Case Study: There is no love sincerer than the love of food

Case study Hawkins Watts there is no love sincerer than the love of food

Made famous by George Bernard Shaw, this is particularly true for New Zealand company Hawkins Watts who distributes over 2000 food ingredients. Representing many of the world’s leading food ingredient manufacturers in New Zealand and Australia, they have been in business for over 25 years. However, Hawkins Watts was faced with an IT challenge.

How do they share data so employees in New Zealand and Australia can work collaboratively to solve customer problems? We talk to Natasha Sabatier, Marketing Manager at Hawkins Watts and Dalia Raphael, CRM Director for Sable37, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM specialists who Hawkins Watts engaged to create and deploy an online centralised system.

“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast” –Alfred A. Montapert

Natasha Sabatier says that Hawkins Watts recognised they need to streamline and systemise their platforms across New Zealand and Australia, using a holistic enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. “The business of food ingredients is incredibly complex and requires expert knowledge. We needed to create a single source of information, so our application specialists can design better products and our sales people can make better recommendations to our customers.” 

Sabatier explained that with the old systems, information was dispersed across different applications, meaning staff had to hunt down data. “This made both simple tasks like auto-generating addresses in quotes; and complex ones – such as or understanding product life cycles, quite difficult.” 

Dalia Raphael from Sable37 said they were challenged with creating a single system to support teams on both sides of the Tasman and deliver a consistent experience to Hawkins Watts’ customers, suppliers and business partners.

Why Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Hawkins Watts was already using a 2011 version of Dynamics, but unfortunately it had not been implemented in a way to get the full benefit from the product. The decision was made to upgrade to Dynamics 365 so their CRM platform would be online and accessible anywhere.

Dalia said “we involved Hawkins Watts staff right from the start so we could understand how they wanted the system to work and to build trust from the users.”

Sable37 also suggested integrating Dynamics CRM with the Hawkins Watts financial system. “We looked at it from a business point of view so we could understand how the technology could support their business model”, said Dalia.

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” –James Beard

Using Microsoft Dynamics 365, Hawkins Watts will have all their food ingredient information in a central location, enabling easy access so they can respond to customers quickly. Dalia thinks this single source of the truth will have significant impact on the business. “The number one thing it will do is standardise the sales process and the product life cycle. It will also reduce human error and the new version is already perceived as a lot more trustworthy.”

“It’s great to have a system that has been personalised and streamlined, which ultimately improves business performance,” says Dalia.

Both teams talk favourably about the partnership. Natasha says “I feel like it’s been a complete partnership where Sable37 has really understood what we want to achieve. Their team is excellent, with very strong communication and project management skills, guiding us each step of the way. They’ve enabled us to get the maximum benefit from our investment in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.”

Dalia agrees. “It’s been a wonderful partnership. The team at Hawkins Watts have worked hard to follow our recommendations of change management. We’ve all had this journey together and it feels like much more than a vendor–customer relationship.”

For businesses considering investing in technology, Natasha recommends choosing a trusted and reliable implementation partner. “We found that we were more confident implementing systems with Sable37. With their practical approach and experienced team, we are set up to achieve our business goals effectively,” she adds.


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