How Gulf Marine saved $800,000 by orchestrating across IT and Customer Service

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Gulf Marine is an established marine lubricant supplier to the global shipping industry, supplying marine lubricants and services in more than 1000 ports across 80 countries. 

The company’s focus on customers fuelled rapid growth in the highly dynamic marine services industry. As the company grew, they were challenged to rethink how they could scale in a way that elevates both customer and employee experience. 

The challenge of task-based automation

To do more with less, Gulf Marine needed to do away with unsustainable manual approaches to complex processes. Staff were caught up with importing business-critical data from a complex ERP and toggling between Excel sheets. Their lean IT team in Asia was bottlenecked by having to manually address the overwhelming support needs of employees globally.

Gulf Marine’s CEO, David Price, and their technology team, led by Joey Chua, realised that the traditional approach to automating specific tasks would not work in the highly dynamic marine services industry. They needed a way to integrate workflows end-to-end and deliver a differentiated, easy-to-use experience for business stakeholders.

The search for a holistic orchestration tool

With the bigger picture in mind, David and Joey teamed up and created a roadmap to modernise Gulf Marine’s technology stack, migrate their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and increase agility and efficiency.

They had stringent requirements for a comprehensive solution that empowered them with full visibility on all application and data integrations. They also needed robust governance and controls in place to centralise integrations. 

Gulf Marine selected Workato because the platform not only ticked their boxes, it also empowered them to pioneer a cutting-edge orchestration strategy, one that unified automation and integration. This allowed Gulf Marine to tap into the complementary strengths of both IT and business teams, building an operating model that supports both sides.

Joey Chua Headshot

Workato stood out for its ease of use, ability to quickly deliver the impact we needed, and excellent customer service.” 

-Joey Chua, Director of Digital and IT Transformation, Gulf Marine

Building end-to-end automations

Gulf Marine first used Workato’s Workbot to automate an IT support process. This soon expanded to include integrations with their ERP to automate business-critical customer service processes like quotations and planning. 

1. Self-Service Portal

Gulf Marine’s IT team built this automation to empower global ERP users to automatically terminate a “stuck” ERP session and continue work, without having to wait for IT to reset the session. Here’s how it works:

  • A user initiates a request on MS Teams to terminate a stuck ERP session.
  • Workato searches for the stuck ERP session and terminates it.
  • The user receives a notification on MS Teams that the session was terminated.

Self-service workflow, built in just 2 days

2. Automated Pricing Tool

Gulf Marine’s Customer Service team partnered IT to automate the pricing quotation process for customer service representatives to get accurate quotations done faster. Here’s how it works:

  • Customer service receives a customer enquiry on Outlook.
  • Workato checks ERP for key pricing considerations.
  • Workato creates quotation and cost calculation on a custom quotation app.
  • Workato routes quotation to sales for approval.

3. Automated Barge Planning File Updates

This automation dynamically updates Gulf Marine’s barge planning file so that customer service and supply chain can seamlessly plan when and what to transport on barges. Here’s how it works:

  • Customer Service confirms Sales Order and routes to Supply Chain to arrange delivery.
  • Workato retrieves Sales Order details from ERP.
  • Workato checks Marine Traffic API for vessel estimated time of arrival (ETA) to the local port.
  • Workato updates MS Excel with Sales Order details and vessel ETA.

Significant time and cost savings

Now, with their automated IT and Customer Service workflows, Gulf Marine is able to:

  • Get quotations done 30% faster by cutting out 4 manual steps.
  • Save 2,000 hours of manual work every month, or almost $800,000 annually.
  • Build automated workflows in days and weeks instead of months.
  • Empower process experts in customer service to build and maintain automations alongside IT.
  • Enhance employee experience by removing IT bottlenecks and manual data imports.

The future of automation at Gulf Marine

Gulf Marine’s success with Workato has paved the way for future projects across IT, Customer Service, and HR functions. The partnership is poised to extend into the realm of SAP migration, as Gulf Marine orchestrates the way towards a future-ready technology stack, without compromising on the experience of business users.