Paperlinx—Customer Case Study: PlannerView

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IBS PlannerView Key to Paperlinx's Evolving IBS Solution

Company Background

Paperlinx is a public Australian company and one of the largest paper merchandisers in the world. Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, Paperlinx has offices in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, where it is the largest paper merchant on the continent. Paperlinx’s trusted partnership with IBS concentrates on Europe, specifically in the UK, the Benelux, Germany and the Republic of Ireland. Paperlinx also has an outlet in Denmark and recently opened a new outlet in Sweden. In addition to selling paper, Paperlinx also sells packaging and visual technologies, such as advanced digital printers.

Relationship with IBS

After acquiring new companies in 2004, Paperlinx decided to consolidate its European operations onto a single IT system. During 2004-2005, the company evaluated a number of providers and performed a three-day proof of concept period in the Netherlands; executives from 17 countries participated in the review. In early 2006, IBS Enterprise was selected. The initial rollout occurred in the Republic of Ireland, affecting about 60 users. After the trial proved successful, Paperlinx expanded deployment into two German locations, followed by one of its UK merchants, before adding the Netherlands and Belgium, where three companies were outfitted; since then, a merger consolidated the Dutch and Belgian entities into one operation. The system at that point served about 750 users, while further deployment was postponed due to pending process improvements.

IBS PlannerView Key to Paperlinx’s Evolving IBS Solution

PlannerView is a powerful, adaptable, Windows-based, graphical planning and information management tool within the IBS Enterprise system that allows users to analyze, optimize and balance workloads and production capacity across the enterprise. While using IBS Enterprise, Paperlinx employees experienced the power of PlannerView and immediately saw its potential to improve the company’s widespread operations. “It’s the best kept secret of IBS,” said Paperlinx business intelligence specialist, David Gallagher.

PlannerView is designed to process combined data sets across multiple order lines in real-time (such as information associated with different colors, styles or orders). For instance, with PlannerView, users can view all order lines at once, quickly spotting items whose margins have dropped below a certain defined percentage displayed in red. A double-click opens other specifics on the order, presenting a variety of valuable data at the operational level. In this way, PlannerView accommodates data from various sources and combines the information into a single view. Paperlinx originally experimented with this capability in their warehouse and finance operations, determining to expand the use of PlannerView to other company applications.

Expanding PlannerView Across the Organization

With the original IBS Enterprise installation operational, Paperlinx adopted a virtual server environment to share the system across all of their IBS-enabled companies, impacting about 500 users. PlannerView is used in Benelux, Germany, UK and Ireland, in finance, logistics, purchasing and customer service applications; Benelux also uses PlannerView for manufacturing activities. The company worked closely with IBS to accomplish four significant outcomes in expanding PlannerView across the organization:

Develop custom panels for unique Paperlinx operations

PlannerView manages and presents information within the context of work panels, presenting as many as six panels on-screen at any given time. The basic application includes more than 500 pre-defined panels grouped to address more than a dozen business roles. Paperlinx deployed a broad selection of these, modifying most of them to satisfy specific Paperlinx operations within the working set. Several were custom developed internally using the script files provided, to describe the content and available actions of each panel to meet the unique needs of various companies and users within the organization. In all, Paperlinx developed nearly 100 panels and subpanels, and continues to modify the system and share resources companywide.

Reduce processing time in key task areas

PlannerViewSince expanding the use of PlannerView across its IBS user base, Paperlinx has experienced significant time savings. For instance, one sales panel shows all open and held sales orders in the system, providing at-a-glance insight into “hold reasons” for faster problem resolution. Because report data is instantly updated within the system, actions, such as releasing field orders, can be made on-the-fly based on the latest information, versus navigating multiple system screens to achieve the same outcome apart from PlannerView.

By condensing various work processes into PlannerView panels, Paperlinx estimated that several hours per day had been saved during one recent warehouse process demonstration. This was especially evident when moving goods from one route to another, or freeing up sales orders due to credit status. The ability to simply view the necessary data on a single screen and make a decision cut several hours out of a process that would otherwise require viewing several screens and accessing several databases to complete. In addition, because the system queries the right data at the right time in relation to a business function, errors and missteps have been all but eliminated. The quality of the net action is improved as a result, and automatic data refreshes, with system reminders, ensure nothing is lost in the process.

Improve customer satisfaction through proactive service

Using PlannerView, Paperlinx has taken customer service to a new level. For example, if an order gets blocked due to a certain credit status, the warehouse receives immediate notice that the threshold for delivery may be in jeopardy, and the customer can be notified for prompt problem resolution. Likewise, if a sales order comes in late, being able to process the order on a single screen in minutes versus the better part of an hour can make the difference between meeting the end-of-day delivery schedule and having to bump the order to the next day’s delivery cycle. As a result, more goods get delivered on time and the warehouse receives its goods sooner.

Maximize the value of IBS through the full implementation of PlannerView

PlannerViewIntegrating the operations of multiple subsidiaries, sharing multiple internal databases, as well as an external SQL server database, demands close coordination. Given the chance to do it over again, Paperlinx executives admit that they would have rolled out their original IBS Enterprise solution with a broad PlannerView deployment from the start. The expansion of PlannerView across the Paperlinx footprint provided company decision-makers a combined view of their various data, within the context of customized work panels, thereby improving service, processing time and the quality of company decisions. As an independent data extraction tool, PlannerView gives Paperlinx the power it needs to achieve a host of otherwise complex work processes quickly and simply. Whether merging stock with pricing information, or viewing the combined logistics of three companies on a single panel, PlannerView enables a more accurate, synchronized approach to Paperlinx’s global manufacturing, warehouse and distribution business.

About IBS

International Business Systems (IBS) is a leading global integrated ERP and supply chain distribution software solution provider. For more than 35 years, we have helped customers such as Galexis, Sigma, Rexel, Maxell, GE Lighting, Marangoni, WorldPac, MacFarlane Group, Scholastic Editions, Fidelitone, Totes Isotoner, Volvo, Goodyear, Skil, Oriola, Inotech and many more streamline, automate and accelerate their distribution network processes, and drive profitability and efficiency. For more information, please visit www.ibs.net.