For Trailblazing design and fabrication company ASTOUND,
collaboration is everything. It’s key to driving the quality, creativity, and innovation behind its delivery of state-of the art exhibits, events, and environments around the world. By embracing a culture of collaboration, its architects, designers, fabricators, installers, and project managers draw on their shared expertise to bring to life award-winning solutions for their clients in the ever-changing global marketplace. With ASTOUND’s belief in creating what is next, it strives to re-imagine brand experiences at scale. By working with Salesforce, ASTOUND has been able to unlock the capability to partner with its clients to push collaborative boundaries and innovate beyond status quo.
“Collective solutions are our best solutions,” said ASTOUND’s Head of Technology, Steven Chia. “Our clients come to us to help them realize their vision and goals. But they don’t want us to just create a solution; they want us to help with the art and science of what design thinking can do to bring ideas to a reality. Using Salesforce, our internal experts and clients can collaborate more easily and effectively every step of the way to unleash every brand’s potential.”
Turning cutting-edge creative concepts into reality extends far beyond traditional means; ASTOUND has leveraged Salesforce’s open API to create an online community to offer its clients self-service capabilities to manage their smaller events, so they can focus on the larger ones. All the information and workflows, such as ordering assets, checking upcoming events, and liaising with design teams, are managed directly in Salesforce.
“It’s really opened new doors to collaboration - our clients are fully in control of viewing and booking assets to support their upcoming events. With project delivery spanning from two weeks to six months, being able to timely respond to clients’ requests and give them the convenience they need are largely important,” explained Chia. “Our ability to adapt and build personalized digital solutions that cater to our clients’ needs quickly is what sets us apart from our competitors in this fast-paced industry. Salesforce has been an important digital transformation partner in delivering this experience.”
“Without Salesforces’ open API, we would be spending six months to a year building the integration between Salesforce and the Client Portal. Now, we’re able to focus on building fruitful relationships, driving meaningful opportunities and really bringing authentic customer service to life.”
“Our ability to adapt and build personalized digital solutions that cater to our clients’ needs quickly is what sets us apart from our competitors in this fast-paced industry. Salesforce has been an important digital transformation partner in delivering this experience.”
ASTOUND’s work is as creatively accomplished as it is varied. It’s created ambitious art installations, architectural projects, and jaw-dropping interactive activations and brand experiences for some of the largest companies such as Nike, Porsche, GoPro, Google, Nvidia, Disney, and Mastercard.
From pitch to completion, projects are managed in Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Chatter, giving visibility of the process for everyone from executives down. “Salesforce is at the heart of everything we do: sales, marketing, accounts, design, logistics, operations. It’s enabled us to break down departmental silos and work collectively to deliver unique solutions and stunning results for our clients. With a centralized platform, we can formulate an effective strategy and develop a clear understanding of our client’s objectives and project goals. From there, our team has been able to seamlessly incorporate engagement, awareness, and educational pieces into activations to drive meaningful opportunities,” said Chia.
With such broad usage, it’s not surprising that the Canadian-based global design and fabrication company has adopted the phrase ‘if it’s not in Salesforce, it didn’t happen’. “Salesforce gives us transparency. It incentivizes people to perform at an even higher caliber,” explained Chia, who joined ASTOUND in 2015, with a vision to extend the use of Salesforce to support the company’s rapid expansion.
And the numbers show that Chia has fulfilled his task. In 2015, ASTOUND had around 100 employees and operated out of two production facilities and three offices. The group now employs almost 250 people and has five sites across Canada and the US, spanning more than 450,000 square feet of production facilities.
“We have revolutionized our business with Salesforce, allowing us to work faster and smarter and enabling us to be a driving force in the industry,” said Chia. “We are now one of the most recognized in the industry within North America with over 350 happy clients and authentic relationships.”
ASTOUND has also developed its own apps to enhance efficiency and visibility across the business. “Because the Salesforce platform is so versatile, we can build applications more quickly that respond to evolving and growing client and business needs,” added Chia.
As ASTOUND grows, the growing demand for transparency becomes more important. Take ASTOUND’s newest facility, which encompasses 350,000 square feet of production and warehouse space in Las Vegas. The facility boasts cutting-edge machinery and processes, and acts as a major fulfillment hub for events, exhibitions, and installations around the world.
Having a system that keeps an up to date inventory and allows easy navigation of such a vast site is crucial. “It’s the largest facility in our industry,” said Chia. “We want to use Salesforce and robotics to help streamline the manufacturing process and logistics. By introducing more automation, we will not only be able to improve product and service quality, but also create more room for future growth.”
To make sure its people make the most of Salesforce, ASTOUND uses Trailhead for training company-wide. “Trailhead is absolutely amazing. It has helped to ramp up the team’s skills quickly and provided them with an environment to construct and test out new ideas” said Chia. “What better way to progress than to learn through practical experience.”
By skilling up on Salesforce, ASTOUND’s teams have been able to leverage the platform’s best-in-class reports and dashboards to its full potential. “Everyone refers to their dashboards during meetings – they are powerful and loaded with insights. They enable us to identify gaps and business opportunities, so we can develop strategies to better manage active projects, sales opportunities, customer relationships, procurement and overall operations at scale,” added Chia.
In an age where data-driven insights fuel design thinking and collaboration, Salesforce plays a large part of ASTOUND’s backbone in delivering world-class design and fabrication processes. “The transparency and flexibility that Salesforce gives us to work closely internally and externally with our clients is unparalleled,” said Chia. As ASTOUND continues to deliver unforgettable brand experiences, it’s excited to continue its partnership with Salesforce to uncover and build what’s next.
“To create the unexpected and surpass the ordinary, it’s about learning what the Salesforce platform can do and putting our creative minds together to drive innovative solutions that accelerate growth and help shape the future.”
Steven Chia, Head of Technology, ASTOUND