Tulip is one the largest suppliers of cooked meats in the UK, providing a range of products such as fresh pork, bacon and sausages, pies, canned and cooked meats. The company’s bestknown brands are Danepak, Plumrose, Spam and Stagg. Owned by the Danish Crown group, Tulip is a £1.2 billion business in the UK in its own right and has 18 manufacturing sites in the UK - some of which are dedicated to the requirements of a specific supermarket group. Tulip International was established in 1990 through a merger of Normeat, Danepak, Jaka and Tulip, and in 1998 became wholly owned by Danish Crown, which is the largest pork producer in Europe and the biggest exporter of pork in the world. In 1999, Vestjyske Slagterier (VJS) and Danish Crown merged. As a result, Tulip International took over the processing business of VJS and Danish Crown, which reinforced Tulip International’s position in the domestic and international market.
With a customer base of leading supermarket chains,Tulip has not surprisingly been a long-established advocate of B2B e-commerce. Tulip exchanges invoices, price lists, ASNs (advance ship notices), orders, forecasts and debit notes with trading partners. As a business, Tulip has grown by acquisition and, until recently, B2B trading was managed by five different divisions of the company, each with its own long established processes and procedures for managing electronic trading with customers. Tulip set out an ambitious two-year project to rationalise this legacy structure, overhaul and update it to provide a more manageable, consistent and effective way to manage electronic trading. The drivers behind this project were numerous. Fundamentally, there was a need to align across the business while taking out manual processes wherever possible. The legacy systems were proving expensive to maintain and there was a desire to initiate contract rationalisation and take this cost out of the business. In particular, the existence of multiple platforms and systems meant a need for the company’s IT function to support a range of technologies, and Tulip wanted to streamline this aspect of IT and move to a consistent platform.
Tulip has consolidated all its B2B trading onto a single platform in the form of GXS Trading Grid. GXS Trading Grid is a global B2B e-commerce and integration platform that supports the creation and adoption of on-demand supply chain management solutions for companies of any size. As the world’s largest electronic business community, GXS Trading Grid is used by more than 30,000 companies to exchange key business transactions for goods and services, gain visibility into global logistics operations and to synchronise product data.
Many companies have grown by acquisition as a result of consolidation in a particular sector. For some of these companies, consolidating their B2B operations remains a missed opportunity as those acquisitions have led to a spaghetti of different systems and processes that translate into inefficiency and unnecessary cost. Tulip provides a powerful example of how smart thinking can get to grips with this challenge and lead to a simplified and streamlined B2B infrastructure that provides better resilience at less cost to maintain.
A major achievement is that the different divisions of Tulip are now aligned around a consistent and standardised set of processes. The company has successfully moved to one way of managing invoices and one way of accepting orders, for example, and the benefits of this have rippled across the entire business. There have also been measurable benefits in IT. In the words of Simon Delahunty in Tulip’s group operations and IT support: “From an IT perspective, this has allowed us to get out of fire fighting mode and build a new level of resilience and security into the simplified and standardised B2B platform. As a business, we take huge pride in the quality of our customer service, and our B2B trading systems are now finely tuned to this business goal.” At a business level, the company also saw the value in consolidation - moving to a single way of doing things has improved the ability to service the customer and so sharpened Tulip’s competitive edge.
GXS is a leading global provider of B2B e-commerce solutions. . Organisations worldwide, including more than 70 per cent of the Fortune 500, leverage the on-demand services on GXS Trading Grid to extend supply chain networks, optimise product launches, automate warehouse receiving, manage electronic payments and gain supply chain visibility.
For further information, visit: www.gxs.co.uk