Corporate Express Australia Limited solves the challenges of growth
Switching to integrated software creates new opportunities
Published on 06 Aug 2012
"With the new SAP software we can scale the business at a much more rapid rate, with fewer resources, which will allow us to be more aggressive in going to market. The IBM Global Business Services team provided us with the robust infrastructure that we can rely on to support the business as it continues to grow." - Garry Whatley, Chief Information Officer, Corporate Express Australia Limited
Corporate Express Australia Limited
Business Intelligence, Enterprise ...view middle of the document...
Two IBM Power Systems™ servers host databases for the SAP applications, which are housed on Cisco Unified Computing System servers.
New SAP applications provide a common platform for company-wide processes, enabling Corporate Express to enhance efficiencies, improve order completion rates and better manage inventory availability. Reduced the amount of backlogs in order processing system by 30 percent. Increased the average dollar value per invoice by three percent overall. Cut the number of transaction errors by approximately 16 percent.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of US parent company Staples, Corporate Express Australia Limited is one of Australia and New Zealand’s leading single-source suppliers of business essentials. The company employs more than 2,500 people at some 38 locations throughout the region. Corporate Express offers products and services ranging from IT solutions to office products, and provides a reliable one-stop-shop for all business supply needs.
Lack of standardization threatens growth
Corporate Express was experiencing significant growth as it steadily acquired more and more businesses. However, this expansion was being threatened by a lack of consistency across the business, as Garry Whatley, Chief Information Officer at Corporate Express Australia, explains, “There was a real lack of standardization and integration across a large number of our business processes. In some cases, we had 40 ways of doing the same thing, which was hampering the business from being as efficient as it could be.”
Corporate Express was experiencing difficulties with its existing legacy system, which it had been using to manage its business processes. The system had been introduced following an acquisition, and had been heavily modified throughout the years. The company was concerned that the legacy system no longer had the capacity to deal with the increasingly large number of transactions processed by the business. Order backlogs were growing, and there was no immediate way to increase system capacity.
Garry Whatley continues, “Our previous system was really meant for a small-to-medium business and as we expanded, we simply outgrew the solution. More than 17,000 modifications had been made to the system throughout its lifetime, and it was becoming a challenge to support and maintain. The longer we remained on this system, the more risk it posed to the business and the more it hindered our growth.”
Corporate Express undertook a business review, which identified the need to move to a more centralized model and introduce greater levels of standardization and efficiency at all levels of the business.
As a result of the review, Corporate Express created a project called ‘nXtgen,’ designed to introduce major business transformation to the company and maximize transactional and analytical process efficiency. To make this possible, the company would move to a new generation of technology.
Michael Westenberg, nXtgen...