Manufacturer Expanding Business Capabilities to Support International Growth
Meeting the needs of big box retailers can be a challenge for any company. And meeting those needs while also expanding your business internationally is the type of challenge that takes exceptional experience to navigate well. The client here is a world leader in the manufacture of stone and tile material. A privately held, half-century-old company with global sales and manufacturing, they were experiencing difficulties maintaining the service levels necessary to satisfy the rigid demands of big box retailers.
The client recognized that their current IT infrastructure and organization were challenged by the demands of large retailers as well as their international expansion. The company wanted a complete assessment of their use of technology, and they invited five of the foremost IT consulting firms to present their approach to solving the problem. Two E.L.I. Partners were selected unanimously by the client selection team as well as senior management based on their pragmatic approach and operations leadership experience. At the time, the client was running an obsolete software and application platform with very effective but very limited IT resources. The client wanted a more contemporary platform to run its global business with the opportunity to adopt more generally accepted best practices.
The E.L.I. Partners’ approach to the situation commenced with a full assessment of business practices, information systems, and IT service delivery. They focused not just on the current challenges the company was facing, but also on the company’s future needs. The E.L.I. Partners assessed the client’s current system version against other contemporary ERP systems in the marketplace concluding that, with some process changes, the current version of the system would provide all the functionality necessary to improve operational efficiency. In addition, a modern Customer Relationship Management system coupled with the client’s call center and the modern ERP system would allow them to reduce costs and significantly improve customer service. The E.L.I. Partners also advised the client to move from a locally hosted system to a fully cloud-based environment, which would save significant costs over an upgrade to their outdated hardware.
Other insights and solutions provided included:
- Detailed financial modeling showing the Return on Investment from the implementation of the changes.
- Implementation of a bar code scanning system to improve inventory accuracy.
- Automatic call routing with screens automatically showing customer data as the telephone is answered improving customer service levels significantly.
- Negotiation with multiple vendors of software, hardware, implementation services, and hosting services.
- Creation of a governance structure and a program management office to oversee the successful implementation of the program.
The E.L.I. Partners guided the client through cost effective process and technology improvements, which positively impacted multiple areas of the business. Customer support was significantly improved by coupling both the client’s original-but-now-improved ERP and telephone systems with a modern Customer Relationship Management platform. Significant savings were realized by moving to a cloud-based environment versus upgrading outdated hardware. Inventory levels were improved, and modern bar code scanning equipment in the warehouses improved inventory accuracy.