Author: Vivienne Pearson

Does a fully integrated Sign On Glass program mean the complete absence of paper?

“Not in the immediate future,” is the verdict of CSR’s Manager Transactional Accounting Services, John Denyer. “In 10 years time, we might have migrated fully, but it will be a long time before we are truly paperless.”

For CSR, the ASX-listed building materials company incorporating brands like Gyprock, Monier and Bradford, developing a Sign On Glass program is the next step in the success of their CSR Connect portal. This cloud portal is an SAP-driven set of tools builders use for orders, invoice tracking and payments, that is equally useable on a computer, phone or tablet.

“CSR aims to drive innovation by providing customers with state of the art online solutions,” says Denyer, of their Sign On Glass (SOG) project that will see end-to-end online service delivery, including real-time delivery tracking.

This is forward thinking for one of Australia’s oldest manufacturing companies working within an industry not traditionally known for its embrace of technology. “It’s not that the industry is not change oriented,” says Denyer. “It’s just that recent demand has been so high that there hasn’t been as strong a need to look beyond the status quo.”

CSR’s forward thinking includes understanding that even the latest technology will not fully replace the need for an occasional piece of paper.

It’s recognition that these processes are not an instant switch,” says Denyer. There will be circumstances when we need to print a piece of paper. Certain key customers still demand a scanned image of the traditional paper signed version as the trusted proof to a sign on glass delivery”

This dual paper and digital work environment is where the services of Avantix come into play. CSR relies on Avantix, one of Australia’s leading digital information process providers, to capture data from paper-based documents and ready it for seamless integration into the automated systems.

“The strategy is a blended SOG and paper digital solution for a single point of reference throughout all depots for each of our business units.” says Denyer.  “SOG will be our primary system and we are striving towards a 100% uptake” Avantix is working with CSR to ensure their SOG goal is reached. The aim is for both electronic and paper proof to be equally accessible in SAP, regardless of how they originated.

CSR Connect GPS mobile use

“Putting a Proof Of Delivery (POD)  document scanning solution in place is a vital step towards moving to Sign On Glass,” says Duncan Lord, Avantix CEO. “Without this robust solution in place beforehand, the transition would have been vastly more challenging and costly.”

“Internal processes are streamlined so that management, credit department and dispatch staff can access one system for all their needs.  It will enable us to realise all the benefits of a digital system while the SOG solution is tested, perfected and incrementally rolled out across the organisation.” says Denyer

Avantix has supported CSR through the entire transition, from the days of dot-matrix printers to Sign On Glass. “Avantix work towards our strategic direction and, in the eight years we’ve been working together, they have been onside with whatever we’ve done,” says Denyer.

Of ultimate importance, is the goal of meeting customer needs regardless of the systems they choose to use. Says Denyer: “Avantix enables us to give full coverage for all our customers straight away.”

Avantix would like to celebrate CSR’s move to Sign On Glass.

Avantix are proud to be an enabler of CSR Connect, a portal for excellent customer service within the building supply industry,

Connection with customers is key to any business. Changing the way you connect takes thought as well as innovation.

CSR, a leading building products company headquartered in Sydney, has taken a proactive digital transformation approach to empowering customers through an SAP-driven portal called CSR Connect. The online portal, equally accessible via computer, tablet or phone, provides customers with comprehensive and immediate access to purchasing information and documents such as Proof of Delivery (POD) and invoices.

“We want to improve our customers’ experience with a seamless process to place orders, track deliveries and interact with CSR,” summarises Rob Sindel, Managing Director of the ASX listed building materials company is the name behind some of Australia and New Zealand’s most trusted brands, including Gyprock plasterboard, Bradford Insulation, PGH Bricks & Pavers and Monier Roof Tiles.

“Most importantly, we want to make our customers’ lives easier, more productive and profitable,” Sindel outlines in CSR’s 2018 annual report.

With over 80 retail sites (known as Gyprock Trade Centres), over 4000 staff, and customers ranging from sole trader handymen to global corporations, introducing the portal was a planned stepped change process.

“Uptake was the greatest challenge. Our customers needed something special to overcome the natural resistance to changing the way they engage with us.” says John Denyer, Manager Transactional Accounting Services. “We put a lot of effort into aligning our processes with what mattered most to our customers to provide better controls, access and visibility over interactions with CSR. It is pleasing to see how many customers have embraced this initiative.”

Despite the leap in technology seen at CSR, paper remains part of many transactions. “We’re moving towards paperless processing,” says John Denyer, Manager Transactional Accounting Services. “But it is a long journey and we will always have the need for scanning of paper to some degree, particularly in the case of tracking deliveries.”

To ensure accurate data that can be relied upon, regardless of the process by which it is collected, CSR calls on the specialist scanning and digital transformation agency of Avantix to integrate data captured from scanned PODs (Proof of Delivery documents), verify against SAP data and merge with the ERP into a single source of truth.

“Avantix streamlines interaction with the ERP systems by running the scanned PDF files through their business process engine to capture, verify and transform the data into an electronic feed that is SAP ready,” explains Avantix CEO, Duncan Lord. “Based on rules designed specifically for each business, Avantix works as a technology integration partner to enforce data governance best practice.”

The resulting centralised data has benefits internally as well as for customers, increasing productivity and quality as well as reducing overheads and costs associated with data duplication. Staff no longer have to search through boxes for a key piece of paper and, most importantly, the days of risking being unable to prove delivery of hundreds of thousands of dollars of supplies are now in the past.

Responsiveness and consistency with proof is key to building the trust that prevents disputes before they happen.

Now, POD queries can be answered in seconds by CSR staff in Sydney or directly by the customer themselves. The portal has built customer confidence in CSR administration processes while simultaneously streamlining CSR’s administrative burden. While there are no specific metrics to measure the percentage reduction in queries since the introduction of CSR Connect, Denyer describes the current rate as now being down to negligible.

The ultimate goal is a Sign On Glass (SOG) program. “This will automate much of what is currently happening manually,” says Denyer.

The benefits of the digital transformation have become apparent to customers and staff alike. Denyer commonly hears feedback along the lines of “It’s so easy” and, in keeping with the down to earth nature of the building industry in Australia: “It does what it says on the tin!”

Thanks to the skill of Avantix in creating tailor-made data solutions and being a trusted facilitator for CSR’s SAP data automation services, CSR are confident that their customers have full coverage through the whole change process.

“We’ve been working with Avantix for eight years,” says Denyer. “We’ve always found them responsive and supportive of our strategic direction. They help us achieve our strategy.”

Avantix would like to recognise the forward thinking and dedicated work that CSR Connect represents, transforming CSR into a digital leader in the construction industry.