization) so complicated, talking about AI and IoT. Instead, tell people why you need it.”
Talk to your team about how this shift will drive forward your business objectives, and remind them throughout the process. This will keep everyone engaged and on board.
Tip Two: Highlight Your Strategic Objectives
Before your company starts on its digital transformation journey, you need to have a clear idea of what exactly you want to achieve. Are you looking to reduce labour costs? Improve and streamline the customer journey? Compile your databases?
These objectives will not only help motivate your team, but they will also ensure that your digitization stays on track throughout.
Tip Three: Get Upper Management Involved
Digital transformation is not something that you can simply hand off to your tech team and hope for the best. Leadership needs to be continually involved in the process. Tylö’s team had weekly meetings to ensure the process was going smoothly, and there was always a contact to see issues before they arise.
The Bottom Line
As the entire world moves towards Digitization, seeing where others succeed allows us to plan and prepare for our own digital transformations. Listening to the story of Tylö helps solidify the importance of business objective-driven change, and the engagement of upper management in these shifts.
Copperberg is a hub for stories and learning opportunities just like this. If you want to hear more from leaders in the B2B industry and people at the cutting edge of digitization, be sure to explore our site. Together, we can collectively move towards a bright, profitable, digital future.
To see a recording of the presentation from Sauna360 and the other keynotes from this event, join our Copperberg Manufacturing Business Community.