Turning Supply Network Complexity Into a Competitive Advantage

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Discover how one company delivered superior CX with improved order management

Manufacturing giant Parker Hannifin Corporation had a problem. It had dozens of decentralised divisions making hundreds of thousands of products and selling them through a network of thousands of distributors. With a supply chain this complex, Parker was concerned that its approach was fragmented, frustrating customers and limiting efficiency. And it lacked a single view of customers, inventory and orders across all its divisions, which created inefficiencies around stock management, fulfillment and marketing activities.

“We wanted to act as ‘One Parker’ and present a single face to our customers, making it easier for them to find and purchase the products they wanted, regardless of which divisions they were buying from,” says Bob McAdoo, Vice President, Worldwide Business Systems. “And we looked to enable this while allowing individual units to maintain the high level of local control and entrepreneurship that has been so critical to Parker’s success.”

Selling smarter and optimising order orchestration

To unify order management and fulfillment across multiple channels, products and sub-brands, and business units, Parker launched a new e-commerce platform. In it, customers get a single view of products from all of Parker’s manufacturing divisions and can place one consolidated order and receive a single invoice.

To complement the platform, Parker rolled out a global order orchestration framework that enables it to receive, ship and accept returned orders from anywhere. Tight integration with the company’s warehouse management environment ensures a seamless, end-to-end ordering process – from purchase to picking and fulfillment.

“In the past, if a customer ordered components from different divisions, they would receive a unique supplier number for each of those divisions,” McAdoo explains. “With the new approach, we can provide customers with a single supplier number, which removes a great deal of complexity and allows them to enjoy a much more straightforward ordering process.”

Delivering smoother experiences for customers

Parker’s improved visibility of inventory, orders and customers gives its teams the fast, accurate insight they need to optimise inventory control, drive more efficient order allocation and sourcing, and maximise sales and marketing efforts. “We are also gaining a more holistic view of how customers interact with Parker across brands and divisions, as well as their complete purchase history,” notes McAdoo. “Armed with this insight, our marketing teams can develop more targeted campaigns, while our sales reps can seize new opportunities for cross-selling – all of which will help Parker to lift sales and revenues.”

By providing customers with a superior shopping experience and helping teams all over the world process and fulfil orders a fast, consistent way, Parker is steering its business to new success. Now it’s both easier for customers to do business with them, and their teams are empowered to service those customers more efficiently. “As a result, we are opening up a much larger market for Parker products and driving more business to our distribution network. It truly is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” says McAdoo.

“We have only scratched the surface of what is possible with improved selling and order orchestration,” he concludes. “We are excited to see what the future holds as we work to drive even better business performance and shape a customer experience that is second to none.”

Read the Parker Hannifin case study. To learn more how IBM can help you streamline your supply chain, visit the IBM booth at Gartner Customer Experience & Technologies Summit 2019. Explore more about IBM Watson Supply Chain Order Management.

Field Marketing Manager - Watson Platform, IoT, WCE

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