Business process perk: Costa Coffee reengineers order taking, debt management using Epicor enterprise system

Costa Coffee is reporting many benefits out of a newly completed phase of a major business engineering project that uses Epicor Enterprise from Epicor Software Corp. to help maintain strong growth within its Corporate Sales Business.<br/>


Costa Coffee , a brand within the Whitbread Group PLC , has successfully completed a key phase of a major business engineering project that uses Epicor Software Corp . to help maintain strong growth within its Corporate Sales Business.
The new capabilities are expected to help the business continue the double-digit yearly growth rate of its roasting, sales and logistics, which supplies coffee and a full range of branded signage, cups, and merchandise to more than 2,500 hotels, universities, hospitals, leisure centers, airlines, ships, pubs, bars, and restaurants in the U.K.
"Costa Coffee was originally founded on its National Accounts business and continues to grow alongside our retail group," says Bob Wilde, head of systems for Costa Coffee. "As one of the oldest parts of our business, the National Accounts division has systems that have been homegrown over a number of years. In 2006 we started a strategic project to look at ways to streamline and improve this business to enable us to keep up with the growing demand we are experiencing.
"We have been an Epicor Enterprise customer for a number of years and the first phase of the project was to look at our requirements and evaluate whether Enterprise was suitable to the task," Wilde continues. "It quickly became clear that Epicor Enterprise was the best system to achieve our goals, but we needed to step back and make changes to our core processes around order processing and account management, as well as defining new key performance indicators (KPI) for the business, to fully use the enterprise solution."
The upgrade to Epicor Enterprise version 7.3.6 began in late 2006 and introduced several new interface modifications, as well as more timely and actionable business intelligence. "We effectively removed a number of wasted steps in the order-taking process, which now is less prone to errors," explains Wilde. "We also restructured the general ledger to improve searches and used the new business intelligence tools to create more meaningful reports to support debt management and produce our new KPIs."
Wilde looks at the upgrade as essential in the context of the sector. "The business is on course to double over the next few years and to meet that demand we need the latest in systems that fit our specific purpose while offering upgradeability in key areas."
One such area is electronic communication and customer interaction. "One of our very large local government accounts requires us to deliver connectivity via EDI. Enterprise 7.3.6 will enable us to provide this to them, as well as to an increasing number of other corporate customers who recognize the value of reducing transaction processing cost with suppliers," Wilde says.
The last phase of optimization and minor modifications based on user feedback is currently under way and due for completion over 2008.
"Overall the project has been deemed a tremendous success," claims Wilde. "On the systems side, we are in a very solid position and our faith in Epicor has proven to be well founded, as we have a very strong platform to grow over the next few years."

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