The BVi Group is a multi-disciplinary engineering firm that prides itself on offering traditional consulting services in civil, structural, electrical and mechanical engineering. Their team of 300+ professionals strive to deliver engineering excellence to private and public sector clients throughout Africa. The organisation operates out of 14 offices within South Africa and 4 international offices in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Moving from paper-based to paper-less
The BVi Group were quite a traditional firm. Prior to using Mail Manager the company was fully paper-based, which brought its complications. Michael van Niekerk, Office Manager, Mechanical Engineer and Director at The BVi Group's Springbok and Namakwaland offices described the initial operations as, "Starting from 1967 and being paper-based, and having older engineers used to the smell of blueprints on desks and letters in the mail type of communication, it takes a while to adjust to the modern type of communication correspondence."
Like many others in the AEC space, the firm needed to ensure that all business communications were retained and available. Michael explained that this was easy to file in the days of letters, however, when they moved over to email, important emails were printed and filed. As you can imagine, this takes up a great deal of space, so they moved to filing all information on their server.
Michael described their process as "quite a lengthy and cumbersome process. Once you've filed the email they are still in your Outlook inbox filling that up and not giving other people access to that email."
"For me personally, one of the biggest issues was the fact that it was such a pain getting these emails in a central place accessible to everybody. When I was a project engineer, I didn't understand it but now as an office manager, I understand how important it is to easily access all emails."
Michael initially came across Mail Manager due to his frustration in being unable to file and locate project information easily. He resulted in setting up many Outlook rules to automatically move emails into Outlook Folders, and he quickly found a software online that would move these emails onto their server. Even still, Michael commented, "It was very manual, and the system was still dependent on me doing the effort."
Michael was introduced to Mail Manager by a colleague and undertook a free trial. "I downloaded the trial version and tried it out for a few days. And not after a week, but two hours, I was sold on it. I was the biggest promoter of Mail Manager."
Implementing Mail Manager throughout BVi
Michael was a champion user of Mail Manager, but the firm still needed to look at other suppliers. The BVi Group found that while other providers had similar functionality, they were much more complicated to implement.
Michael continued, "I could not live in a world where I did not have Mail Manager. That would have been such a hard blow to me, to go back after you tasted it."
Once BVi decided to roll out Mail Manager, everything moved quite quickly. Michael described the sales process as, "It was a breeze. Myself and a few of our senior directors trialled it in our individual offices, and then we rolled it out in the various regions. The team from Mail Manager were so well set up in implementing and helping us transition into Mail Manager that it was a non-issue to set up... It was really painless and effortless."
"Considering the transition to Mail Manager is not one of the things you should be worried about. I know it sounds difficult to believe, but that is the one process that makes it really, really easy to go. Our biggest worry was not to lose emails and not lose productive time, but that was not the case. It was as simple and big as an hour or two out of your day."
Life since implementing Mail Manager
The firm has benefited a great deal from using Mail Manager. Everyone in the organisation can file all sent and received emails instantly and can bulk-file all their old emails onto their server painlessly.
Michael described his favourite feature as Mail Manager's search function. "The biggest strength of Mail Manager is the search function. For me to go on to the server, I have access to over 100,000 emails, and within a few clicks, I can narrow that down to five or ten emails. It's easy to find the one you're looking for within a few seconds, even when I'm travelling or out of the office."
"Mail Manager has become such a big part of our QA system and ISO certifications. When the auditors are looking for a very specific email, it's a couple of seconds, and I can pull up any email that they want to see."
As an added benefit, The BVi Group were able to smoothly integrate Mail Manager into their existing set-up for all 300 staff, and everyone in a project or client team has complete visibility over information that may concern them. BVi has rolled out the software to all project and admin employees.
At the end of the webinar, a guest asked Michael if the BVi Group saw a return on investment from using the software. Michael responded, "I think for us, it's not just the time that is spent on having to go and file emails one by one, or in blocks, selecting those emails and find where you want to save them and do this continually all the time. We calculated that it very quickly pays off, and you will see that once you do a trial. It takes almost no time anymore to save these emails, so it definitely pays for itself."
"In our office especially, we have quite highly paid professionals who were spending time filing. If you saved these people even half an hour per day, that's more time on work."
If you'd like to hear more about Michael and The BVi Group's experience using Mail Manager, you can watch the full webinar recording here. Alternatively, if you'd like to try the software out for yourself, download a free trial today!