Processing a significantly higher volume of orders at a greatly reduced cost using the Cisco Internet Commerce Applications.
Background-- Headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Unisys has more than 33,000 employees in 100 countries helping companies apply information technology to solve business problems.
Challenge-- The process for ordering networking equipment was a very time-consuming and resource-intensive one. Unisys needed an automated system that enabled the company to meet critical customer lead times.
Solution-- The Cisco Internet Commerce Applications lets Unisys rapidly and accurately configure, price, and order products. Unisys can also continuously track and monitor the status of numerous customer orders.
Results-- Unisys can now handle a significantly higher volume of orders at a greatly reduced cost. The company's ability to meet its deliver commitments with on-time shipments has won Unisys millions of dollars in new accounts.
Cisco Solution Helps Unisys Win Millions of Dollars in New Accounts
Headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Unisys has more than 33,000 employees in 100 countries helping companies apply information technology to solve business problems. Unisys solutions are based on a broad portfolio of global information services, including electronic business, systems integration, network services, and multivendor maintenance and support. The company combines these offerings with enterprise-class servers and associated middleware, software, and storage for customers in key vertical markets, including financial services, transportation, telecommunications, government, and publishing.
The company's Network Enable Logistics Department is responsible for the ordering and fulfillment of the networking equipment used in the Unisys solutions. According to Dave Allen, Logistics Manager for Europe, "We needed to greatly streamline the product ordering and tracking process. Our typical workflow involved a very time-consuming and resource-intensive process." He explains that a salesperson first sent the order to a service center, which manually input the information into the billing system. The order was then sent to Allen's group, which checked for configuration accuracy and any special discounts associated with the requested products. Allen's team then faxed the order to Cisco Systems.
"The entire process normally took three days and required duplicating the information," says Allen. For example, the bill of materials developed by the salesperson had to be input into the billing system at Unisys and then input into the manufacturing system at Cisco after the order was received via fax. "The numerous manual entries meant too many opportunities for errors," comments Allen.
Unisys needed a faster, more efficient ordering system that enabled the company to meet critical customer delivery dates. "Our salesforce markets products to specific lead times," emphasizes Allen. "It is vital that we meet our customers' expectations for reliable on-time deliveries." He adds that timely shipments also help Unisys project managers in their business planning activities.
Unisys Takes Full Advantage of The Cisco Internet Commerce Solution
The Cisco Internet Commerce Applications serve as the ideal solution for Unisys. "We can quickly configure, price, and order products with maximum confidence that the order will be efficiently and accurately executed," states Allen. For example, using the Configuration Tool, his group can easily specify the parts associated with particular routers in a multiple router order.
The Pricing Tool is also extremely useful for Unisys. According to Ron Methorst, Supply Specialist, "We now have fast access to the most current product prices." This capability also enables him to verify pricing that may differ from that on the company's printed global price list. The Pricing Tool also provides immediate information on the latest software versions and product releases. Unisys then submits the order directly into the Cisco Ordering Tool from an order-entry workstation. The orders are instantly validated by the tools, which transmit electronic verification and status feedback to Unisys.
These electronic notifications let Unisys know when the products are ready to ship and the date of actual shipment. "The system alerts us to the shipment date within 48 hours of placing the order," says Methorst. "This notification also allows us to confirm the shipping address and the pricing." He adds that by knowing when an order will leave, Unisys can expedite shipment if necessary for customers with tight delivery deadlines.
The Order Status Tool allows Unisys to continuously track and monitor numerous customer orders. As soon as an order leaves Cisco's European Logistics Center, Allen's group can view product serial numbers over the system. These numbers help to track the shipment until it reaches the customer site. In addition, once an order reaches its destination, the signed and dated "proof of delivery" sheet provided by the freight forwarder is transmitted to the online tools.
Unisys Meets Critical Customer Delivery Dates
The Cisco Internet Commerce Applications solution enable Unisys to handle a significantly higher volume of orders at a greatly reduced cost. "We now process up to 35 a day," says Allen. "This compares with only 10 a day processed previously." He notes that these orders can range from a shipment of $5,000 to complex product orders of more than $2 million. At the same time, his group has slashed the time required for processing the orders from several days to only two hours.
The substantially streamlined ordering process enables Unisys to more easily deliver products to specified customer delivery dates. "We have been able to reduce lead times by eight days," comments Allen. As a result, Unisys can meet its delivery commitments and satisfy customer expectations of on-time shipments. "On-time delivery is a key differentiator for us in the marketplace," states Allen. "Our ability to meet customer deadlines has won us major European and global accounts." He estimates that the new deals are worth millions of dollars to Unisys.