Increasing Marketing Efficiencies and Collaboration
Behr Process Corporation is one of the largest suppliers of architectural paint and exterior wood care products to the United States and Canada. With timetables to keep, materials to ship, and signage to be installed for its annual rolling road show, the Behr marketing team needed a way to operate more efficiently and stay on task even when multiple events are taking place.
"It’s been a tremendous help for me when I’m reporting to the executive team. I can easily show the task lists that demonstrate that the team has thought through every detail for each event. For my team it is a big time and money saver since anyone can jump in, view the status of the project, and provide assistance if necessary."
Helping Professional Contractors Get The Job Done
Today Behr focuses on two key markets, consumers and professional contractors. The contractors market is a mix of painters, property managers, and builders. It is such an important part of the business that Behr has a dedicated marketing team that focuses on new product launches, website development, public relations events, and other activities that support the needs of professional contractors.
One example of the programs that this team focuses on is the Behr Pro Experience Tour, a program to help connect the widespread audience of professional contractors. This annual cross-country event consists of visits to over 75 markets in 34 states with five separate tour teams. The Behr Pro Marketing team is responsible for planning and promoting activities at over 500 locations at The Home Depot. There are timetables to keep, materials to ship, signage to be installed, and a consistent look and feel must be present throughout each of the events – it takes an enormous amount of time and effort to coordinate so many activities.
When Lisa Kudukis joined Behr in 2011 as the director of professional products and services, the marketing team was using spreadsheets to manage all of these activities. It wasn't working for the fast-paced group, often on the road.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced was keeping the team informed about each event—what worked, what didn’t work, upcoming deliverables or deadlines, follow-up… you name it. The Behr Pro Experience Tour was not the only initiative the team worked on. Each of the team members had other initiatives running parallel, and silos of information sometimes formed. If there was a last minute problem and the project owner wasn’t available, nobody on our team could step in to fix the problem,” explained Kudukis.
Another weakness which hampered Kudukis’ productivity was the fact that her 11 direct reports each provided her with their own project information in their individual spreadsheets. That meant that when she created an overall team report for upper management, she would have to open and review 11 different documents that were not standardized in the same format. She also ran into version control issues which meant that she couldn’t be sure if she was viewing the most up to date information. As her frustration grew she realized that a change was needed.
“We were using Microsoft Excel to manage team-wide activities but that only helped us capture a static moment in time. What we needed was a collaborative tool that could keep us up to date on all activities and deadlines, provide a consistent format for how we tracked and managed activities, and present all the information I needed to generate reports for the corporate team. It needed to be easy to use to help us stay on top of the ever-changing details of each activity as well as give us a holistic view of everything we were managing. That’s quite a tall order for one tool,” said Kudukis.
Share and Share Alike
As she set out to find a better solution, Kudukis identified key features that that had to be included:
It had to be easy to use and intuitive for the team to adopt
Supporting information for each event needed to be added as attachments
A cloud-based solution that would allow her team to log on from anywhere and make updates in real-time
After examining a number of options, Kudukis selected Smartsheet as the team’s project management tool. First, the team got together to develop a template that everyone could use for tracking activities. This meant that every project would have the same look and feel which would make it easy to update.
Next, she created a Master Dashboard that features information about key initiatives from each of her direct reports. Cells with critical data, such as status information, are linked directly to the team members' individual sheets, so information is automatically updated as the team makes changes (learn more about cell linking in Smartsheet). Now everything is in one convenient place, giving Kudukis the holistic view of all projects that she was looking for.
As Kudukis explained, “It’s been a tremendous help for me when I’m reporting to the executive team. I can easily show the task lists that demonstrate that the team has thought through every detail for each event. Plus, anyone on the management team can drill down, and view documents at any time if they want to find out what we’re doing. For my team it is a big time and money saver since anyone can jump in, view the status of the project, and provide assistance if necessary. It also helps us to identify opportunities or obstacles for new business development.”
The benefits that Kudukis and her team have seen since adopting Smartsheet include:
Fast adoption due to ease of use, leading to increased ROI
Rising collaboration, productivity, and efficiency
Simplified reporting, troubleshooting and budget management
Kudukis is quick to point out that the team is just scratching the surface of the many uses of Smartsheet. For instance she is planning to start using Smartsheet for budgeting purposes. In addition, other teams within Behr, including the Logistics team, have started using Smartsheet as well proving once again that word-of-mouth promotion and the collaborative nature of the solution can help gain a lot of attention within a large organization like Behr.