Company | Products & Services | Case Studies | Partners 
Home | Careers | News | Contact Us | Sitemap 
Brammer Industrial Services

Brammer Industrial Services Ltd (BIS) is a division of Brammer plc. It is Europe's clear market leader in the supply of bearings, mechanical and electrical power transmission, seals, gearboxes and value engineering services. The business continues to develop synergies available to the group as Europe's leading supplier of MRO products and services. Currently with an estimated 7% market share, BIS aim to take 35% of the European Maintenance Repair Operation (MRO) market for their products and services.
The goal is to be seen as local by customers in terms of sales and technical support, whilst at the same time, being able to operate more cost effectively than the competition as Europe's largest supplier of mechanical components and value added services.

"This is the first stage in the development of an integrated pan European operation. This was developed with the
close co-operation of each BIS business and netvoyager. The business input to the design of the system ensured
good business ownership from the outset. BIS achieved delivery of a major project on time and on budget"

Nigel Trend, Director of Business Integration
Brammer Industrial Services Ltd
Implementing a pan-European Strategy

As a platform for realising this goal, BIS had acquired a series of leading European industrial parts distributors in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Portugal. BIS employs over 2000 staff to service 105,000 customers through a 230 branch network. Between the four major national distribution centres and branch network BIS holds an inventory covering 500,000 product types.

BIS faces the challenge of transforming a collection of individual national businesses into an integrated pan-European industrial services business. This involves identifying the synergies available and the cost savings that could be achieved in key areas of the business such as purchasing, logistics and systems. One of the core objectives that evolved from this thinking was to achieve optimal customer service levels at the lowest cost by improving sourcing of products not held in stock, by making product held in one country visible and available to the others. The benefits of this strategy were clear:

Improve customer service levels by rapid sourcing of products from within the group for urgent customer requirements.

Meet market demands by providing a truly pan-European distribution service.

Reduce purchasing costs by providing an internal ordering process allowing BIS businesses to purchase product from each other before going to non-core suppliers.

Improve stock utilisation through internal purchasing and promoting the movement of provisioned and slow moving stock between the businesses.

Business Integration Without Interruption

A key challenge is that each business has a different sales order processing system and no common stock referencing approach. The traditional solution would have been to standardise on one system and attempt to implement this in all BIS businesses. In other words, replacing the existing systems and causing major upheaval to the businesses in the process. Brammer did not consider this a pragmatic option both from a cost and customer service perspective.

netvoyager proposed to implement a centralised inventory management system using a virtual product database that was available to all BIS businesses over the company intranet. Most importantly, the system would provide unification of the disparate product files without change to the existing back-end systems. The first implementation was to focus on the four largest European BIS businesses, in the UK, Germany, France and Spain.

Customer and netvoyager Partnership Breeds Success

In the first phase of the project we worked closely with product experts from each country to implement a product cross-referencing strategy. Considering the volume and diversity of stock, this was a serious undertaking that required innovation and ingenuity by the design team. Powerful product matching algorithms were devised and implemented to build the basis of the unified database using stock file extracts from each distributor. Then, joint workshops were held with the BIS product experts to find more matching patterns and identify exceptions.

Once the viability of the cross-referencing had been proven, a six-month project followed which was implemented within budget and was delivered a week earlier than scheduled. Throughout the project, we encouraged valuable customer feedback on the solution as it was developed to ensure that the delivered application was fit for business purpose. Due to the distributed geographic locations of the project stakeholders and the costs involved in getting together, we made beta versions of the application available over the Internet. This meant that customer representatives could review the software at a time suitable to them.

The final solution implemented the following functions:

  • stock availability search
  • stock transfer request and tracking facility
  • management information reporting
  • data administration of the unified stock database
  • user registration and sign on
  • user profile administration
Some notable characteristics of the application are also summarised below:
  • The application is multi-lingual i.e., the user interface is completely customised to the language of the local buyer. However, this does not mean that multiple versions of the software need to be maintained. The user interface is constructed dynamically using a set of language translations stored in the database according to the user sign on.
  • The application is multi-currency, currently supporting sterling and euro pricing.
  • Integration to email is used to provide alerts to users of the system when a stock transfer request has been received.
  • Email is also used to distribute online management information reports where the user has control over printing, saving or manipulating the data themselves.
Realising the Benefits of Business Acquisition

Since going live at the end of February 2002, the level of purchasing transacted using this system has been steadily increasing as the users see the daily operational benefits. This has encouraged Brammer Industrial Services Ltd to consider further developments to the system both in terms of functionality and by allowing more of the BIS businesses to transact on the system.

Looking forward, Brammer is also now in a position to more rapidly realise the benefits of future acquisitions.

Site last updated on March 20, 2008