Building broader EDI capability

Following an acquisition, plumbing, drainage and water management suppliers, Wavin, was faced with the need to consolidate its customer facing EDI. The solution was not to merge the existing systems but to move to an outsourced managed service.

Wavin is a UK supplier of water management, plumbing, heating and drainage systems for the Building, Construction and Utilities markets. The company's product portfolio includes well known brands such as OSMA, Hepworth, Hep2O, Thermoboard, Intesio and Certus.

In 2005 the Wavin group acquired Hepworth Building Products, which was later merged with Wavin in the UK, giving two independent EDI systems for exchanging transactional data with its customers. As part of the rationalisation process Chris Mallabone, Wavin's IT Applications Manager, was faced with the challenge of either merging the two separate EDI systems or finding an alternative solution. After careful analysis of the costs and options available - and taking into account the amount of work required to combine the two systems - the decision was made to look for a new solution.

Both Wavin and Hepworth were early adopters of electronic trading technology and so were fully aware of the many benefits that come from automating the exchange of transactional documents, such as orders, invoices, credits, ASNs, remittances, statements and order acknowledgements. The efficiencies gained by automating these processes and the elimination of re-keying and human errors made the rationalisation of the EDI systems an important element of the company's customer service offering. Maintaining continuity of an error-free service for customers was essential, so ensuring that a robust, secure and cost-effective solution was found became the focus.

As the two companies had experience of trading with Saint-Gobain through the Wesupply EDI platform, there was a good existing relationship with Wesupply. 'Our experience in working with Wesupply was very positive and we knew it was an established EDI solution with excellent credentials and a firm foothold in the Building sector in fact, most of our customers  were already connected to the Wesupply network,' says Mallabone.' A cost benefit analysis of moving to their OneTime managed services solution looked very competitive, giving a one year payback on the cost of implementation.'

Value was a key factor in Wavin's decision to outsource its electronic trading to Wesupply and the scalability of the OneTime solution allowed a measured approach to connecting customers. Initially eight customers were connected to OneTime, with a concentration on the high volume accounts. The company now process 84 per cent of order lines electronically via OneTime, with the potential to easily extend the functionality to new customers as and when required. By moving to a single platform that is fully integrated into Wavin's ERP system, the company has gained far greater visibility and control over the customer facing side of its supply chain, giving it the agility to respond quickly and efficiently to customer demands.

'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 Mallabone.

Moving to a single electronic trading platform, operated as a fully managed outsourced service, has delivered significant benefits to Wavin, from reducing the costs and complexity of running two separate systems, to fast and scalable on-boarding of new customers giving visibility to transactional activity and the agility to respond quickly to customer demands.

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