Suomalainen Kirjakauppa wanted a turnkey solution for organising its events. SMT offered to help.
Late last year, Suomalainen Kirjakauppa faced the same situation where several others have been as well: the company no longer had the in-house resources for organising events. – We had to decide whether we should purchase our own tool for managing the registration of attendance and assign a person responsible for it or outsource our event management, explains Administration Director Pirjo Hämäläinen.
Now, SMT and Suomalainen Kirjakauppa have worked together in two event projects, and the companies are planning a sales meeting for this autumn. The collaboration covers a wide range of events: from arranging training for all personnel to hosting a dinner with entertainment for the core team at the end of the fiscal year.
Early this year, Suomalainen Kirjakauppa trained all of its Finnish salespersons in active customer service. The company handled the programme and visual design of the trainings internally, but SMT took care of practically everything else: arranging the venues, managing registrations via the event website, confirmations, keeping in contact with the instructors and collecting feedback after the trainings.
– Sometimes I was very glad that I do not even have to know anything about how the registrations are managed, Pirjo says, laughing. – When you train nearly 500 people in 7 different localities, it is not easy to stay on top of everything. There are bound to be changes in attendance. Previously, we would have handled the changes manually by email.
Now, the event management and arrangements down to the smallest detail are in the hands of SMT’s Event Manager Pia Höckert. – Knowing that everything will be taken care of gives me peace of mind, Pirjo says. – Through our collaboration, even with large events, I only have one point of contact for arranging every detail. Pia takes care of the due dates and reminds me, when necessary. The services are invoiced through one location as agreed, which saves our financial administration’s time and effort.
Suomalainen Kirjakauppa has also implemented SMT’s event portal. It collects all the information about the company’s events: the submitted orders and offers, the budgets for completed events and event feedback. Cost tracking also helps the company budget for its future events. There are also plans to add other indicators which support the company’s goals.
– We started off really quickly, but everything has worked out well, Pirjo confirms. – Of course, first you need to be able to justify outsourcing event management and convince the top management of the benefits. You should also note how much of your own time you have to spend on event arrangements compared to a turnkey solution that enables you to focus on your core competence.
– We have only had good experiences and news travels fast throughout our group. The dinner event to celebrate the end of the fiscal year made a positive impression on the other guests as well.
– Sometimes you need to boldly take that step ahead and do things differently, Pirjo explains. And laughs cheerfully.
Suomalainen Kirjakauppa is the Finnish market leader in book retail. The chain was founded more than 100 years ago and is part of Otava Group. Otava Group is the third largest graphic communication publisher in Finland. The chain includes 58 Suomalainen Kirjakauppa stores in approximately 40 locations and the online book store at www.suomalainen.com. The company has a turnover of €108 million, of which book sales comprise approximately 70% and office supplies, calendars, calculators, paper supplies, games and web products comprise approximately 30%. The company employs some 500 people.
Suomalainen Kirjakauppa is a multi-channel book store which provides active service with a smile and offers experiences as well as modern quality products for learning, personal development and free time.