Customer trends make for new E-Commerce delivery model for RS Components

The electronic components distribution market has moved rapidly from a largely paper catalogue-based operation to offering customers the flexibility, access and speed of delivery they need due to the success of the internet.

The shift in how customers want to do business has opened up opportunities to grow the portfolio of products on offer, as well as to provide tools and services, such as on-line purchasing controls and detailed departmental spend reporting, that would have been impossible without the new delivery channel.

On the flip-side it created significant demands on systems which had grown organically and which had been stitched together to meet short-term tactical needs.

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The Client

RS Components is the world’s leading distributor of electronic, electrical and industrial components, with operating companies based in over 25 countries, including France, Italy, Germany and Denmark, with operations as far a-field as Chile, America and China, and distributes to over 160 countries worldwide, with annual turnover in excess of £800M.

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The Challenge

The traditional business model supported by RS Components relied on the distribution of costly paper-based catalogues on a bi-annual basis; this meant that flexibility in pricing and products lines was hindered by the timescales between issues. To address this, RS Components launched an e-commerce site to allow its customers to order on-line and benefit from sales promotions and updated product specifications, with the result that the web site traffic grew steadily as the customers decided they liked the more efficient and convenient access.

Within 6 months RS Components realised that the initial solution deployed, which was developed quickly by the in-house IT team and on a tight budget, was proving more successful than anyone had predicted. Revenues were increasing by 40% on a month-by-month basis and the team decided that investment would be required in the platform to meet the growth projections.

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The Solution

We were engaged by RS Components initially in their capacity as the UK’s leading training provider for JBoss and then as a consultant and trusted partner to devise an appropriate application architecture to support the growth plans. As users of a leading ERP package, integration was key as was a belief that the adoption of an SOA would enable the IT Team to provide the business with the agility it needed to react to new competition in their marketplace.

The project initially deployed a small team to work alongside the RS Components’ developers to build a low risk application as a proof-of concept and to deliver some skills-transfer style support to bring the team up-to-speed with the new development tools and deployment model.

This phase was so successful in demonstrating the robustness of the technology that the team was quickly expanded, using ‘virtual resourcing’ capability, whereby our resources are deployed as required to meet the peaks and troughs of the project resource needs and the project team began a wholesale re-development of the core e-commerce system and ancillary applications.

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The Benefits

The resulting application, which continues to be enhanced as new business opportunities are identified, is now based on the JBoss stack and uses many new leading edge technologies, based on a scalable and extensible underlying platform, whose capacity flexes to meet customer demand.

The newly created e-commerce business channel is continuing to see continued healthy growth for RS Components, shifting their business model from off-line to on-line.

Andy Holyoak, Head of E-Commerce Development at RS Components says, “The continued growth of the e-commerce channel is impacting the requirements and expectations of IT from the business and the adoption of an SOA approach has enabled our IT Team to provide the business with the agility it needs to react to new competition and challenges in the marketplace.”

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Why Advanced Business Cloud Essentials was chosen

Our unique position in the marketplace as the leading training and consultancy partner for JBoss, combined with a long history of delivering JAVA projects across a multitude of Application Servers positioned us well for the initial engagement. Our ability to provide highly skilled Business Analysts and Technical Architects at the design stage and to support the build ensured that the business requirements were clear and unambiguous for the build team and our flexible resource model allowed the project to be delivered quickly and cost-effectively.

Andy says, “The technical support we have received from Advanced has been key in allowing us to develop our new e-commerce application with Advanced acting as both a trusted partner and technical consultant throughout the process.”

The HBP GroupWho Are We?

Our organisation consists of three companies; HBP Systems Ltd. Kamarin Computers Ltd and Jugo Systems. HBP are based in Lincolnshire, Kamarin in Cambridgeshire and Jugo in Hampshire. Between us we cover the vast majority of the UK and work under The HBP Group name to provide a seamless service between our northern and southern offices.

We specialise in providing Cloud MRP software solutions which help manufacturers increase efficiency, reduce waste, delight customers, improve reporting and give them the time to focus on running their own business.

mrp and manufacturing software
mrp and manufacturing software

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