Bantex is part of an international conglomerate, Groupe Hamelin, which manufactures, markets, and distributes stationery for office, school and home use. For more than 40 years, Bantex has been known for high-quality office products at affordable prices. Bantex is also known as a leading supplier of ‘green’ products. It was the first company in the world to manufacture environmentally friendly lever arch files without the use of PVC.
”In the year 2000, we had a major fire and our production facility almost burned down,” comments Klaus Afzelius, Managing Director of Bantex Denmark. This led Bantex to a number of important decisions: to move production to a different location, build a new distribution center and examine its IT requirements more closely. Bantex Denmark has a growing workforce of 64 current employees and develops, manufactures and markets office, school and hobby products for professional and private consumers. From its distribution center in Lynge, north of Copenhagen, the company’s extensive product range is shipped to more than 60 countries around the world.
IBS SCM software to the rescue
The old system was cumbersome and complex with numerous tailor-made functions. Order processing was very slow and stock forecasting inflexible. With many new product groups planned, Bantex realized it must find a state-of-art supply chain solution that would grow with the business. The company looked at several suppliers before choosing the supply chain management software, IBS Enterprise. To quote Klaus Afzelius, “IBS SCM software is an excellent fit for office supplies companies like Bantex. The consultants really understand our business and we felt that IBS was keen to create a long-term partnership.” Bantex purchased a wide range of modules including procurement software, sales order management software and warehouse management software through to financials and business intelligence.
Globalization and expansion
Companies like Bantex are expanding across regional and national boundaries and must have supply chain systems that can handle the demands of multi-currency trading. With implemented solutions in over 40 countries, IBS proved its experience in handling many different currencies. ”Being able to cope with all the currencies we use was the icing on the cake for us,” says Afzelius. Globalization continues to have a major impact on the office supply industry, as it has on all other industries, with acquisitions and mergers occurring all along the supply chain. As more companies expand global operations, their requirements for information and information exchange become more complex and critical. The ability to connect and use information on a wide scale is now an absolute requirement; therefore Bantex needed an application that could hook up different systems and applications.
The best solution for Bantex’s integration requirements was IBS Integrator, a powerful tool for systems integration, business process tracking, data management, data replication and synchronization. ”IBS Integrator has simplified our business by providing complex power in a solution that is simple to use,” comments Klaus Afzelius.
Improved service levels with Inventory Control software
Bantex needed to make reliable decisions on which products to stock, when and how much to replenish. The old system was inflexible, which led to inaccurate fill rates and service levels. The company now makes considerable use of IBS Inventory Control control. This module allows Bantex to make the correct decisions about stock replenishment, improving efficiency and profitability. ”Since installing IBS Inventory Control software we are now forecasting the right product, in the right place at the right time, and our service levels have improved considerably,” explains Afzelius.
International MDC supply with flexibility
Its international operations have led Bantex to make extensive use of the IBS Multi Distribution Center software. This enables products, which are classified as global or regional, to be supplied from alternative distribution centers or manufacturing units, even if they belong to other group companies. This creates a more flexible supply situation and helps overcome problems such as local shortages or long local lead-times. When deliveries of global and regional products are made between differing legal companies within the group, IBS software automatically performs order handling, invoicing, distribution and financial transactions between the companies.
The IBS Corporate Data Maintenance component helps to streamline business processes. This means that redundant functions such as maintaining corporate files and tables can be identified and removed, allowing Bantex to maintain and transfer data more efficiently. IBS Corporate Data Maintenance is built on the concept that corporate data such as items, account files, and customer files are maintained at one company, and are automatically made accessible to all other companies within the group.
The result of a development by Groupe Hamelin is the creation of digital notepads, which leverage the power of Anoto-technology. This technology entails interpretation and transmission of handwritten text and images and is based on a special digital pen and paper printed with a pattern that is invisible to the eye. Advanced image processing and a complex infrastructure allow anything written on the paper with this pen to be transformed to digital media. This innovative product led to Bantex and IBS developing a new way of processing the sales orders that are taken at customer sites by Bantex sales representatives. Previously, these orders were hand-written on pre-printed stationery and then keyed into the sales order system before processing. This procedure was extremely laborious and prone to manual errors.
Now, the moment orders are confirmed, IBS software is automatically updated using Bluetooth via a Cellphone directly to a central data hub. “Using the digital notepads, no more re-keying of orders is required and our clients are very impressed with the speed and efficiency of deliveries,” says Afzelius.
With excellent working examples on show, IBS and Bantex are keen to help other companies leverage this complex but simple-to-use technology.