Paul Grassel

Director of Global IT Computer Services , Buckman

Supernova Award Category: 

Future of Work - Productivity and Collaboration

The Company: 

Buckman, based in Memphis, Tennessee, is an ISO-certified global specialty chemical company with annual sales of more than $500 million and over 1,700 employees in more than 90 countries.

The Problem: 

Buckman sought a digital alternative to e-mail and paper for both their procurement and safety inspection processes. With 1,700 employees based in over 90 countries, e-mail-based processes alone forced a deluge of content and correspondence. Purchasing processes called for necessary technical data, pricing information, and documented internal approval. Without a streamlined and digital platform, the purchasing process had delays in approvals and lacked transparency.   Buckman upholds ISO certifications and maintains compliance through vigorous equipment safety inspection processes. However, e-mail based processes blocked the speed and agility required to report risk. Previously, Buckman tasked employees to inspect site locations often in remote locations far from Wi-Fi signals, thus making it challenging to file accurate reports quickly and accurately: The employee would have to rush back to the office and file a report from memory creating delays and missed details.

The Solution: 

Since late 2015, Buckman implemented Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms for Office 365, as well as Nintex Mobile to automate procurement and safety inspection processes. With Microsoft Office 365, including SharePoint Online, in active use for various content management initiatives, Paul Grassel, Director of Global IT Computer Services, saw an opportunity to "take SharePoint to the next level" and drive streamlined and integrated workflows. Nintex for Office 365 impressed teams with its smooth integration, intuitive user-interface, and speed to action. Buckman's IT Enterprise Service Manager, Brent Ellis highlights that "we can do so much with Nintex for Office 365 because it allows us to generate solutions quickly without needing to write code." Likewise, Grassel points out that when "associates see what Nintex can do, they come up with new ways to take advantage of it."

The Results: 

Maximized Collaboration and Productivity: Before implementing Nintex for Office 365, the procurement department relied on e-mail and manual oversight to keep open purchase orders and inquiries afloat. After implementing Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms for Office 365, the volume of e-mail dramatically decreased while productivity skyrocketed. Instead of e-mailing a manager about a purchase request, an employee can trust the Nintex solution to manage the end-to-end process. They simply complete a digital Nintex Form that stores all data in SharePoint Online. A Nintex Workflow automatically routes the form to the correct manager for review and action. Instead of chasing e-mail threads employee take advantage of strategic global procurement opportunities in days instead of weeks.  

Enhanced Risk Mitigation: Safety inspection processes benefit from Nintex Mobile to enhance workplace safety worldwide. Previously, associates had to wait until they got back to an office to manually file incident reports. The delay could result in incomplete or inaccurate reports. Buckman associates now use Nintex Mobile to record safety incidents whenever and wherever they occur, including photo attachments, so incident reports are accurately filed in real-time for immediate action.


Cost & Time Savings: With Nintex for Office 365, Buckman saved $800K in 2016 by automating their sales procurement requests process. With cloud-based workflows, Buckman minimized associated operational costs. In addition, Nintex for Office 365 enabled an agile and fast-paced purchase cycle.
Strong User Adoption: In addition to the procurement and safety inspection departments, Buckman's sales team quickly adopted a Nintex solution to streamline customer documentation management and increase collaboration by a factor of ten.   Before Nintex, e-mail and disparate Word documents led to misaligned data and version control issues. By introducing Nintex Forms for Office 365, leadership standardized customer documentation forms and enabled any sales person to complete forms digitally from any device or location. Buckman reports that sales are participating in standardized customer documentation processes by a factor of ten as it is easier and faster to input the required data.
Increased Workplace Safety: With Nintex Mobile, site inspection investigations take only a week or less, down from 30 to 90 days previously, so Buckman can implement the most effective remedial steps weeks or months sooner than it could before. “We’re getting far more of our incidents reported because everyone has immediate access to the reporting tools and it’s faster and easier for our people to make those reports,” says Brent Ellis, IT Enterprise Service Manager.

The Technology: 

The Nintex Workflow platform enables fast and easy automation of enterprise business processes. With Nintex, anyone can use clicks, not code, to quickly turn cumbersome manual processes into efficient, automated workflows. The company’s Workflow-as-a-Service approach extends our collaborative capabilities by allowing customers and partners to leverage digital process automation created by individuals or teams and scale them across the organization.

Disruptive Factor: 

If Buckman regards Nintex for Office 365 as an enterprise accelerator, it has good reason. Facing more competitors and higher customer expectations, Buckman, like businesses everywhere, constantly seeks new ways to thrive. It had been using Microsoft Office 365, including SharePoint Online, for several years and “was ready to take SharePoint to the next level,” according to Paul Grassel, Director of Global IT Computer Services at Buckman. He and his colleagues looked at several workflow and content automation solutions, but were most impressed with the smooth integration between Office 365 and the Nintex platform.  

“We put a strategic emphasis on digital transformation and mobile-first technologies as the way to spur sales growth, control costs, gain competitive advantage, and serve customers better,” he says.“ Nintex for Office 365 has been an impactful tool we use to achieve our vision. We use the Nintex Forms capability to capture data in a standardized, centralized way. Before implementing our Nintex solution, data was inconsistent, dispersed, and sometimes captured slowly if at all.”  

Speed is one key to Buckman’s success with their Nintex solution. “With our Nintex solution, we can get to a proof-of-concept in less than an hour. The accelerated time-to-benefit is a huge value-add that Nintex brings to the table,” says Brent Ellis, IT Enterprise Services Manager at Buckman.

Shining Moment: 

As a result of the success of these projects, our requests for new forms and workflow solutions have grown. Currently, we have five significant initiatives in progress, with several others in the queue. We anticipate similar adoption and success.  

About Buckman

Buckman is a global specialty chemical company with headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., USA. Buckman works proactively and collaboratively with worldwide customers in pulp and paper, leather and industrial water treatment and process chemistry to deliver exceptional service and innovative specialty chemical solutions in more than 90 countries around the world.