AllMat aims to be the Belgian equivalent to Amazon, but for construction materials

12.07.2021

AllMat is reconnecting to Orange after a detour that lasted just a few months. The connectivity for mobile personnel is vital for fulfilling the company’s goals. 

Orange and AllMat: “it’s like reconnecting with an old friend”

AllMat is a construction material company that’s never short on ambition. And it shows. It’s impossible to miss as you approach Ciney, the city where the family business established its head office. Signposts guide me straight to the company’s main site, a smart building with clean lines. Here, everything breathes functionality and modernity, with a truly friendly atmosphere.

This is a family business, specialising in construction materials. It manages a network of 13 points of sale along the N4 road and the E411 motorway – mainly in the provinces of Namur (Andenne, Beauraing, Bièvre, Ciney, Cognelée, Dinant and Floreffe) and Luxembourg (Marche-en-Famenne, Hotton and Libramont), with one point of sale in each of Belgium’s other Walloon provinces: Hainaut (Nalinnes), Liège (Seraing) and Walloon Brabant (Orp-Jauche). As well as operating a logistics centre, AllMat has an enormous new hangar under construction; dedicated to online sales, it shows the company is moving with the times. With nearly 350 FTEs on the books, AllMat is enjoying excellent growth and is anything but shy about pursuing its ambitions.

“We are proud of our roots in Namur. We hope to become Belgium’s equivalent to Amazon, but for construction materials,” explains HR director Pascal Poncin, as he shows me around the construction site for the new warehouse, which will be used as an e-commerce centre and a central logistical hub for the group.

“Actually, we are no longer Orange clients at the moment,” he explains. “We are currently in an in-between period. We will be reconnecting to the Orange network very soon.” For Pascal, the time can’t fly by quickly enough. “We were Orange clients for 15 years. We had developed such strong ties with our account manager there that we ‘followed’ him when he changed employers and began working with a different Belgian operator. But we were immediately disappointed with the technical services. They simply weren’t up to standard.

“As well as working closely with us and being very attentive, our contacts at Orange have showered us with new ideas.” 

“We are looking forward to reconnecting to Orange services. Their support services are extraordinary. We know each other so well that if there is a problem, the folks in the technical service immediately know whether it’s an emergency or not. And we haven’t lost out by signing our new contract: our new account manager knows what he’s talking about and listens to our needs. He recommended joining the Business Experts Team programme,” he adds, relieved.

“We’re looking forward to reconnecting to Orange services.”  

AllMat’s 240 mobile telephone numbers have been negotiated and divided into four categories of Shape plans. “We must have contact with our warehouse workers at all times when they’re on site, for advice or information on products,” Pascal explains. “Our salespeople and drivers are always on the road. The third category is for managers and the company directors. Finally, the company owners, Arnaud and Amélie Body, sometimes have to go outside Belgium and need to be contactable wherever they are in the world.

“In preparation for the changeover, we have received all the cards for all our employees in envelopes with their names and telephone numbers. I was expecting a real headache, but since we just need to hand them out, it’s child’s play,” Pascal says. “Training is planned to help us all learn how to manage certain basic tasks, like changing options or transfers. It will give us more autonomy.”

We say goodbye, promising to be back in contact after the switch back to the Orange network. Pascal shakes my hand with a big smile: “I’m certain that everything will run smoothly. For AllMat and Orange, it’s like reconnecting with an old friend.”

 

Epilogue

As arranged, I contact Pascal Poncin after 10 days, and he can’t contain his enthusiasm. “The transfer to Orange ran so smoothly, without any real problems. The partnership is once again very rewarding and very professional. As well as being close to us and very attentive, the people we spoke to at Orange have showered us with new ideas. For example, we are going to put a system in place that allows us to send text messages in bulk, keeping our staff updated with company news. Our drivers and warehouse staff aren’t always in front of the computer screen and often miss important information. It’s a giant step for our internal communication,” he says, delighted. “We have just finished the training on the Customer Zone and everything went smoothly. I only have one word to sum up the situation: EXCELLENT!”

“We haven’t lost out by returning to Orange. On the contrary!”

 

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