Helping to lead the way

Nominated as a finalist in two categories at the forthcoming G21 Awards, Lincoln-based fabricator Sternfenster is set to launch its lead-to-delivery quotation system, Proposal Builder. Mike Parczuk, managing director of Sternfenster, explains its evolution.

We’ve been in business for 46 years, and we’ve seen plenty of highs and lows in that time, but the last 18 months have been the most challenging period in the company’s history.

From the moment we emerged from the first lockdown, demand has gone through the roof. That’s coincided with a lack of raw materials, constant prices rises, the disruption from Covid, and the chaos of the ‘pingdemic’.

Operating throughout the pandemic has not been easy. We have struggled at times to achieve the high standard of service that we normally expect of ourselves. But despite the challenges, we have worked hard to introduce new initiatives, to improve the level of support for our customers, and to reward and recognise our outstanding workforce.

Also, customer communication has never been more important. This has been achieved by traditional channels such as email and phone but also via our online customer portal, Sternfenster Plus (SF Plus).

Registering over 94,000 page views in the first five months of 2021 alone, SF Plus helped to deliver a genuine step change in customer service, earning us a nomination for Best Service Initiative at the forthcoming G21 Awards, in addition to our nomination in the Best Fabricator category.

SF Plus played a vital role in our ability to be able to open up again after the first lockdown. As well as a regularly updated news feed, our customers use it to check on the status of quotes, contracts and deliveries, and even access a live production capacity feed across our entire PVC and aluminium product range.

It’s proved to be an extremely valuable tool, but it is just one part of a complete package of digital resources that we have developed to enable our customers to operate more effectively and efficiently.

That includes EasyAdmin, our CRM system, and Proposal Builder, which – when fully launched – will help to transform the way our customers do business.

Proposal Builder is an online quotation package that was designed to create a complete cradle-to-grave quote-to-delivery solution.

This starts with a homeowner creating an initial quote by inputting the dimensions of the windows and doors they need – including colour and glazing options – via a customer’s website.

This information, including specific pricing or discounts, is then replicated in the customer’s EasyAdmin system. Proposal Builder then allows an installer to create a digital, branded quotation pack, one that’s tailored precisely to the requirements of the prospect.

Once finalised, Proposal Builder will also include a virtual showroom, allowing homeowners to configure any product in our PVC and aluminium range for colour, hardware or glass specification.

As an online system, the main advantage of Proposal Builder is that it will enable end users to book a survey, pay a deposit, or place an order with just the click of a button.

That order is then transferred to EasyAdmin, and from there it is sent straight into production. The whole process is streamlined – we’re introducing a whole new level of support for our customers.

That’s going to allow them to operate more efficiently, more profitably and, ultimately, put them in a much better position to manage their business going forward.