Bristan Group outsources B2B electronic trading requirements to Wesupply

Faced with the need to realise significant improvements in customer service and supply chain efficiencies, bathroom supply company, Bristan Group, took the decision to outsource its B2B electronic trading.

Bristan Group Ltd is one of the largest bathroom supply companies in the UK and is part of Masco Corporation, a world leading manufacturer of brand-name consumer products for the home improvement and new home construction markets.

The company identified a need to improve efficiencies in its customer order process by removing errors resulting from the manual administration of orders received via post, fax and email. Bristan Group elected to outsource its B2B electronic trading requirements to Wesupply, allowing connectivity to their customer base via a single platform which enabled greater visibility and control of their customer ordering process.

Errors are now captured early in the order process, before they impact upon performance, so reducing costs associated with the previous manual procedure, all of which allows the company to significantly improve customer service. The innovative B2B service has enabled Bristan Group to become more agile and to respond effectively to customer needs and changing economic conditions by quickly and easily extending the functionality to new customers as and when required.

The Challenges
With a growing number of key trading partners, Bristan Group was struggling with a highly manual process for receiving orders. The time-consuming process involved dealing with a mountain of paperwork and thousands of incoming fax orders, resulting in slow order processing and a large number of errors. In addition, the company was experiencing problems with its existing supply chain system. "It was unreliable and support was slow, often non-existent." Says Richard Evans, Head of IT & Customer Contact at Bristan Group Ltd. "The system lacked resilience to the changing conditions of the market and our customers' demands, as the lead time for on boarding a new trading partner was lengthy."

For each new customer wishing to trade electronically a great deal of time and resources were required within its internal IT team to facilitate these transactions, which was impacting negatively on the business' core activities. Furthermore, the lack of visibility of supply chain information across its customer base was resulting in poor communication with its customers due to slow service and inaccuracies in the information. Consequently, Bristan Group looked for a solution that would allow it to communicate more effectively with its customers, improve visibility of supply chain information, reduce errors, and speed the process of adding new customers and responding to changing customer requirements.

"Wesupply have made it easy for us to trade electronically with our customers. They take care of all the transactions and seamlessly on-board new customers without tying up internal resources, allowing my team to re focus on their core role," says Richard Evans, Head of IT & Customer Contact at Bristan Group Ltd.

The Solution
Bristan Group was looking for an outsourced solution that could offer the flexibility and scalability to bring on board customers using a phased approach, and that would offer a standardised method for trading with all customers.

"Wesupply's innovative B2B solution provides Bristan Group with a rapid and effective connection to its supply chain network. It delivers a low risk, easy to join and mature outsourced solution, allowing quick deployment of a more efficient and effective electronic trading process across their customer base," explained Jerry Quinn, Manufacturing Industry Director at Wesupply.

"It was easy to connect to Wesupply and required virtually no resource investment from us," explains Evans, Bristan Group.

Over a twelve month period, the company has rolled-out Wesupply's solution to all of its major customers, and is now exchanging invoices, purchase orders, acknowledgements, advanced shipment notifications and proof of deliveries easily and efficiently.

In addition, Bristan Group deals with huge amounts of paperwork and thousands of faxes, causing throughput on the fax gateway to be extremely high. Wesupply also provides the company with a 'fax-to-email connector' which allows it to trade electronically with many of its smaller customers who do not have EDI capabilities. This service is proving to be a great success and has had a significant impact on reducing administration costs.

"Implementation of Wesupply's B2B outsourcing solution at Bristan Group is enabling visibility and efficiencies across its customer-facing supply chain which was previously unattainable," states Wesupply's Jerry Quinn. "Bristan Group can now communicate confidently with its customers via a trusted outsourced solution, exchanging real-time supply data combined with a flexible and agile approach to complex business problems."

Bristan Group is actively working with Wesupply to collaborate further with its customers by implementing Wesupply's Vendor Managed Inventory functionality, and also to extend the B2B electronic trading solution to its external suppliers in order to exchange order and processing information electronically.

The Results
Bristan Group is now enjoying a reliable and easy to deploy solution which it can confidently use and extend across its customer base.

"We can take on new customers quickly and easily with reliable and professional support from the Wesupply team," says Bristan Group's Richard Evans. "Wesupply reacts swiftly to our requests, enabling us to be a lot more agile within the business environment."

Wesupply's enablement team takes care of on-boarding new customers to Bristan Group, without tying up the company's internal resources, allowing  the IT team to focus on their core responsibilities. The company is now realising many business benefits as a result of gaining increased control and visibility across its supply chain.

Key Benefits
.    Significantly reduced administration costs
.    Time to resolve invoice and order queries reduced by 200%
.    95% reduction in order admin errors
.    Improved customer service across entire customer base
.    Rapid on-boarding of new customers

"The immense success of the customer-facing outsourcing project has demonstrated how Wesupply could provide the benefits of enhanced business value elsewhere in the organisation. The visibility and control created with our customers could be extended to realise greater business efficiencies and management with our suppliers as well." Richard Evans, Head of IT & Customer Contact, Bristan Group Ltd.

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