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A lifetime costing tool for paint Specifiers

AkzoNobel – Life Cycle Costing Tool

AkzoNobel is a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. Dulux is AkzoNobel’s leading paint brand in the UK.

AkzoNobel is a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. Dulux is AkzoNobel’s leading paint brand in the UK.


Driving innovation at AkzoNobel with H&C's Colour Schemer and Product Lifecycle framework

Challenge

The AkzoNobel Sales Force use a manual process to calculate the lifetime cost of painting Residential and Commercial Properties. This process is both time consuming and error prone.

Part of this is due to the complex calculation of factors such as labour, redecoration cycles and CO2 output. However, the sales team also loses significant time looking for up to date product specifications and pricing.

This means that lifetime costing cannot be carried out during client consultations. This reduces the impact of those 1 to 1 sessions and delays client conversion.

Further, the completed lifetime calculations are not shareable in an easy to read format. This hampers the Sales team's ability to upsell clients to higher priced, but better performing products.

Solution

Hack and Craft created a web based tool to simplify and streamline the process of calculating lifetime costs.

The tool, which uses Hack and Craft's flexible 'lifecycle toolkit’, provides a step by step journey from Project Details to 30 year cost. The configurable logic then automatically resolves all the complex calculations such as redecoration cycles and CO2. This saves the sales team significant time and reduces the number of errors made.

Integration with AkzoNobel APIs ensures the latest system specifications and pricing are available. While the completed calculations are shareable as PDFs via email with the clients. The styled PDFs include a full breakdown of the lifetime cost, graphs and links to the selected products.

How We Did It

Hack and Craft used our unique four phase agile methodology (Discovery, Development, Roll Out and Continuous Delivery), allowing incremental refinements based on stakeholder and real-world feedback.

At the start of the project we formed an Innovation team comprising key stakeholders, including domain experts who understood the calculations and end-users. The Innovation team took part through each stage of the development process, playing a key role in steering the solution to best market fit.

The Discovery phase included an initial workshop to identify the core user stories, pain points, integrations and data sources that we required.

The Development phase comprised a series of iterative sprints, where we broke down the calculations and remodelled them in the tool. At the end of each sprint Hack and Craft deployed a working version of the tool. This allowed the Innovation team to test, experiment and provide feedback.

During the Roll Out phase we refined the tool to best market fit by conducting Alpha testing and feedback sessions with end users.

In Continuous Delivery Hack and Craft provides a managed service and supports the tool long-term. We also engage with AkzoNobel product owners in monthly steering groups.

Tech

The web frontend uses enables dynamic selection and calculation of lifetime costs for both CO2 and price. The backend infrastructure is based on an extensible micro services architecture.

The 'lifecycle' toolkit APIs include the complex business logic, covering everything from labour rate through to paint spread rates.

Integrations with AkzoNobel APIs enable the real-time product and price information. While a custom data pipeline imports all other data, including regional market information.

Impact

The tool has dramatically reduced the time required to complete each lifetime calculation. This now allows the Sales Force team to conduct the calculations with clients during sales consultations. In addition, the clients have noted the improvements in accuracy, detail and readability of the comparison output.

These elements combined have resulted in higher sales conversions, especially for premium products. This has led to the tool launching globally, with high demand from regional markets.

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Outro

Science and technology are the principal drivers of human progress. The creation of technology is hindered by many problems including cost, access to expertise, counter productive attitudes to risk, and lack of iterative multi-disciplinary collaboration. We believe that the failure of technology to properly empower organisations is due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the software creation process, and a mismatch between that process and the organisational structures that often surround it.