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Cebeo is an electrical wholesaler with a strong customer focus. They are
not only concerned with the services at their stores, but also with offering
even better support to their employees. The collaboration between
Facilities and IT is a good example of this.

Cebeo focuses on the sale of electrical supplies for the

Centralizing supporting services

building and housing industry. Both the shops and web

Cebeo has always been a decentralized organization. The

shops offer a diverse range of materials for professionals:

warehouse has close to 40,000 m2 storage room, and 32

from installation material to cables. Cebeo continues to

stores spread across Belgium. Over the past years, Cebeo

diversify their range with more specialized products

has grown considerably thanks to a takeover, which meant

and they recently started selling professional tools for

they had to manage the organization differently. Up to

technicians. Over the years, Cebeo has developed into a

three years ago, the sales and supporting services were

large organization with about 700 employees who work in

spread across several locations, says Vanackere. This

procurement, logistics, sales and supporting services like

leaves you miles apart, but you still have to work together

Finance, Marketing, HR, Facilities and IT.

which isnt efficient. Whats more, the look of the

We want to be the best

Cebeo is market leader in Belgium. This is really important
to us, says Jo Vanackere, responsible for the internal and

buildings didnt match Cebeos image, says Neirinck.

We supply goods for projects in the service industry
sector, so our offices should set a good example.
In 2011 Cebeo decided to bring management,

external communication at Cebeo. But more importantly:

procurement and all supporting services under the

we try to stay close to our customers. It doesnt matter

same roof. This wasnt a straightforward decision, says

to them that were the biggest, but rather that were

Vanackere. Especially when it came to the human aspect.

the best. Everything we do should focus on helping

Moving to the other side of the country isnt necessarily

customers improve. This strategy is reflected in all of

a logical step for someone from Antwerp. Thats why we

Cebeos activities: from the way they help customers to

thoroughly prepared and discussed the move. Weve been

communication. Its all about the customers experience,

located in the new office for three years now.

says Vanackere. Analysing our customers purchasing

behaviour has helped us understand their needs. We

More central, structured and efficient

adjust our basic product range based on these needs,

In addition to the internal centralization of Cebeo, the

helping us improve the availability of these products for

stores were also modernized. New stores were opened,

our customers.

says Vanackere, and older stores were redecorated.

Cebeo continues to work on their customer-oriented

The buildings that house our stores are also like a shop

approach, says Wim Neirink, IT application development

window where we can apply our clever solutions for

manager. We expanded our webshop with a number of

houses and buildings. This has made our buildings

functionalities important to technicians, helping support

more complex.

them in their work as entrepreneur. We have the same

Facilities had to manage a large number of sites

approach at our stores. It can be hard for customers to visit

with a small team, says Neirinck. They needed a more

the stores during opening hours. This is why our stores

structured approach so they started looking for a tool

have lockers where customers can collect their orders

to support their tasks.

when it suits them.


Facilities wasnt alone in this. We were

already looking into our supporting services
and how we could improve the follow-up of
calls and requests. Our IT department required
more streamlined communication and more


Wim Neirinck
ICT application development manager, CEBEO

structure amongst the different specialists

within the team. Consequently, IT had been
looking for a tool for a while.
dont want to set up everything in one go

Neirinck. TOPdesk was also a new tool for

and present it to your end users. This way

Facilities and IT staff. But we took the time

The different departments came together for

everyone involved could get used to the

to let everyone get used to the changes.

the tool selection. Its perfectly normal for

procedures at Facilities, making it easy to

Sometimes you need to give a slight push in

end users to use a single tool, says Neirinck.

expand from there.

the right direction. Vanackere agrees: You

Shared Service Management

And we soon realized that our Facilities and IT

departments would benefit as well.

Working together in one tool

can expect questions when you introduce a

new tool, so communication is very important.

Facilities and IT calls can now be registered

You have to set clear goals for everyone. Not

IT and FM worlds dont mix. At Cebeo these

in TOPdesk. The benefits of this collaboration

only the people involved in the supporting

departments initiated collaboration. We

in one tool are already visible. Our work is

services, but also the end users need to know

believe its important to learn from each

more structured, says Neirinck. And we are

what is happening and why. Even if youve

other, says Neirinck. Our tasks overlap.

more transparent in showing what were

arranged all your processes, the project wont

For instance, when setting up a network,

working on as supporting departments. For

succeed if your users wont cooperate. So

both Facilities and IT are needed. Facilities

instance, we can now easily create reports on

when we have our online helpdesk, were

enables the physical installation, while the IT

the number of resolved calls. And what about

offering them a manual, but they can still call

department manages the infrastructure.

separating Facilities and IT calls? We barely

us as well. Well explain to them how they can

get to see each others work. We still manage

log calls as often as we need to.

There are many organizations where the

When selecting the tool, Cebeo examined

the requirements and wishes of all the

our own tasks as were used to, but we can

departments. Its definitely worth initiating

easily find each other when necessary. Its also

collaboration at such an early stage, says

much easier to assign calls to each other: all

Nierinck. For the first meetings we looked

details are now registered in the

at how the departments work and made

call or change.

clear agreements. Of course we had some

Both departments not only see advantages

reservations. We didnt want all Facilities calls

for themselves, but also for internal

to be visible in the system to IT, or vice versa.

customers. We used to receive a phone call

Facilities as frontrunner

with a problem or question, says Vanackere,

but the end user didnt always know which

The tool they chose was TOPdesk, and a

department of person they could turn to.

consultant helped with the set-up. It is

Weve now set up TOPdesk in such a way that

especially important to focus on common

this is no longer a problem. We can easily

issues, like similarities between Facilities

reassign calls and send them to the right

and IT, explains Neirinck. To start with, we

department or person.

registered all location and employee details:

details important to both departments. All

Taking your time

in all, the processes are quite similar. I never

Whether or not Cebeos departments were

heard of any problems with the tools set-up.

already using a tool, change always takes

Facilities was the first to work with TOPdesk.

We took baby steps, says Neirinck. You

getting used to. You have to make the

transition as smooth as possible, says

Dreams for the future

Even though Cebeo is in its start-up phase,
they already have many ideas for the future.
Other supporting services have started
asking questions, says Neirinck. Theyre
considering working in the same tool.
Weve already set up a meeting with HR to
discuss it, but wed like to get our basics right
before moving on. Well stick to the step-bystep approach.
In addition to expanding to other
departments, Vanackere also sees other
opportunities. I believe its important for
every organization to understand the users
needs when setting up a tool. This not only
concerns the parties involved, but also the
internal customers. We will definitely evaluate
the tools use with the end users. We always
look at how we can help our customers even
better its in our DNA.


Simply working together

according to Cebeo:
1. Initiate collaboration with
supporting services at an
early stage.
2. Focus on common ground and joint
aspects of the services.
3. Research your users needs and take
these into account when setting up
your tool.
4. Make it as easy as possible for
people to use a tool.
5. Dont do everything at once, but
take it one step at a time.

Jo Vanackere (l) and Wim Neirinck