German honing machine manufacturer uses AppSource to optimize customer engagement and project management



An internal combustion engine has many moving parts, but the cylinder plays a critical role in propelling a car down the road. And to machine these cylinders, carmakers around the world rely on the honing machines and services of the Gehring Group, based in Ostfildern, Germany.

At any given time, Gehring is building honing machines for customers worldwide, a process that takes roughly a year and needs ongoing support onsite to ensure the customer has a solid understanding of how to use the equipment.

Gehring is known for its innovation, and the quality and precision of its machines. But many processes related to customer relationship management and project management were done manually and were disconnected operationally. 

Different teams were looking for tools to help them manage customer data, track service requests, and to manage projects for building machines on a global scale. 

Dr. Marcus Sauer, Project Manager Lean Management, and his team created a list of 20 potential solution providers who offered solutions that could fit their needs. But evaluating the solutions to find the right one was challenging and required a lot of manual research online. 

That is when the team discovered Microsoft AppSource, which features an extensive library of third-party line of business SaaS apps, including proRM Fast Start, a resource and project management solution that is built on Dynamics 365, a huge benefit as it also helps address the company's need for a connected CRM system.

After using the free trial of proRM Fast Start, they worked directly with software vendor and experienced Microsoft Partner, proMX GmbH, to learn more about the app's functionality, which includes time and expense tracking, approval management, project planning, and invoicing features, and even identified new areas of improvements.

Gehring is now in the first phase of deploying Dynamics 365 for Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing for the locations in Shanghai, Detroit, and Ostfildern. In 2018, the company plans to roll out proRM Fast Start to help approximately 170 employees more easily manage customer data, quotes, customer service requests, and manage projects, all in one connected solution. proMX, a leading worldwide Dynamics 365 partner, which currently offers six Dynamics apps on AppSource, will assist the company in the implementation.

By trying an app on AppSource, Gehring was able to discover solutions that work together, connect with the solution provider, review their business challenges, identify other areas that could be improved, and design a flexible, agile, and connected solution.

Sauer is hopeful this is just the beginning of a wave of continued innovation, such as a solution powered by the Internet of Things and machine learning that could help predict when its honing tools need to be serviced.

“We're never done looking for new apps to implement or new ways to improve how we do things. AppSource is proving itself a valuable resource as we identify additional needs and develop a list of priorities for the future.”

To learn more, visit AppSource and browse the catalogue of more than 2,700 apps.