Integrating Global Operations
Electronic equipment manufacturer APW Ltd. (APW) wanted to create a more consistent, friendly buying experience for its customers, but with 20 different standalone systems at sites all over the world, it was hard pressed to do so. By investing in an integrated IT solution, the company has been able to enhance customer service while dramatically reducing costs.
The challenges of multiple systems
After growing through a series of acquisitions, APW found itself with 20 separate IT systems. This made it a challenge for the company to present a consistent face to the outside world.
"We wanted to give our customers the feeling that we are a truly global company," said Dennis Biederman, APW's Vice President of Global IT Services." APW operates in 22 locations throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. But because we had multiple systems, it was a challenge for us to respond quickly to a customer's requirements someplace else in the world."
A high percentage of APW's business came from a small number of global customers. Many of these customers wanted to be able to order a product in one location and have it shipped from another. If they ordered a product from multiple locations, they expected to use a consistent online interface.
"We really faced some challenges in making that one face to the customer work, and also in comparing apples to apples and tying the systems together," Biederman said. "We wanted to create a more customer-friendly experience."