Managing over 1.3 million products from 8,900 vendors, Blackwoods is Australia’s large player in the Industrial and Safety Products segment. With an annual turnover in excess of $1.2 billion, Blackwoods is part of the Wesfarmers Group, which includes companies such as Bunnings, AE Bakers, Atkins Carlyle, Protector Alsafe, Fenner, Paykels and Mullings.
Industry renowned for their printed product catalogue, the A4‑sized book comprises over 1,700 pages of high‑quality colour content. Historically, the cost of producing the publication exceeded $15 million, requiring 16 full-time staff dedicated to the project for 2-3 years. Unfortunately, the data and effort expended could not be re‑used for the CD‑ROM or Web catalogues. These processes were outsourced and the product data was stored externally by advertising agencies.
Blackwoods are able to produce both their printed and CD‑ROM parts catalogue from the same data source, the iICE system. Furthermore, the Web catalogue is also powered the way, without having to maintain a separate database through an advertising agency.
In using the iICE Product Data Manager solutions from Innovit, Blackwoods have automated its labour-intensive processes with a centralised product information management system, and simultaneously delivered enterprise-wide access to comprehensive product information.
Blackwoods deployed the iICE PDM system with three objectives:
*Cleanse and centralise all the disparate product databases across the enterprise.
* Deploy iICE so that employees can produce industry‑specific catalogues on demand.
* Synchronise product data electronically with suppliers to enhance electronic trading along their supply chain.
Blackwoods now has the ability to manage large volumes of product information, and produce customised editions of their catalogues faster than ever before. The ability to produce tailored catalogues for different market segments is no longer cost prohibitive. Time‑to‑market has been reduced by over 60%, from three years to one.
Starting in 2006, Blackwoods will start to implement data synchronisation processes with their suppliers that will see supplier catalogues flow electronically and seamlessly into the Blackwoods catalogue system. This will eliminate the manual re-keying of product data currently taking place. In turn, it will enable almost real‑time supplier-managed catalogues, providing Blackwoods with the accurate industrial products data pool in Australasia.