Building sales and improving supplier performance

Jewson had a cumbersome supply chain management system that combined outdated manual entries, telephone calls and fax exchanges with suppliers. By using Wesupply's Electronic Trading solution Jewson increased sales, lowered inventory, improved stock turnover and gained better control of supplier deliveries.

Jewson prides itself on being the United Kingdom's leading supplier of timber and building products, with more than 750 branches. But while its growth from a single store in 1836 in Cambridgeshire was impressive, some of its supply chain operations looked more like the 19th Century than the 21st Century.

Manual entries - supplemented by telephone calls and faxes - were the only means of tracking orders to suppliers and their subsequent delivery to trading locations. An initial attempt by Jewson to modernise the system on its own was successful but it wanted far more.

Stephen Bacon, Jewson's supply chain director, said, "We knew what we wanted but found that we couldn't do it ourselves. We needed a seamless system of electronically placing orders, and then seeing when they were delivered. At the same time, we wanted to track how well our suppliers were meeting their delivery promises." Jewson wanted to accomplish those goals without adding the costs of additional information technology professionals, hardware or software.

Jewson got what it needed in the form of the Wesupply Electronic Trading and Business Activity Monitoring solution delivered through IBM Managed Services in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model hosted by IBM in Warwick and North Harbour. Wesupply, an IBM Business Partner, based its solution for Jewson on IBM OS/400, IBM WebSphere Development Studio and IBM iSeries servers.

Although a few other vendors vied for the Jewson business, what tipped the scales in favour of the IBM and Wesupply solution was that it was the only one offering SaaS. The SaaS solution enables Jewson to transmit orders electronically to its suppliers, who, in turn, use Wesupply to respond with acknowledgements and invoices. Consequently, Jewson knows the status of each order and can tell customers when the materials they are buying will be delivered.

"The system has resulted in increased sales, better stock turnover and lower inventory," Bacon said.

What's more, Jewson now has a complete picture as to how well suppliers are meeting their delivery promises, something that wasn't possible before. "As a result, we've enjoyed a 23 percent improvement in supplier performance," Bacon said. "At the same time, it helps us improve ourselves," he noted.

Jewson, based in Coventry, is part of the Saint-Gobain Building Distribution Group, a leading global building materials distributor.

Wesupply has been an IBM Business Partner for eight years, and it has based its offerings on IBM software and hardware since opening for business in 1999, said Simon Bowes, Wesupply alliances director. "We keep building our relationship and we are proud to have completed validation for the IBM Retail Integration Framework," Bowes explained.

"When we inform potential customers that IBM will host their applications, the name IBM takes the issue of security off the table. We tell them, "You don't have to worry about security. Your data is safer with Wesupply and IBM than it would be inside your own firewall," Bowes said.

Wesupply serves more than 400 customers across Europe, the United States and Asia Pacific.

IBM delivers complete hosting services
IBM is a worldwide hosting leader chosen by thousands of companies in all sizes to host their business applications and Web sites. By using the IBM hosting infrastructure - including networking security, operating system management, storage and backup and implementation methodology - technology providers like Wesupply deliver comprehensive solutions to meet their customers' business requirements.

The IBM hardened facilities protect against security breaches and natural disasters. Redundancy is built into the architecture, and IBM facilities provide a safe, controlled environment for proprietary information and physical assets. IBM Business Partners and their clients realise reduced costs, have access to technical expertise and can run at full speed 24x7.

IBM delivery of Software as a Service enables companies to achieve business functionality quickly and efficiently. Applications are delivered over the Internet with no upfront costs and with no need to install the applications on customer servers. The solution is hosted at an IBM data centre and companies can add services and users as needed. The Software as a Service model lets a company focus on its core business.


About Wesupply Limited
Wesupply is for companies who are looking to improve their profitability by challenging the cost, complexity and limitations of trading with customers and suppliers using traditional methods. Wesupply provides a managed service that connects companies to their business partners across an intelligent B2B Network, regardless of electronic standards and protocols. By subscribing to the service, companies receive a single, unbiased view of their extended supply chain network and the electronic messages exchanged. The solution enables collaborative control of their supply chain and allows rapid adoption of new multi-enterprise processes that deliver visibility and confidence internally and with their business partners. Unlike on-premise solutions, Wesupply is a flexible, low risk, rapidly deployable service to enable B2B supply chain innovation, and is used by leading companies such as Alstom Transport, Amcor PET Packaging, Atchison Topeka, Aqualisa, Bristan, Calor Gas, Cummins Generator Technologies, Cummins Turbo Technologies, Diageo, Graham, Jewson, Lear Corporation, Lafarge Roofing, Lion Nathan Pty, Vaillant.


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