Hills (ASX:HIL) has revealed details of the partnership with IT services provider, Cognizant Worldwide, which will result in a new e-commerce platform.
As the company had previously hinted in its annual report lodged with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on 29 August, Hills has been selectively outsourcing administrative functions to Cognizant.
The distributor said it is embarking on a digital transformation programme to revitalise its e-commerce capabilities and also improve core business processes, customer engagement, and operational efficiencies.
Cognizant will develop an e-commerce platform that will provide the Hills’ customers with 24x7 real-time inventory and self-service capabilities, including customer statements, invoices, pricing, online payments and delivery information.
The services provider will implement a managed service model to enable Hills to improve operational agility and lower costs, while re-deploying savings to fund investments in innovation for growth.
Hills, who closed the 2017 financial year with a net loss after tax (NPAT) of $7.9 million, a 88.4 per cent improvement compared to the previous year, plans to open a distribution facility in Seven Hills, New South Wales, as part of plans to control its own supply chain.
“The digital transformation initiative is integral to our ‘back to growth’ strategy,” said Hills chief executive officer, David Lenz. “The digital experience is critical in our endeavour to transform Hills from a product-centric to a customer-centric company.
“It’s an enterprise-wide transformation that will see Hills exit third-party supply chain arrangements early next year, to take control of our own supply chain – a decision key to the performance of the business,” Lenz added.
Hills expects to have its new e-commerce platform live in early 2018.
“We’re improving warehousing and dispatch processes to create a better buying experience, tailored specifically to the B2B market,” Lenz said.
Hills expects Cognizant’s expertise in systems, technology and business operations to help Hills to better compete in the digital economy
“Customers will see improvements in our level of service, our product range and our engagement in the market,” Lenz added.
“We improve consumer experiences with solutions that integrate human behaviour insights, digital strategy, design services, analytics, IoT services, cloud applications, and interactive content,” Cognizant head of Australia and New Zealand, John Burgin, said. “That — coupled with process expertise, technology modernisation, and as-a-service business model — will allow us to enhance brand differentiation for Hills.”