Hillarys Blinds: SAP ERP Helps Improve Visibility into Distribution System for Blinds Manufacturer
 

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Hillarys Blinds: SAP ERP Helps Improve Visibility into Distribution System for Blinds Manufacturer

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Hillarys has become the dominant player ...

Hillarys has become the dominant player
in UK window coverings by garnering
approximately one-third of the market.
It has a staff of 1,150 and an affiliated,
self-employed field sales and installation
force – called advisors – of 1,000.
2010 revenues were €130 million. Hillarys went looking for a solution that
would provide the tracking capability it
needed for phase one of the Track and
Trace project. “We looked at a number
of technologies,” says Bond, “but for
us, a key part of the solution was to
confirm that it integrated easily and
with little maintenance to our core SAP
software systems, and used standard
SAP transactions in order to be visible
across the organization.” Hillarys had
been using the SAP® ERP application
since 1999, and it was central to the
way the company operates. So the firm
wanted its tracking system to integrate
fully with its SAP software, and not
require the user to jump back and forth
between applications.

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Hillarys Blinds: SAP ERP Helps Improve Visibility into Distribution System for Blinds Manufacturer Document Transcript

  • 1. HILLARYS BLINDS SAP® ERP HELPS IMPROVE VISIBILITY INTO DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM FOR BLINDS MANUFACTURER QUICK FACTS“SAP’s certification of third-party add- Company Why SAP • Name: Hillarys Blinds Ltd. Leveraging existing investment on applications gives its customers • Headquarters: Nottingham, United Kingdom Benefits great confidence when looking to • ROI in less than a year • Industry: Consumer products broaden their solution set beyond • Products and services: Window coverings • Significant reduction in mislaid product • Revenue: €130 million • Improved order visibility for customer core SAP functionality. It is a great • Employees: 1,150 service center • Web site: www.hillarys.co.uk • Customer experience improved starting point for a new project.” • Implementation partner: Birchman Existing Environment Julian Bond, Head of Information and Solutions SAP® ERP application, SAP Customer Communications Technology, Hillarys Blinds Ltd. Challenges and Opportunities Relationship Management application, Improve customer service SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse component, and SAP NetWeaver Process Objectives Integration technology Implement automated package tracking from warehouse to service representative SAP Partner Solutions and Services SkyMobile enterprise application platform by Sky Technologies, powered by the SAP NetWeaver® technology platform Implementation Highlights • Pilot introduced within 4 months of project inception • Most complex product used for proof of concept • Change management included feedback from initial user group, resulting in a sim- plified second releaseSAP Customer Success StoryConsumer Products
  • 2. “We have good tracking within our SAP ERP application, so we can recognize that we needed to be able to track products from the incomingsee each order as it moves through manufacturing to our distribution order right through to the customer’scenters,” says Julian Bond, head of information and communications home, including proof of delivery. That’s the ultimate goal. The first phase of thetechnology at Hillarys Blinds Ltd. “But actually getting the orders from initiative would be to track our productsour distribution center to the advisor’s storage location and then on from the loading dock of our distribution center to receipt at the advisor’s storageto the customer – there we historically had no visibility at all.” location.” Hillarys went looking for a solution thatHillarys Blinds of Nottingham, United Multiple Opportunities for would provide the tracking capability itKingdom, celebrated its 40th anniver- Customer Disappointment needed for phase one of the Track andsary in May 2011. Over those years, Trace project. “We looked at a numberHillarys has become the dominant player The risk associated with this process of technologies,” says Bond, “but forin UK window coverings by garnering is misplaced order components. The us, a key part of the solution was toapproximately one-third of the market. delivery schedule for a van driver may confirm that it integrated easily andIt has a staff of 1,150 and an affiliated, include up to 40 “drops.” This leaves with little maintenance to our core SAPself-employed field sales and installa- plenty of opportunity to fail to deliver all software systems, and used standardtion force – called advisors – of 1,000. the packages in an order to the advisor’s SAP transactions in order to be visible2010 revenues were €130 million. receiving location, or deliver a package across the organization.” Hillarys had to the wrong advisor, or just miss a been using the SAP® ERP applicationWindow-covering products – interior package at the loading dock. Similarly, since 1999, and it was central to theshutters, curtains, blinds – are not like the advisor may confuse orders. There way the company operates. So the firmmost other consumer products in that are, in other words, many possibilities wanted its tracking system to integrateevery offering is made to measure and for causing customer disappointment. fully with its SAP software, and notcan be individually customized. This require the user to jump back and forthusually requires that an advisor come Facing increasing customer service between applications.to the customer’s residence and mea- expectations and improving industrysure every relevant window. The advisor standards, Hillarys initiated a company- Extending Existing Trackinguses a smartphone to enter the cus- wide improvement program in 2009 Capability to Remote Locationstomer order and transmit it to the head called “Service Breakthrough.” One ofoffice via SAP NetWeaver® Process the program’s initiatives focused on the “Having an SAP-centric solution wasIntegration technology. Following manu- problem of incomplete order delivery to key to what we were trying to do,” saysfacture, the completed products are the customer. It was called “Track and Bond. “It reduces the cost of mainte-dispatched from Hillarys’ distribution Trace.” nance, adds capability to our existingcenters to the designated location for investment, minimizes user training,the advisor, who then delivers and fits “The costs associated with mislaid and delivers many additional benefits.the ordered products into the customer’s products were quite substantial,” says Finding an SAP-centric solution withwindows. Most orders include multiple Bond. “One way to deal with that was to certified integration with SAP NetWeaver,packages.
  • 3. “The reduction in mislaid products that we’ve experienced over the life of the Track and Trace project repaid the investment in the first 12 months.” Julian Bond, Head of Information and Communications Technology, Hillarys Blinds Ltd.that would let us extend our existing Demonstrating the Technology Surprisingly, the pilot revealed somecapability out to a remote capability – cultural issues that needed to be re-that was what we were looking for.” Hillarys decided to pilot the new sys- solved. Van drivers’ delivery perfor- tem before deploying it nationwide. mance was slowed somewhat by theHillarys and its SAP partner Birchman “Our approach to a pilot is somewhat new scanning requirements. In addition,Solutions selected a Sky Technologies unusual,” says Bond. “It’s actually a some drivers were not always comfort-system to deliver the SAP transactions live pilot, and this is almost the first able with the new technology, or indeedbetween a remotely located, hand-held phase of the rollout. So we did a proof any kind of change. “We found somescanner/transceiver and the centrally of concept to demonstrate the tech- incentives that very quickly moved themlocated SAP ERP software. “This solu- nology with a couple of delivery routes; in the right direction once we identifiedtion was chosen because it allowed the once that was successful, we then what the real issues were,” says Bond.remote system to be created, managed, rolled it out to the rest of our UK distri-and supported from within SAP ERP,” bution chain remarkably quickly.” Significant Improvements insays Mike Hurt, business development Deliverymanager with Birchman. “The pilot run was implemented at the end of 2009 and tidied up the following Changing from a paper list on a clip-“This solution actually sits within our spring,” Bond continues. Tidied up? board to an infrared/GPRS (generalSAP software environment,” says Bond. “We reconfigured some of the soft- packet radio system) scanner system“It can be managed by my system ware, redeveloped the screens, and has significantly improved Hillarys’administrators in a way that they’re then deployed nationwide in two phas- delivery performance. “Not surprisingly,familiar with. Everything fits within that es,” he explains. the number of products mislaid betweenexisting environment, and it was a veryeasy and quick implementation as aconsequence.” “SAP not only has a very solid core suite of applications, it also has a rigorous“We’re using standard logistics func- program for certifying add-on solutions from partner organizations.”tionality within the SAP application Julian Bond, Head of Information and Communications Technology, Hillarys Blinds Ltd.called ‘material handling units,’” Hurtnotes. “We allocate a handling unit toeach package in the shipment.” Scans The pilot focused on Hillarys’ most us and the advisors has dropped verythen update the status of the handling complex product, its line of interior considerably since we started the Trackunit as it moves through the dispatch shutters. A shutter set comprises be- and Trace project,” says Bond. “Someand delivery process. The application tween five and eight boxes of compo- other parallel improvement initiativesalerts the van driver if an incomplete nents. “This was an area of high-cost certainly played their part in this improve-or incorrect package has been loaded product, long lead times, more constit- ment. But there’s no doubt that theat a distribution center or off-loaded uents to a window covering than we reduction in mislaid products is not aat an advisor location, or if the driver normally have, and an area where we coincidence; it’s a direct benefit of theattempts to unload a package at the could really prove the technology with new system implementation.”wrong advisor’s site. our most complex situations,” Bond observes.
  • 4. www.sap.com /contactsapThe reduction in mislaid products has Expanding the System Across thein turn increased profitability. Hillarys is Product Rangenot paying twice for shutters needed tofulfill an order when parts were mislaid Bond sees considerable expansion ofon the first delivery. “You save the the system once the economy picks upmaterial that it would cost you to make steam again. For example, there is anthe replacement set,” says Bond, “as opportunity to tie into the advisors’well as the labor. There’s the opportunity current smartphones with the infor-cost associated with that as well, since mation that is currently available to theyou could be making another shutter. customer service center. This wouldAnd often there’s overtime costs in- further improve delivery reliability andcurred because the customer is waiting consequently the customer experiencefor the shutter you failed to deliver the as well. And the big opportunity, offirst time. There’s the customer service course, lies in expanding the systemtime spent resolving the issue, trying to beyond shutters and into the rest oftrack down the missing component.” Hillarys’ product line.The list goes on. “At this moment, we’re just pausing,The result of all these savings: “The making sure that we fully embed thereduction in mislaid products that we’ve benefits we already have,” says Bond.experienced over the life of the Track “As soon as the opportunity is right,and Trace project repaid the investment we will extend it further.”in the first 12 months,” says Bond. Bond credits SAP with making theThe new system has delivered other implementation as easy as possible.benefits. Support staff in the customer “SAP not only has a very solid core suite 50 105 477 (11/07)service center have much better visibility of applications, it also has a rigorous ©2011 SAP AG. All rights reserved.of the progress of the product as it program for certifying add-on solutions SAP, R/3, SAP NetWeaver, Duet, PartnerEdge, ByDesign, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, StreamWork, and other SAP productsmakes its way to the purchaser, and from partner organizations,” he says. and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany andmuch more confidence in sharing that other countries.information with the customer who And Bond adds, “If SAP customers Business Objects and the Business Objects logo, BusinessObjects, Crystal Reports, Crystal Decisions, Web Intelligence, Xcelsius, andcalls in to confirm an installation date. want to leverage their investment, there other Business Objects products and services mentioned herein“It’s improved the whole customer will always be a low-risk way for them as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trade- marks of Business Objects Software Ltd. Business Objects is anexperience,” says Bond. “We’ve to add on to their existing system that’s SAP company.seen a marked decrease in customer certified to integrate with SAP software. Sybase and Adaptive Server, iAnywhere, Sybase 365, SQL Anywhere, and other Sybase products and services mentioned herein as wellcomplaints.” It’s provided significant reassurance, and as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sybase, Inc. Sybase is an SAP company. allowed us to move very quickly forward All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of to an implementation.” their respective companies. Data contained in this document serves informational purposes only. National product specifications may vary. These materials are subject to change without notice. These materials are provided by SAP AG and its affiliated companies (“SAP Group”) for informational purposes only, without representation or warranty of any kind, and SAP Group shall not be liable for errors or omissions with respect to the materials. The only warranties for SAP Group products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services, if any. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty.