Success Story: Norauto and Determine collaborate on a continuous improvement initiative.

Norauto

Determine customer Norauto, founded in 1970, is the pioneer of the car care center concept in France. Today, Norauto is the European leader in car maintenance, with more than 600 Norauto centers in eight countries providing multi-brand maintenance solutions for motorists in terms of maintenance, comfort and safety.

Just one year after the Determine Cloud Platform was put into production, a continuous improvement process was implemented involving Prisca Foucart – E-procurement manager at Norauto, Romain Chauvet – P2P product manager at Determine and Pascal Honno – Account Manager at Determine. Here is an account of this exciting exchange.

“What do you think of the implementation of a continuous improvement process and what triggered it at Norauto?”

Norauto: It seems to me that this is a first in the administration and finance department at Norauto. We have other ERP systems, but they are not SaaS. Updates to these tools are rare. In fact, our end users, whom we consider as our customers, are quite unhappy with these other tools, which have not evolved at the same pace in the cloud to meet their needs.

Thanks to the continuous improvement approach in working with Determine as a true cloud platform, it is different; during the various meetings with the employees in our centers, I am able to show these same end users the improvements that are in the test phase, and I can also explain to them the improvements that can and cannot be implemented to better set their expectations.”

“Do you have an example of that?”

Norauto: Take Determine’s attribute management feature as an example. For end users, it provides easy access to custom item attributes in the shopping cart. This more precisely describes the characteristics of the services or items they need, like a supplier’s language capabilities, years of experience, or product attributes like color or size. End users in the past realized that this was not possible in France because of the unique item references they often requested. Through these meetings, I shared my tests on the Determine Cloud Platform, and end users saw that their remarks could now be taken into account and tracked over time.

“What have been the different stages of this continuous improvement process?”

Norauto: At the end of a meeting at one of the Norauto centers near Aix-en-Provence, the Determine team showed us the new features and new UI/UX, and provided us with a test platform that was a copy of the production platform where the features that we found interesting were activated.

Then, several discussions took place to improve certain features and refine the settings. Now we are at a point where, among all the features presented, we selected those that presented a real added value for us and that will soon be pushed into our production environment.

“What stood out for you in this approach?”

Norauto: I found this approach to be very good. First of all, the testing is done in a development sandbox environment; there is no modification on their live production environment. Moreover, when a user’s request is unsuccessful, we know why. That allows us to better explain it to them because we have tested it, and that is very important. Finally, it also allows us to project ourselves into the future. For example, with the deployment of phase two (batch two) – the addition of the invoicing module – the new products tested allow us to anticipate future processes as much as possible.

In terms of organization, an annual meeting in person to spend half a day discussing all subjects concerning the platform with Determine is very constructive. We see which projects they are working on and their future orientation and technology roadmap. In exchange, we share our feedback and the way in which our company is changing. It’s collaborative, and that’s how we like to work at Norauto.

“What are your impressions following the arrival of Pascal Honno as Account Manager?”

Norauto: I had a lot of questions following the product changes and needed support implementing Punch-Out and the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Pascal was there, and he helped resolve some challenges with certain suppliers. When I get stuck on specific points and can’t make myself understood, he’s there. He is a good relay between the Determine team and us.

“During our visit, users were able to give their opinion of the tool. What feedback did you get?”

Norauto: Users appreciate being involved in this type of meeting because they can express their thoughts. I often talk to them on the phone, but when I take part in business synergy meetings like these, it allows me to discuss the problems encountered, how they are followed-up, and solutions to get around them if they exist. The users really appreciate this effort.

“What changes do you see in Norauto in how you use the tool?”

Norauto: Beyond breathing life into the platform by managing catalogs and suppliers, my role will tend to evolve after implementing phase two on Invoice Management. At Norauto, we have a team that handles accounting who will take control of the tool, so I will no longer be the only one administering it.

We are also thinking of using Contract Management, which I will take over soon. The fact that we are not deploying all the modules at the same time allows us to gain the perspective needed on how the tool operates as a whole. So, as soon as the Contract Management solution is in place, we will know how to manage it.

“As the sole administrator of the Determine platform today, what can you tell us about it?”

Norauto: Today it is pretty easy to administer. The import/export of Excel files is easily done – it does not take much time. At first I was afraid of spending my time referencing the catalogs, and that is not the case, so I am satisfied. Administering the tool is really easy to learn.

“What do you think of the flexibility of the Determine Cloud Platform? Of its ability to manage complex business processes?”

Norauto: At Norauto, we are not in favor of custom developments, so SaaS allows us a great flexibility. This is a real asset. The platform is not frozen at a specific point in time; it evolves, and we can activate new features according to the evolution of our business needs.

“Could you give us an example of this “flexibility”?”

Norauto: We have few rules of assignment at Norauto. The user sends the majority of requests directly as orders without approval. The Determine Cloud Platform is designed to allow users to create approval rules on requests, orders and other things. We have discovered by creating rules specific to our business needs, the tool easily adapts to our way of working. In three clicks the user can place an order. This is the tool’s real advantage: the ability to easily create business rules that adapt to our processes.

Another example is multi-catalog management. When deploying the tool internally, based on our business we needed two different catalogs with two different price grids. After discussing with Determine and highlighting these constraints, we were pleased to see that they knew how to manage these constraints by activating the multi-catalog feature, which I have been able to test easily.

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