ERP systems case study: William Grant

Michael Clark
Mon, Nov 26, 2012

Companies looking into implementing ERP solutions should consider the example of William Grant, the Scotland-based manufacturer of Glenfiddich Scotch, as proof that organizations can better manage inventory by keeping up to date on global customer behaviors. John Brown, William Grant's IT director and program director for global change, told CIO UK that the business model is especially susceptible to shifting customer demands because its operations stretch worldwide.

Brown said one of the biggest issues faced at the company was in establishing set guidelines for inventory management and spending tracking. The distiller's website lists 12 offices on three continents, in addition to the countless stores and distributors it works with around the world. With a global ERP system in place, William Grant can more effectively manage and track its assets across all continents.

"A large part of his challenge was to consolidate working practices," David Rae wrote in CIO UK. "Brown needed to establish a single set of definitions globally, so that the company can now adopt a common approach to how it manages expenditure, such as advertising and promotional campaigns."

The ERP solution was implemented not only to bring global operations together, but to also allow for greater collaboration among internal departments. Brown told the news source that the company's ERP solution gives interested parties access to data compiled across the company, from supply chain-related information to regional sales data.

The distilling enterprise needs to have such an overarching ERP solution, according to CIO, because of the nature of its business model. William Grant has some of the same concerns that a retail company might, such as constantly evolving customer opinions and shifting spending habits. However, regardless of whether a firm is involved with manufacturing or is consumer-facing, having an enterprise-wide system for tracking distribution is a key asset.

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