In well-established industries, it is not uncommon to see companies sticking to their old and familiar ways of management. For the distribution and supply of raw materials, this is no exception. However, as companies move more and more of their business online, it follows that a certain amount of modernization needs to be undertaken. It can be a nerve-wracking process instating new software to manage already-active processes. One client came to us voicing that they were interested in trying our software to help one of their teams, in hopes that our software would then be adopted by their other teams. Given their large projects on the horizon, we identified that OneDesk fit their use case for their upcoming projects.

Our client is a steel distributor. They buy coiled steel from both domestic and international mills, and then bring the steel into warehouses or send it off to outside organizations that will process the steel. Our client does not have the physical manufacturing or warehousing space and so their customer base is generally those organizations that aren’t large or sophisticated enough to buy mill-direct and want someone to help them manage that pipeline. Our client moves large volumes of steel and have highlighted that they want to improve their support and project management. The immediate department that they see benefit for is their IT department, which is a small team, as well as a handful of other people who pop in to lend a hand when needed. In the near future, they foresee some large projects coming down the pipeline that their IT team will need to manage. Beyond their IT department, our client also notes that their quality department would benefit from having a system to help them manage incoming customer-reported issues.

One large IT project our client has outlined, is to migrate from their current ERP software to another solution. This is a massive undertaking that has many pieces that need to be captured and not lost in the shuffle. For this project, OneDesk’s project management tool is the perfect solution. By breaking down the project into specific tasks, our client can then track the status of work in OneDesk and ensure everyone on the team is kept in the loop. OneDesk’s project tasks have the concept of followers, which is the set of team members who need to be notified when there are updates. Followers are automatically added to a task if they are the assignee or have left a comment on it, which promotes collaboration between all involved parties. Tasks can also be assigned dependencies between them, which is apparent in one of our default views. This feature is especially useful for projects where some work can be parallelized, but other work depends on each other. It is crucial to capture all of these dependencies and OneDesk can help surface that.

For our client’s quality department, it is not uncommon for them to receive reports around issues in the steel that they have received. In the movement and distribution of material goods, it’s tough to ensure the quality of the goods are not affected along the way, and though distributors do their best, there are bound to be instances where goods are damaged. In some cases, the original product might have had undetected issues, as well. When these reports come in to our client, their quality team starts putting a case together around the problem. This involves organizing documents and managing timelines in order to resolve the case as quickly and thoroughly as possible. To manage these cases, OneDesk’s helpdesk software can be used to capture all incoming cases. With OneDesk’s customer portal, customers can directly log their issues into the OneDesk system without being a member of our client’s organization. Through the customer portal, these customers can see updates and interact with the quality team as they work through cases together. With each case translated into a ticket in OneDesk, our client can add all of their notes and documents onto the ticket itself. No matter how specific the information, our client can set up custom fields to capture every aspect of the case and build reports and views around them. This gives them ultimate visibility into all of the work they tackle in supporting customers, and allows them to see trends over time that they can use to communicate back to their suppliers.

Our client noted that they tend to see repeated tasks in their workflows that recur on a regular basis or between projects. For entire projects that are repeated, OneDesk has the ability to clone projects and all of the tasks within them. We advised our client to set up a template project, complete with template tasks, which can then be cloned for future iterations of the project. At a more granular level, tasks themselves can be cloned, which is useful for common requests that are smaller in scope than a full project. This is a simple solution that will save our client a lot of time in setup and administration.

Although not a default solution offered as part of OneDesk’s suite of tools, our client voiced interest in a knowledge base software that they could use to serve their team with answering common questions. Out of the box, OneDesk does not this tool, but due to the flexibility in our software, the customer portal can in fact be used as a knowledge base. Normally, customer portals are set up for private access; customers only can see the tickets that they themselves have logged. However, OneDesk offers the ability to set the customer portal to be accessed globally. This makes it so users are not limited in the tickets they can see. By setting a new ticket type for knowledge base articles, the customer portal can be set to display just the articles published to the knowledge base. The only caveat to this is that our client would no longer be able to have a traditional customer portal for their customers to log issues, but depending on the workflows they want to implement, this isn’t necessarily a problem.

Our client’s IT team is not particularly large, however it can be difficult to track who exactly worked on what and how much time was spent across tasks. Once our client’s IT department starts tracking their work in OneDesk, it is easy for them to set up a dashboard or view to see this breakdown. By creating a custom view filtered to just completed tasks, our client can then group by the assignee. This view can then be saved and our client can even turn certain columns on or off in order to further refine the data displayed. OneDesk also offers exporting of views to standard spreadsheet formats so our client can dig further into the data.

In terms of project management and helpdesk software, OneDesk is a solid and fully-featured solution that enforces no limits on the scope of problems that can be tackled. Beyond these two key pieces of software, OneDesk also offers a breadth of configurations that our client can use to tailor their teams’ experiences. From custom ticket types to integrations with other software, OneDesk offers flexibility in virtually every area of its product suite.

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