How to successfully compete with multinationals as an SME

Profitsflow | AIBF
Pictured above is Tadhg Henderson, CEO of Profitsflow.

If you are competing for businesses with global players – success will often hinge on your ability to stand out from the crowd…

While some businesses rely on building their customer base through savvy social media marketing and brand positioning campaigns – others will double down on their customer service.

The latter approach has enabled Irish enterprise software solutions business Profitsflow to carve out a niche in the highly competitive manufacturing and field service industries.

The Wexford company has achieved sustained organic growth by enhancing their client experience and customer service offerings.

We spoke to company founder Tadhg Henderson about his unique approach to customer service.

“Word of mouth is huge in Ireland – people talk to each other all the time and most of our customers have already heard about us before they come to us,” he told the All-Ireland Business Foundation.

“We’re not a huge organisation – with a client base extending to about 60 customers we don’t have a massive marketing budget so they haven’t seen us on television ads or anything like that.”

Founded in 2009, Profitsflow specialise in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions designed to streamline and systemise the key functions of a manufacturing company.

Profitsflow’s systems automate key business functions from quotation and sales management, product development, stock control to scheduling of production and people, capacity planning and quality right the way through to purchasing and supply chain planning.

The company is unique in that they offer a fully tailored service and their powerful ERP software can be tweaked to suit the individual needs of their clients.

They also offer a full consultancy service on ERP implementation, project management and training to help their clients get the most out of their software.

This fully customisable model has enabled Tadhg to keep a local feeling in his business – with pre-sales vital to the overall customer experience.

According to Tadhg, the key to a really positive customer experience starts with a pre-sales function that shows – rather than tells – his clients how Profitsflow can help them.

Pictured above is Profitsflow Project Manager Eamon Kelly

“Before going into any detail on our product I try to visit any potential customer,” he explained. “I ask for a walk around their factory and I chat to them about their issues to try to really understand the problems that they’re having.”

“Once I have that information I prepare a presentation that shows how our solution can help them to solve those problems.”

“When we do demos of our products we use examples of them working in our potential customers’ businesses – we show them what they can achieve using our system.”

“A lot of the bigger companies won’t spend their time doing this – they’ll show them generic information and I think that’s true in a lot of industries.”

Profitsflow’s business model is based on supplying “low volume & high value” orders.

They typically service 6-10 new customer projects every year which allows them to dedicate time and support to companies who use their systems.

The result has been steady growth and fantastic feedback from clients.

“For us the customer has to feel supported in their relationship with us – it’s what sets us apart from the competition and allows us to do what we do.” Tadgh says.

Pictured above: the Profitsflow Team pictured outside their Wexford office.

Automation is the key to a well-implemented ERP system. For example, at the press of a button the system can provide a detailed analysis of what materials are needed, when to order them and where to get them from, allowing the user to spend less time collecting and collating information and more time being productive.

A detailed production schedule can be automatically produced taking into account material availability, machine usage and people required including accounting for skill levels. Profitsflow’s success hinges on expert communication with clients.

“In our industry companies often outgrow the systems they have in place. Businesses inevitably change year to year but systems don’t always automatically change with them,” Tadgh explained.

“So what we do is we stay very close to our customers. We build relationships and encourage them to reassess their business at least once every 12 to 18 months.”

“In this way our system grows alongside them and that personal touch is how we’ve managed to compete with the larger solutions in the market.”

“We pick up a lot of business from companies that want to change their systems but we lose very little business ourselves – our growth has been very organic in that sense.”

Profitsflow has achieved Business All-Star Accreditation for the second year in a row and have been named ERP Solution Provider Of The Year again for 2022 by the All-Ireland Business Foundation.

Reacting to the news, Henderson said: “The Profitsflow team were absolutely delighted to achieve Business All-Star Accreditation for the second year in a row.”

“It’s a huge boost for everybody in the business but it’s also a boost in terms of the marketing and the outward visibility of the company.”

The AIBF would like to thank Tadhg Henderson for sharing his valuable lessons and tips with our readers.

For more information on Profitsflow you click the following link:

To learn more about Profitsflow, visit their All-Star showcase page here.