Seeburger, a global solution provider for cross-enterprise business process integration, has announced that Irish Distillers has selected the Seeburger Business Integration Server (BIS). BIS will provide Irish Distillers with a comprehensive integration capability to handle all current requirements as well as futureproofing the organisation for forthcoming requirements such as RFID and AS2 integration.

Irish Distillers is a subsidiary of the global drinks giant, Groupe Pernod Ricard. The company distils and distributes a range of famous Irish whiskey, gin and vodka brands worldwide, including Jameson and Bushmills. It distributes these products directly to retailers, including off-licenses and supermarkets, pubs, clubs and hotels, as well as indirectly through distributors and wholesalers.

John Kenny is Irish Distillers IT Director and he explains more about the companys business, We deal with our customers in a number of ways. We have a mobile sales force that can capture orders on customers site and a telesales operation that can receive orders by fax, email or telephone. We have also enabled internet ordering and, particularly for our larger off-license and supermarket customers, we can deal with customers via EDI.

Irish Distillers implemented SAP in 1997 and had been using an integration tool purchased at that time. Our previous integration tool was being phased out by the supplier and their suggested upgrade was by no means the only option available to us, says John Kenny, adding, We decided to review the available products in the market and select an integration system that could handle all the file formats our customers were using now and would also support our future objectives, particularly around AS2 and RFID integration.

He continues, Larger customers are always looking for the best way to streamline transactions, from ordering through to payment, and EDI gives them that. When we receive an order, our system needs to automatically integrate with their systems to ensure fast, accurate transaction management. We also need to be able to share product information with customers, such as future pricing and availability, and this requires seamless interfaces between our SAP system and our customers trading system.

Having an integration system that could handle the complex requirements of all customers was essential to Irish Distillers. Most of our customers use a common file protocol and the data looks similar. However, potentially, each one is different and as our relationship with them evolves we often end up with a different mapping. A key reason for selecting Seeburger was the inherent flexibility in the system. BIS can easily adapt to new protocols and this means we can deliver an integration solution for every single one of our customers, says John.

Requirements for the future are of key importance to the company. John Kenny adds, Our sister companies in France and the US have already implemented AS2 for key customers, including Carrefour and Walmart. Major retailers all over the world are driving the need for improved integration and supply chain efficiency and our own customers in UK and Ireland are also insisting we trade this way. As a major supplier, we have to be fully prepared to deal with customers however they want us to and Seeburger is a key factor in allowing us to deliver this compliance.

John Kenny is looking still further to the future and the fast approaching RFID technology. RFID requires a tag on each product that allows it to be traced from the warehouse through to the consumers shopping cart. This means providing a host of information in various formats throughout the supply chain. Seeburger provides the capability to integrate these tags with the various application elements of the supply chain and ensure the product is tracked accurately and quickly throughout the system.

He concludes, We looked at several options for our company integration strategy and selected Seeburger for several reasons. Firstly, the product itself is very flexible and easy to use and Seeburger demonstrated that it could cope with all file transfer protocols, including XML and AS2. Secondly, Seeburger has a very close relationship with SAP, ensuring we were getting an integration product that would be ideally suited to our existing IT infrastructure. Finally, we were really impressed with the knowledge and professionalism of the people. They were keen to answer all our questions fully and through their own presentations and access to reference sites, we were made to feel very confident that we had the best possible integration tool currently available.

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