Customer-facing Integration Demands a Better Approach

Integration-as-a-Service may be what your company has been looking for; here's a helpful guide


Demand-side IaaS in Action: Tradeplace Wins with Customer Integration

Tradeplace is Europe's first B2B joint service venture for household appliance and consumer electronics manufacturers. Composed of five leading enterprises' — BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgerate GmbH, Electrolux Major Appliances Europe, Indesit Company, Philips Consumer Electronics and Whirlpool Europe — the consortium represents nearly 60 percent of the European appliance and electronics industry, more than $65 billion in global sales and almost 370,000 employees around the world.

These manufacturers, like many of their U.S. counterparts, realized that integrating and automating business processes could significantly strengthen partnerships with retailers and customers, while dramatically reducing operating costs. However, they realized it would be expensive and challenging, as individuals, to integrate many small chains, thousands of individual retailers and several large buying groups. They also understood that success would result from lowering barriers to network participation and expediting retailer adoption.

"We truly wanted to get closer to our retail partners and customers, but without putting stress on our and their already-busy IT departments. The solution that the Tradeplace consortium chose has made it possible for the retail partners to connect quickly, efficiently and seamlessly," said Giorgio Piotti, G.I.S. director sales & marketing Europe, Whirlpool Europe S.r.l , one of the founding Tradeplace consortium members. "Once connected, the retail partners can download product catalogs, place orders, check availability, pricing and order status, receive shipping notification, and many other electronic messages with the different Tradeplace members as if we are one. This immediately generates savings and reduces complexity on both sides."

"Tradeplace is important because, for the first time, manufacturers are working together for the greater good of the retailer and consumer," said Richard Ambler, manager, extended warranty at John Lewis Department Stores. "Now, with 90 percent of our manufacturers able to deliver real-time information, we can give our customers firm availability and delivery dates. This is a truly remarkable improvement, and our sales figures reflect it."

  • The Vision

  • The Solution

  • Integration services — to support virtually any transport, messaging standard or protocol used by retailers; manage end-to-end transaction processing; and analyze transaction activity in depth
  • Infrastructure services — to provide a platform designed to ensure maximum levels of security, reliability and performance
  • Professional services — to onboard demand-side partners quickly and easily while supporting daily integration community operations such as change management
  • Connection "kit" — to enable even small retailers to connect with and test the integration hub in fewer than three days
  • TradeXML — to deliver industry-specific XML that would reduce integration complexity while meeting the community's unique needs

  • The Results

"This solution was exactly what Tradeplace was looking for," said Fabio Ciarlantini, business process manager at Indesit Company. "The integration concept was sound, and the vendor delivered the support, knowledge and expertise that enabled us to get up and running in a short time. We're still bringing our customer-facing partners onboard, and the service has continued to live up to our expectations."

Continuing Evolution

Business integration across enterprises has traveled far since the days of simple electronic data exchange and flat file transmission. Next-day, batch-oriented processes aren't good enough in the current economy. Rapid response is critical, and companies that can operate effectively in this environment will reap the rewards of higher profitability and greater customer loyalty.

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