Streamlining PPE distribution with Fusion5 and Dynamics 365 Marketing
“Working with Fusion5, we came up with a solution for PPE distribution within hours. That’s much faster than it would have been without using Dynamics 365 to capture and consolidate client information.”Neil Browning, General Manager of Product, Platform, and Data at Manawanui
When COVID-19 struck communities across New Zealand and the world, organisations everywhere had to adapt rapidly to an ever-changing situation.
Manawanui, which makes a positive difference to the lives of nearly 4,500 New Zealanders with disabilities, found itself under immense pressure to ensure its clients were both well informed on the pandemic and protected from it – and fast.
As New Zealand's leading facilitator of self-directed funding, Manawanui enables its clients to control how, when and who delivers their in-home and in-community support.
Manawanui ensures everyone follows applicable regulations, and provides its clients with an administrative framework to oversee the likes of payroll, hiring, and training. And the organisation runs like a well-oiled machine.
However, as COVID-19 became a global and national concern, Manawanui had no time to waste to provide its clients with accurate information on the pandemic.
Not only did Manawanui need to identify - and educate - potentially vulnerable clients, it also had to rapidly ascertain who needed personal protective equipment (PPE). Time was of the essence as Manawanui had to collect and collate this information, and then organise delivery of PPE to client homes as quickly as possible.
The question, though, was how?
“This wasn’t something we’ve had to do before,” says Neil Browning, General Manager of Product, Platform, and Data at Manawanui. “We have a really challenging customer base made up of individuals in their homes, as far spread as Stewart Island. It was going to be a huge logistical challenge, cost a lot and be difficult and messy - but we were determined to do it. I guess that reflects the kind of organisation that we are.”
Browning says District Health Boards (DHBs) across the country were initially tasked with delivering PPE through the health system, which included Manawanui. Delays in procurement prompted Manawanui to proactively source and directly import the equipment needed for its clients.
Manawanui started its Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement journey with Fusion5 in 2017, and rapidly embraced the potential of the wider Dynamics 365 solution stack including the Marketing and the Power Platform.
While Manawanui had applied the initial set up of Dynamics 365 Marketing into its environment, it planned to fully mobilise it at a later date. In the meantime, it relied on a legacy marketing app for day-to-day communication with clients.
However, the same-day deadline issued by the Department of Health for the first part of the COVID-19 campaign prompted Manawanui to immediately reach out to Fusion5 for help.
Manawanui fleetingly considered using the old marketing application to manage the first stage of the campaign. However, being assured by the Fusion5 team it was achievable, Manawanui took a leap of faith and decided to rather leverage the wide-ranging capabilities of Dynamics 365 Marketing for the entire campaign from the outset.
Fusion5 came back with a solution within hours, and not long after, the first stage of the Dynamics 365 Marketing campaign was successfully sent to Manawanui’s client base - on time.
This joint effort enabled Manawanui to quickly distribute PPE to help protect its most vulnerable clients. It was also able to influence and support the efforts of the Ministry of Health to distribute PPE nationwide.
“Delivering PPE to thousands of clients is not the sort of thing we normally do, and it was a daunting task,” says Neil Browning. “But we used Dynamics 365 Marketing to centralise clients’ data, create a survey to determine their PPE needs, tabulate thousands of responses, and send all necessary delivery details to our PPE distribution partners.
“Working with Fusion5, we came up with a solution for PPE distribution within hours. That’s much faster than it would have been without using Dynamics 365 to capture and consolidate client information.”
The scale of the project was overwhelming. “We had to do everything at once,” says Browning. “Fusion5 worked closely with our CRM development lead to build, test and send the forms, and pull the PPE order requirements together. While Dynamics 365 Marketing may have initially cost us more than using our old marketing application, it saved us a huge amount of time and the whole process was much more efficient.”
This was critical during lockdown where phone traffic to Manawanui’s support centre increased four-fold, and staff were under immense pressure.
Manawanui was also able to provide internal and partner stakeholders with clear views of the centralised data using dashboards and reports in Power BI, part of the Microsoft Power Platform.
Manawanui maintains a forward-looking approach to technology, and the pandemic revealed just how vital that is.
“We’ve undertaken a digital transformation journey at Manawanui. Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform play a big part in that,” says Browning. “Our COVID-19 response has shown we can scale as needed, quickly create new processes, and have a high level of confidence in the Microsoft platform underneath it all.”
Dynamics 365 Marketing is set to play an increasingly significant role at Manawanui. “We are still getting to grips with it,” says Browning. “We are constantly using new functions like forms and are now starting to look at utilising its Event Management capabilities.”
Manawanui aims to dramatically increase its business volume, adds Browning. This ambitious goal will be supported by several significant projects with Fusion5, including enabling product automation in Dynamics, and a bespoke add-on application which works with its Power App fees engine (also built by Fusion5). “Our fees engine is a core piece of intellectual property in our business, and the product enablement will work with it to further automate the client billing process.”
Browning has appreciated having Fusion5’s on-call skill and experience, especially in Manawanui's hour of need. “Fusion5’s consultants know what they are doing, it was quickly apparent to me that they are very good at what they do.”