Increasing overall productivity 80 percent while significantly cutting operating costs associated with the ordering process using the Cisco Internet Commerce Applications.
Background. Telstra Corporation Limited is the leading supplier of telecommunications services to Australians.
Challenge. The Telstra Purchasing Department faced major hurdles when placing orders for networking equipment. The manual process involved time-consuming, repetitive tasks that had to be closely monitored.
Solution. The Cisco Internet Commerce Applications quickly flag any configuration or pricing problems for Telstra. The Cisco online tools also helps Telstra streamline product ordering for multiple configurations in multiple countries.
Results. Overall productivity has jumped 80 percent, with Telstra now processing three times the orders previously generated. At the same time, the company has significantly cut the operating costs associated with the ordering process.
Telstra Meets Promised Customer Delivery Dates
Telstra Corporation Limited is the leading supplier of telecommunications services and has been in operation for nearly 25 years. A full-service telecommunications provider, Telstra uses a world-class national telecommunications network and provides a wide range of products and services.
The Purchasing Department at Telstra faced some major hurdles when ordering various pieces of networking equipment. Telstra's design engineers first sent specifications for the network devices to the Purchasing Department, which then generated a purchase order. According to Roger Ellem, Purchase Officer, "We had to spend substantial time deciphering the hand-written requests and then manually inputting the information into the purchasing system. The entire process could take up to half an hour, depending on the complexity of the order." A hard copy of the purchase order was then faxed to Cisco. Any problem with the requested configuration meant that the whole cycle had to be repeated. In addition, Ellem had to continually monitor the process to ensure that faxes had actually been received by Cisco. "We were embroiled in a time-consuming and cumbersome purchasing procedure," he says.
Telstra Places Orders through The Cisco Internet Commerce Applications
To meet the challenge, Telstra turned to the Cisco Internet Commerce Applications. After receiving the network specifications from the design group, Ellem places the order directly into Cisco's online Ordering Tool. "I use the Configuration Tool to ensure that the designers have configured the network in the correct manner," says Ellem. The Ordering Tool flags any problems with the order. For example, particular network cards or software packages may not work with a requested router configuration. If this occurs, Ellem uses the Configuration Tool component of the Ordering Tool to determine the workable cards and software.
Ellem then uses the Ordering Tool to place the order. "I use the pull-down menu to select fields for providing the purchase order number, shipping address, delivery date, tax status, and other information required for processing the order," he explains. "The system immediately lets me know if I have not correctly input data or if any data are missing. I can then quickly supply the requisite information."
The Pricing Tool is especially helpful for Ellem. "Sometimes the design team uses a price list that may be outdated," he comments. "I can easily download the correct prices from Cisco prior to placing the order." He notes that the Pricing Tool can be very useful for multinational maintenance orders. "A customer in China, for example, may need spare parts and engineering assistance for the next business day. I can rapidly look up the price for that customer's specific maintenance contract."
Ellem uses The Cisco Order Status Tool to track the numerous orders he places for Cisco networking equipment. "I can easily bring up all the invoices associated with large orders," he says. "This helps ensure that different pieces of equipment arrive at the same time." For example, if Cisco no longer has a particular network card in inventory in Australia, then the product must be shipped from the United States. "The system lets me track the delivery dates of all products on one order from facilities located in different countries," comments Ellem. "The system also notifies me if an order is going to be late."
The electronic ordering process lets Ellem streamline product ordering for multiple configurations. "If a customer needs 16 identical configurations for various sites, I simply save the first order as the standard one and then copy it for the additional sites," he explains. "For specific changes to the configuration, I call up the order using the customer's company name and the product number of the device to be updated throughout the 16 implementations."
Cisco Solution Supports 80 Percent Jump in Productivity at Telstra
The Cisco Internet Commerce Applications help Ellem substantially reduce the time required to process purchasing orders. "I can now process up to 30 orders a day," he says. "This compares with only 10 orders under the old purchasing workflow procedures." He estimates that his overall productivity has jumped about 80 percent as a result.
The Cisco Internet Commerce solution has also significantly cut operating costs for Telstra's Purchasing Department. By eliminating the manual generation of purchasing orders, by confirming correct configurations online, and by reducing the calls to Cisco for both configuration and tracking information, Telstra has reduced expenses by approximately $50,000 a year.
Perhaps the most important benefit for Telstra is the ability to meet customers' networking needs quickly and efficiently. "We take pride in meeting promised delivery dates," emphasizes Ellem. "The Cisco Internet Commerce Applications let us reduce lead times while ensuring a workable configuration. This greatly contributes to my peace of mind!"