Q. What kind of operations do you use Questetra for?
We, Vital Information, Inc. develop system integration, cloud integration, and embedded software development.
We use Questetra for contracted developments and order approvals of System Engineering Services (SES).
For order approvals around 8 representatives from the sales (applicant), general affairs, accounting, and technical departments, including department heads, are involved and the president makes final approval.
Orders submitted by the sales representative are given a rank for approval: S, A, B, etc. The rank (according to the level of profitability) is automatically evaluated based on evaluation criteria such as the contract period, unit price, and profit margin. The president, as the final approver, considers the competence of the issue based on the rank and approves the orders. After approval, we will move on to the procedure for concluding the contract.
Q. What did you struggle with in the order approval process?
Before installing Questetra we created order acceptance forms with spreadsheet software and printed them for use. Our staff in the administration department filed the forms and kept them in a storage locker for five years, which resulted in printing, filing, and storage costs. In addition, looking for past forms took a lot of time and effort.
The approval rank was defined by our staff in the accounting department, which required time and effort to refer to past order approval forms and review the definition of their approval ranks. For other evaluation criteria our departments didn’t have any clear criteria for acceptance and approval so the quality of forms was uneven.
We didn’t prepare a manual for the documents attached to the order approval form, so that made it difficult for the involved parties to share a common understanding of which documents should be attached. In addition, we didn’t visualize the operational progress next to the order approval, which consequently took a lot of time and effort to ascertain whether the approved contracts had been successfully concluded.
Q. How did you solve your challenges after installing Questetra?
We use Questetra for order approval. We have succeeded in making applications and contracts for approximately 500 applications a year paperless, therefore cost for printing and places for storage are never needed. In addition to that, the printing and filing of documents for storage, which used to be performed by the administration department, has been eliminated. We have made the stored data downloadable as a CSV file for ease of searching. These efforts enable us to reduce our monthly working hours by approximately 20 hours.
We have applied approval ranks to the evaluation criteria for issues that were unclear in each department, which allows us to see whether the issue is good or bad at a glance. Regarding the approval ranks, they are automatically assigned based on a preset rule when the applicant enters a numerical value such as the estimated amount. In addition to that, we provide items as criteria for approval on the approval screen, making it easier to make decisions.
In contracted developments, we often make sales several months in advance. With Questetra, we can accumulate the scheduled sales data, which consequently makes us able to forecast sales and other issues.
We use Salesforce as our mission-critical system. With Questetra, we import the customer and employee master information provided in Salesforce to make them available as an option on the process screen. Therefore, when you apply for a job on Questetra, you can choose from the options for the input items, such as customer information and employee information, thus preventing variations in the input.
Since the attachments to the order acceptance form are clearly shown on the application/approval screen in Questetra, all our staff can share a common understanding. We have also incorporated the process to complete the receipt of contracts and purchase orders into the workflow. This visualizes the entire operation from order application to contract to easily understand the contract conclusion.
Q. What are you planning to do via Questetra in the future?
We are planning to simplify our order review operations.
In the current flow of order review operations, all relevant parties have to check all applications. However, for example, we set the flow so that those who are in a higher position than department heads do not check applications with a high approval rank to shorten the time required to approve an application. By such simplification of the workflow, we plan to further improve our operations.