Customised systems increasing productivity at Makita

Makita New Zealand, based in Auckland, imports and distributes electric power tools. A subsidiary of Makita Corporation of Japan, it’s been operating in New Zealand since 1961, and has established itself as a major player in the power tools market.

Makita NZ supplies to dealers in the power tool trade all over the country. These dealers, along with customers who purchase Makita’s products, contact Makita with orders, inquiries, issues and claims. This results in a daily influx of hundreds of emails requiring responses, sometimes from Makita directly, and other times from the relevant dealer.

Sam Rakei, who leads Makita’s Customer Service Operations, shares how Spark’s IT Partners network provided the solution they needed to manage their volumes of emails.

Sam’s team handles 500 or more emails each day. The biggest challenge was that the team relied solely on Outlook to manage these cases. This resulted in the development of elaborate rules, filters and multi-step workarounds to accommodate an insurmountable number of emails. According to Sam, the team had at least 20 steps to follow for each order that came in, resulting in a time-consuming, inefficient process.

Sales reps felt limited by what Outlook could help them achieve. Tiresome, manual processes threatened to impact their customers by slowing response times, especially in the lead up to their peak trading period of November and December. Sam knew a solution was necessary, but he was cautious of becoming “trapped” in a temporary solution. Whatever the solution, it needed to be a long-term fit.

Based in Hobsonville, Makita’s relationship with Spark Business Hub Waitakere reinforced the value of the local Spark Business Hub model. The owner, Mike, alongside one of his senior Account Managers, worked with Makita to explore the issue. Through the expertise of Hub Waitakere, Makita were introduced to iT360 to create a solution.

Introducing Sam to David Wilson, iT360’s CEO, was a crucial event. Without it, Sam’s team could still be caught in the maelstrom of Outlook limitations, or, worse, have implemented a costly system that couldn’t guarantee a solution to their core issues.

What IT360 proposed, instead, was a customised solution for Makita, using Zoho Desk. Sam reveals that he felt reassured that there were endless possibilities with Zoho, due to its ability to be adapted for future changes.

Zoho Desk helped Makita save time and become more efficient, reducing the 20-step process to just three steps. What used to take 10 minutes now takes just 10 seconds. Though happening during their busiest month of the year, the platform switch still enabled them to break sales records without disrupting their operations.

“It’s made us more efficient and effective,” Sam says. Time that was previously lost to administrative and repetitive work is now dedicated to areas that add further value, such as gathering insights and proactively tackling issues before they become problems.

As an example, Sam explains, “[Let’s say] we receive XYZ inquiries from this one customer asking us the same thing many times. Maybe they need a bit more training in regard to this particular product because they don’t understand. I didn’t have that option before, where now, I do.”

Makita’s experience is a notable example of the benefits that can be achieved when a business engages their local Spark Business Hub to work through all their technology needs, to find the right software, and the right technology partner.