Wolseley Slows IT Project, Following General Trends - Modern Distribution Management

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Wolseley Slows IT Project, Following General Trends

Recent survey found distributors may be interested in smaller IT investments right now.

Most MDM readers have seen the news that Wolseley recorded a large US$1.8 billion loss in its fiscal 2009 (1.17 billion in British pounds), which includes discontinued operations such as Stock. So it should come as no surprise that the distributor is slowing large investment projects (as many businesses are doing right now). This article from CIO Magazine looks at Wolseley’s decision to slow down its implementation of SAP across its business units globally in an attempt to conserve cash. It appears the implementation will continue in Wolseley’s U.S. subsidiary, Ferguson, with initial pilot testing later this year and a completed rollout by the end of 2010.
CIO reported that Wolseley planned to implement SAP foundations in the UK this year with 28 markets done by 2011. The reason: Wolseley has grown mostly by acquisitions, so needs a system to upgrade from the large number of legacy systems its businesses are currently operating on.
In a survey from MDM and Microsoft Dynamics (download the results here), nearly 93% of respondents said that technology was either critical or somewhat critical in implementing their strategic priorities over the next three years.
That said, just as with Wolseley’s decision to slow its SAP implementation, many large projects have been put on hold; not all but many distributors are looking to smaller upgrades to improve efficiencies. In speaking with various software providers, business intelligence programs seem to be on the top of distributors’ minds, as well as software that helps improve efficiencies in the warehouse or in transportation activities.

In the recent MDM-Microsoft survey, CRM, e-Commerce and Business Intelligence all ranked highly in distributor and manufacturer minds as key parts of implementing strategic priorities in the near future.

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