Ingram Micro Australia will be implementing a new SAP-based ERP system that will go live from January 31. It will also be making enhancements to its TechLink e-commerce portal.
The new ERP system is part of a global rollout and the distributor has engaged with Accenture on the project. So far, Ingram has adopted the SAP system in other countries including Chile, Singapore and New Zealand.
Local Ingram Micro marketing director, Grant Cleary, said the new system had been rigorously tested for several months in Australia, internally as well as with resellers and vendors.
“A lot of the preparation was spent on testing it and making sure it works,” Cleary said.
The distributor previously had a legacy Adonis ERP system in place, which is no longer commercially supported.
“Our current system wasn’t scalable and wasn’t going to have the capacity to do what we wanted it to do,” Cleary said.
Prior to the system going live, the TechLink site will be offline from 27 to 31 January. The current ERP system will also be shut down for transactional processing from January 28, while the switch to the new system takes place.
“We’ve been very clear to customers about the critical dates that this will be taking place,” he said.
The distributor appointed Lorraine Cowan as its dedicated SAP implementation director. Cowan also had a team in place that have been involved in the project implementation from across the business as well as external Accenture consultants.
Cleary said it had learnt key lessons from its New Zealand counterpart when it underwent a similar upgrade last year, which encountered a few problems. At the same time as upgrading its ERP software, Ingram in New Zealand also introduced a new e-commerce portal, Endeavour, which replaced TechLink due its incompatibility with the SAP software. But locally, it has been able to integrate TechLink with SAP.
“We’ve taken some lessons and we’re doing it differently to New Zealand,” Cleary said. “It’s a back-office system change, giving us better visibility of stock, forecasting, accounting processes and customer management.
“We want to minimise any disruption or inconvenience to customers.”
Cleary highlighted some of the lessons learnt from the New Zealand rollout included providing thorough staff training on the new system.
Belgium will also be upgrading its software system at the same time as Australia.
Locally, Ingram will be making some enhancements to its TechLink portal, which Cleary indicated attracts about 10,000 visitors daily.
He said it had recognised some areas it needed to improve and also sought reseller feedback.
“We spent a lot of time talking to resellers about what we could do better and how we could enhance it,” he said. “We realise that a lot of resellers, particularly small resellers, rely on TechLink to manage inventory and their own content management system.”
The enhancements include real-time view of stock availability, an enhanced product search capability, pricing and when the order will be shipped.
It will also provide a much more sophisticated reporting, providing the ability to create customised reports and queries.