With products sold through 101 divisions, each with diverse approaches to selling and fulfillment, Parker was concerned that the fragmented approach was frustrating customers and limiting efficiency.
A new e-commerce platform offers customers a unified way to browse and purchase products; integrated order orchestration helps Parker ensure a seamless ordering process, from purchase to fulfillment.
Offersa unified buying experience to boost customer satisfaction and sales
Improvesinsight into inventory, orders and customers, driving smarter decision-making
Opens upa larger market for Parker and drives more business to distribution partners
Business challenge story
Turning complexity into opportunity
When you manufacture hundreds of thousands of products across dozens of divisions, and sell them through a network of thousands of distributors, how do you cut through the complexity to provide customers with a seamless purchasing and order fulfillment experience?
This was precisely the challenge facing manufacturing giant Parker, as Bob McAdoo, Vice President, Worldwide Business Systems, explains: “We are a very decentralized organization, made up of 101 profit and loss [P&L] units, which effectively operate as independent business entities. Most of our customers purchase products from multiple divisions, but as different units tended to go to market individually, and all had different order management and fulfillment systems, it led to a fragmented and, at times, frustrating, customer experience. We also lacked a single view of customers, inventory and orders across all our global divisions, which created inefficiencies around stock management, fulfillment and marketing activities.”
He continues: “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. 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.”
Shaping smarter selling and order orchestration
Parker embarked on a wide-ranging effort to unify order management and fulfillment across multiple channels, products and sub-brands, and business units. A new e-commerce platform will offer customers a single view of products from all of Parker’s manufacturing divisions, and will allow them to place one consolidated order and receive a single invoice.
Bob McAdoo gives an example: “Previously, if a customer was looking to buy valves, for instance, they might have had to interact with four separate divisions. Today, we can present that same customer with a single view of all the valving solutions that we offer, so they can quickly find the products that are most relevant to their needs, all in one place.”
To complement its new e-commerce capabilities, Parker is rolling out a global order orchestration framework, enabling it to receive, ship and accept returned orders from anywhere. Tight integration with the company’s warehouse management environment will help ensure a seamless, end-to-end ordering process—from purchase to picking and fulfillment.
Bob McAdoo explains how the new approach works: “Once a customer has placed an order, it is passed on to our order orchestration system, where it is broken down into its constituent SKUs [stock-keeping units]. The individual order components flow through to the back-end systems of our relevant business units, who then pass the orders on to the appropriate third-party distributors for fulfillment. The result is that our customers get the experience of interacting with ‘One Parker’, while, behind the scenes, each of our business entities can maintain its unique processes and ways of working.”
The integrated approach to order orchestration is designed to support a smooth and satisfying experience for Parker’s customers.
Bob McAdoo notes: “In the past, if a customer ordered components from different divisions, they would receive a unique supplier number for each of those divisions. 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 superior experiences
Parker is building a single source of truth on inventory, orders and customers, giving teams the fast, accurate insight they need to optimize inventory control, and to drive more efficient order allocation and sourcing, and to maximize sales and marketing efforts.
Bob McAdoo comments: “We now have better visibility into inventory and orders across our global supply network. This clarity helps us optimize stock levels to reduce inventory carrying costs, and ensure that orders are fulfilled in a timely, accurate manner, which in turn boosts customer satisfaction. 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. 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 smoother shopping experience, and helping teams all over the world to process and fulfill orders a fast, consistent way, Parker is steering its business to new success.
“We are making it easier for customers to do business with us than ever before, and empowering our teams to service those customers more efficiently,” says Robert McAdoo. “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.”
He concludes: “We have only scratched the surface of what is possible with improved selling and order orchestration. 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.”
Parker Hannifin Corporation
Parker Hannifin Corporation is the world's leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems. Parker employs approximately 50,000 people in 50 countries globally, and reported annual sales of approximately USD11 billion in fiscal year 2016.
Take the next step
To learn more, read the Forrester report, “The Total Economic Impact of IBM Sterling Order Management”