Food Union Baltics
Order management system
Enterprises that grow mostly by M&A rather than organic growth, eventually face a wide set of IT systems in use, which are inherited from companies bought. Inability to unify process across the whole organization with the use of legacy systems is not a surprising result.
Our customer, Food Union Baltics have faced exactly the same problem. Its business consists of four plants in two Baltic countries – Latvia and Estonia. All of them have been acquired since last five years and only two of them share the same ERP system, but others are not. On top of that, although the business is more or less the same – FMCG – but details differ, different product lines exists – dairy, ice cream and frozen food.
In pursue to cutting costs and start cross-selling, a decision was made to combine order processing for all of subsidiaries under one roof, so call center operators can receive one order for all product lines. But establishing a single call center hadn’t solved the problem completely. Operators spent their time switching between different ERP for entering orders. One credit limit for a customer could not be established, as each system “knew” only of orders for its product line. SFA product vendors asked more money for a project which needs to be integrated with a number of sources. Even licensing problems arose: operators asked each other to quit one of the ERPs as it has a limit of user licenses and could not be simultaneousy open on all screens in a call center.
Two approaches exist for handling of this issue. First is to roll over a major ERP solution to all company sites. However, this could be a complicated and extremely money-consuming task, especially if acquired companies reside in different countries or represent different types of business with some different processes implemented, as our Customer has.
So, in our case, another path was chosen: to develop a custom-tailored app for call center, which will provide the best interface to the operator, giving her all the customer data in one place and a handy tool to enter customer orders.
First, a strong backend solution has been deployed. OroCommerce was chosen, as a powerful yet expandable platform for an order management task. Integrations with all ERP systems were implemented by using REST API and data transformers. Corporate telephony system has been connected by SIP interface. A new SFA solution have been plugged in to the new system, allowing field agents to posess the same data as call center staff has. Finally, a neat web interface (single-page application) was developed as a one-stop shop for every operator’s need.
The trickiest part of the project, and a nightmare for a data layer developer and test staff, was ERP integration: different data sets, different ways to manage even the most obvious data (like group packaging for products) existed in legacy system. So, this is what Codenetix gets its money for: tackling complex tasks “under the hood” for Customer to enjoy straight and simple business process running.
As reported, the project launch led to freeing up of huge amount of operators’ time – the sales order volume that needed sixteen operators now could be done (and is done) by just six. At the moment, the Client is planning to devote that time to trainings and later evolution of a passive operator to pro-active sales agent (for which task, by the way, analytics gathered within a new system would be useful). Moreover, license lack is not an issue now. So, given with that the project went on budget specified, one can easily name this a successful project, solving Cutomers’s problem.