MACFARLANE PACKAGING CREATES eBUSINESS WITH IBS INTEGRATOR

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IBS has announced that Macfarlane Packaging has adopted its software integration tool, IBS Integrator, for a number of strategic business to business (B2B) and application integration projects.

Macfarlane, an IBS Enterprise ERP customer since 2001, has developed B2B web portals for customers and suppliers as well as a brand new web site, which is aimed at brand new markets for the company.

Macfarlane Packaging, part of the Macfarlane Group plc, is a leading international packaging specialist providing total packaging solutions to companies worldwide. It is the UKs largest packaging distribution business and services around 17,000 customers from 15 strategically located Regional Distribution Centres.

Using IBS Integrator, Macfarlane initially developed two new products, Supplier Connect and Customer Connect. These web portals allow customers and suppliers to access their own authorised areas of Macfarlanes IBS Supply Chain system. They can place orders, check stock availability, check order status and compile reports on previous transactions.

Mark Selby, IT Director for Macfarlane Packaging, comments, Supplier and Customer Connect saves us huge amounts in terms of time and costs by automating what used to be a time-consuming, but purely administrative task. The portals give customers and suppliers a real-time view of our relationship with them. As soon as an item is marked within IBS as picked, despatched or delivered, that information is immediately available to the customer or supplier through the web portal. In addition, many of our customers require monthly activity reports, which used to take time to compile, check and deliver. Now, the customer only has to select the report they want through the portal and they receive an instant, accurate and real-time report on virtually any aspect of our services they require, whenever they want it.

Mark Selby continues, For any organisation, IT is there to increase added value, reduce operational costs or both. The implementation of a web based system that allowed both customers and suppliers to place orders electronically, integrated with the full ERP system, would deliver these benefits. We selected IBS Integrator to develop this system because, as most of the integration was with the IBS Enterprise ERP, we decided it must have been designed with that in mind. However, having now worked extensively with IBS Integrator, we can see that it stands up well against other similar products for all aspects of integration, not just with other IBS systems.

More recently, Macfarlane has completed another project using IBS Integrator that has seen the launch of a completely new business unit for the company, packaging2u.co.uk. This site was launched in October 2005 and is now trading very successfully. The web site has met all its initial targets and is now considered the 16th RDC within the company. We are now looking at a number of new projects which we expect to drive further efficiencies and cost-savings into the business. These include integrating data collected via handheld PDA devices for stock replenishment at customer sites and also for proof of delivery signatures, he says.

Mark Selby concludes, Macfarlane has become a leader in its market by always leading the way with new ideas and new strategies. The implementation of projects using IBS Integrator has allowed us to establish new services and products that are ahead of our competition and maintain our edge in the market.

IBS Integrator is a hugely flexible and easy to use business and application integration tool that can deliver significant profitability and efficiency benefits throughout an organisation. Its application has no boundaries, with hundreds of companies around the world using the product to deliver seamless solutions to specific business problems. The product can be implemented by both IBS and non-IBS ERP software customers and provides one of the industrys most powerful and deployable integration tools for any hardware and operating system platforms.

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