Sheffield Insulations, a leading UK distributor of insulation and related materials, have recognised a potential time saving of 20-30% on regular branch sales activities. This is the first step for Sheffield Insulations to evaluate enabling their relationships with their hugely fragmented buyer market.
Sheffield Insulations have been working with Asite to explore the opportunities that ebusiness offers. They wanted to develop definitive evidence that receiving electronic orders from buyers could reduce administration costs, improve both order information and management resulting in a better service and greater value to both Sheffield Insulations and their customers.
Although Sheffield Insulations recognised the potential gains from integrating their systems in order to receive electronic orders they didn't want to attempt this until the technology had been proven and the benefits demonstrated. So they opted to use an Asite hosted supply order application to receive the orders from one of their regular customers, Fireclad. If this could be made to work, they would consider moving to the next stage of engaging selected customers in an extended pilot project.
Asite undertook a detailed analysis of the Sheffield Insulations processes from order receipt to processing invoices. The results of this review confirmed the potential to use the Asite supply order tool to receive electronic orders from customers, with minimal disruption or development.
Fireclad were identified as a suitable buyer to take part in a controlled pilot to prove the concepts of the hosted supply order tool, and demonstrate the benefits of the Asite buying tool, all connected through the Asite platform. A Fireclad specific catalogue was created from the Sheffield Insulations order management system. Asite hosted this catalogue on their behalf.
Fireclad raised purchase orders using the Asite hosted buying tool by logging on to Asite. Sheffield Insulations could then access these orders via the Asite supply order tool and Fireclad could check the order status and any updates, again via the Asite portal.
The Asite pilot solution provides notification when an order has been accepted, approved and delivered. Choosing products from a pre-populated catalogue rather than placing orders by phone, significantly reduces errors in interpreting orders.
The pilot showed a potential 20-30% reduction in time spent on branch sales activities, particularly on order taking and order status queries. Additional savings in routine sales activities could be achieved through direct order integration into Sheffield Insulation's back-office 'distribution' system. Realisation of these savings is dependent on several operational issues being overcome including developing suitable electronic catalogue content and enabling sufficient Sheffield insulation customers to do e-commerce.
The use of the Asite web based buying tool by Fireclad provided distributed access to purchasing information from 'Purchase Orders' through to 'Goods Receipt'. This improved access to information reduced procurement queries both on site, at Fireclad's head office and at Sheffield Insulations.