Garden products maker, Hozelock, needed an electronic trading solution which would enable the company to respond quickly to customer requests. Outsourcing proved to be an 'intelligent' decision, providing a versatile solution with fewer errors. Based in Birmingham, UK, Hozelock has over the past 50 years developed a comprehensive range of products from garden watering systems and pressure sprayers to aquatic equipment.
Hozelock had been electronically exchanging invoices and orders with its customers for over 20 years, using an on premise, third party EDI solution. However, the company was finding it increasingly difficult to accommodate forever changing customer requirements. Each time there was a change in a customer's trading requirement, the solution needed to be reconfigured by Hozelock's IT department. It was felt that this was an unnecessary drain on resources and was not a core competence of the business.
After carefully assessing options on electronic trading, the company elected to outsource their EDI to Wesupply as a fully managed service. The fact that OneTimeTM is an outsourced solution was an important factor in Hozelock's decision making process as no hardware, software, database, or integration tools were required and the company did not need to make a major investment in internal project teams or maintenance. In addition, Wesupply already had connections into most of Hozelock's customers which allowed for a quick and low-risk transition.
"Our existing solution lacked flexibility to meet the changing requirements of our customers and it could not easily support non standard requirements and new technologies. As a result, the lead-time for adapting to new requirements or on-boarding a new customer was lengthy", explains Trevor Austin, Director of IT at Hozelock.
Wesupply's fully managed 'intelligent' B2B electronic trading solution, OneTime, enables Hozelock to rapidly respond to its customers' electronic trading mandates, while freeing up valuable IT resources. Consequently, OneTime has played a critical part in helping Hozelock meet the service levels targets set by its customers.
Another important factor in Hozelock's decision to move to the OneTime solution was the ease with which it could be integrated with the company's ERP system. The solution seamlessly integrates with the company's back office system, enabling files to be imported and exported directly to and from customers.
"The OneTime solution has enabled us to react quickly and efficiently to our customers requirements, without tying up our IT team", says Austin. Initially the company was using the solution to communicate with nine customers, and this has now been extended to sixteen. Some of the additional customers that are now using the solution have non-standard requirements, which would have proved to be particularly difficult to accommodate with the company's legacy system. However, with OneTime, Wesupply handled the complete on boarding process, allowing the IT team to focus on their core responsibilities. It was this ability to easily add new message types and on-board customers quickly that led to the decision to outsource their electronic trading to Wesupply.
OneTime has allowed Hozelock to consolidate their current customers onto a single EDI platform whilst also allowing them to meet electronic trading mandates from new customers without the need to develop, maintain and support an internal integration/mapping solution.
"Wesupply's fully managed, outsourced solution has removed the complexities of electronic trading from Hozelock, enabling the company to focus on the core objectives of their business," commented Jerry Quinn, Industry Director at Wesupply.
Hozelock now connects to sixteen of its major customers through Wesupply, which accounts for 70 per cent of the company's UK turnover. It is the company's aim to eventually connect with all their customers using OneTime.
Hozelock has realised many business benefits as a result of outsourcing their EDI requirements to Wesupply: The company can now respond rapidly to changing customer requirements; order entry errors have been dramatically reduced; customer service levels have significantly improved across the customer base; IT costs have been reduced and new customers can now be quickly and efficiently on-boarded to the system. In addition, Hozelock now has the ability to support non-standard customer requirements and new technologies.