Wolseley collaborates with Hitachi Consulting in supply chain transformation project

Hitachi Consulting, a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd and provider of consulting-led solutions and services, has entered into a new relationship with Wolseley UK, the UK plumbing, heating and cooling trade specialist, and part of Ferguson plc, the worldwide distributor of plumbing and heating products.

The project sees Hitachi Consulting working closely with Wolseley to help transform its supply chain using Oracle Cloud SaaS, PaaS and IaaS software, including its stock forecasting, distribution centre management, procurement and inventory management operations.

This project forms part of Wolseley's transformation announced in September 2016. When complete, the project is designed to provide the team with a single view of stock in addition to centralised planning and stock management functions.

"This initiative will help to improve the visibility and planning of stock across the entire Wolseley supply chain, making it more agile and effective," says Manish Popli, Vice President, Hitachi Consulting. "For example, the team previously had to hold buffer stock at each level of the supply chain so inventory was available to customers. With the new processes and supporting technology, Wolseley will have a much-improved ability to decide what inventory should be held where along with visibility across the network as goods travel to reach its customers - thus delivering better customer service and reduced operational costs."

Hitachi Consulting and Wolseley first started working together in March 2017, jointly delivering a successful proof of concept (POC) by June 2017, before beginning work on process design and implementation in August. During the POC, Wolseley evaluated the functional capabilities of Oracle Cloud solution, established collaborative ways of working with Hitachi and assessed Hitachi as their partner of choice and SI for this Oracle programme.

"Large organisations like Oracle and Hitachi have their own working cultures, and we needed to be sure that the strengths of both organisations would work effectively with Wolseley in this important project," says Jeremy Maxwell, Wolseley Chief Digital Officer. "This project needed flexibility, which we are delighted that Hitachi Consulting was more than able to provide. For example, one of my biggest concerns was going from a preparatory technical briefing to a board-level briefing for the same project, and Hitachi rose to the challenge and provided the right consultants to meet the occasion, helping us to make the project a success. As an Oracle Platinum and Cloud Premier Partner – as well as through the experience of the POC – we also knew that Hitachi had the right skills to deploy this technology in the best possible fashion for us."

"We chose Oracle for both its functionality and its roadmap," says Roger Connett, Wolseley IT Director. "As well as delivering the business outcomes, this project is critical to modernizing the IT platform and represents a key stage in reducing our dependency on our legacy platforms. The modular nature of the Oracle product set will allow us to deliver benefits, manage risk and build confidence in the strategy from the very start. It's modular nature also means we will be able to keep adding improvements in a block-by-block fashion without re-inventing the wheel further down the road."

"We've been delighted with the progress of the project to date," concluded Popli. "It's been a genuine pleasure working with Jeremy, Roger and the wider team and we've been pleased at how quickly the teams have gelled. Hitachi takes a long-term view of its relationship with Wolseley and we intend to work collaboratively to deliver successfully against the objectives set for the team."

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