Teknion adapts its business to embrace new challenges with Salesforce

The COVID-19 lockdown saw nearly all of us forgo our corporate offices for working from home. For a company that specializes in designing stunning office-based workspaces that are optimized for employee wellbeing, this could have been a problem. But not for Teknion.

Rather than being overwhelmed by the challenges, Teknion saw the opportunity to help others, rapidly adapting its business to cope with the new normal under COVID-19. The company re-purposed textile manufacturing plants to make hospital gowns, PPE (personal protective equipment), and non-medical masks. It also successfully migrated 2,000 office-based employees, literally overnight, so they could continue to work productively from home. And it’s all thanks to the company’s ongoing investment in digitalization.

“Our digital transformation has borne fruit with the advent of COVID-19,” confirmed John Comacchio, CIO and Senior Vice President at Teknion. “With a mobile-first strategy and the Salesforce platform, we’ve had the agility to pivot the business and address the challenges resulting from the global pandemic.”

Re-imagining workspaces to keep people safe.

Since 1983, Teknion has focused on transforming the work environment with its versatile and integrated furniture collections, which support workplace wellness while responding to essential human needs and behaviors. The family-owned Canadian company has 20 manufacturing facilities around the world and processes tens of thousands of orders that are manufactured and shipped to customers every year.

Dedicated to innovative and sustainable design, Teknion provides a diverse portfolio of office furnishings, seating, ergonomic accessories, and architectural products. With people gradually starting to return to the workplace, Teknion is now helping its clients re-imagine their office spaces around social distancing, anti-contagion materials, and easy to clean fabrics.

“We help organizations transform their offices by connecting teams, technologies, and spaces,” said Bill McKeown, Vice President of Finance at Teknion. “Although COVID-19 has changed how people use workspaces for the foreseeable future, we’re social beings at heart and the office will continue to have an important role in enabling creative collaboration. With Salesforce, we can bring our innovative approach to more workspaces as people return to them.”


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Taking the complexity out of customized orders.

With around a third of its orders involving customization and billions of possible product combinations, the company originally turned to Salesforce in 2012 to help it take a more simple, centralized approach to sales. “Our sales divisions were using various CRM systems, so there was no global visibility of our corporate accounts and their purchase history,” said Comacchio. “We need to provide all our customers and dealers with a connected and personalized experience.”

Salesforce has enabled the company to achieve a global view of its business and build stronger customer relationships. Sales Cloud is integrated with a number of other systems, which means customer orders, discount schedules, and product inventories can all be accessed through a single dashboard. This not only simplifies the sales cycle but also enables the manufacturing team to run simulations to optimize schedules and predict raw material requirements.

Helping sales teams work faster and smarter.

All updates and documents relating to a specific project or client account are shared via Chatter, which reduces email volumes and increases transparency. “Salesforce has reduced the administration overhead so our people can spend more time talking to customers, which is particularly important at the moment,” said Comacchio. “With Salesforce, sales teams have been able to access customer information just as easily from home as they would in the office.”

With visibility of every product sold to every location across its many corporate accounts, Teknion can help customers maximize their budget by offering accurate discounts and suggesting alternative products.


A well-designed workplace can help colleagues build stronger connections and encourage greater productivity and inclusivity.”

Bill McKeown, Vice President of Finance, Teknion

Online community simplifies collaboration with dealers.

Teknion supports its corporate accounts through a network of global dealers. “We need to ensure that customers receive a seamless experience even if there are 15 different dealers working behind the scenes,” said McKeown. “With Salesforce, we can act as one team to ensure we meet customer service level agreements.” 

Dealers and account teams use Community Cloud to collaborate on quotes, which have to be ready for customers within 24 hours. A second community enables customers to submit statements of work and generate reports.

Providing seamless customer service.

Teknion’s Customer Interaction Center also plays a key role in ensuring a seamless experience for corporate accounts. Every interaction and request is logged via Service Cloud and Chatter and tracked against service level agreements, which feed into quarterly performance reports.

“With Service Cloud, we can build and deliver reports quickly,” said McKeown. “Account managers and company executives can see if there are any outstanding issues, which helps them have more productive conversations with customers.” 

Saving hundreds of hours of admin with easier data input and reporting.

Implementing Salesforce was a key step in Teknion’s digital transformation and supporting its connected customer vision. The company took it up a level with its upgrade to the Lightning platform, which went live in March 2020. And with Einstein seamlessly integrated, the company will begin to better leverage all the data in Salesforce.

“With Lightning, it’s much easier to input and extract data,” explained McKeown. “We took the opportunity to refine fields and optimize our information, which means it’s now 50% easier to log a sales lead.”

Better reporting and greater clarification of processes with Lightning has been crucial for Teknion during lockdown, and potentially saved hundreds of hours work while admin staff have been furloughed.

Helping clients put employee safety first.

Teknion has already started exploring AI and its opportunities to discover valuable business insights, which will be used to help customers make better use of their workspaces and improve the employee experience.

Although the post-pandemic office might look different to how it ever has before, Teknion’s expertise will continue to be crucial to helping its customers achieve their goals. “Employee wellbeing and workforce safety are key drivers for our customers,” said McKeown. “With Salesforce, we’ve been able to weather the storm and we hope to help our customers do so too.”


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