Success Story: Procter & Gamble

Building a solid B2B communication strategy with Axway B2Bi

  • Headquarters

    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Incorporate reliable, scalable B2B gateway to manage millions of order, invoice and shipment notification data flows; and improve business data sharing with all trading partners

  • Solution

  • Results

    • Streamlined order processing has decreased manual intervention and reduced costs
    • Near 100% uptime keeps supply chain in motion
    • Robust, high visibility data flow maintains efficiencies and partner relationships
    • Ability to onboard nearly any trading partner ensures fast, reliable electronic business transactions

“When P&G went searching for the right B2B solution, we discovered that Axway B2Bi fully addressed our key requirements for speed, agility and security.” 

The Company

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is the world’s largest consumer products company, posting net sales of $83.5 billion in 2008. Its business is divided into three global units: health and well being, beauty, and household care. P&G has 145 brands, such as Pampers®, Tide®, Gillette®, Olay®, and CoverGirl®, 23 of which are billion-dollar sellers. The company’s hundreds of products are available in 180 countries, and, three billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world.

Emerging Challenges

P&G’s acquisition of Gillette in 2005 created new capacity demands on its existing order and shipment systems — more than 800,000 order transactions must be processed per month for business to flow. Any downtime during order and shipping processes negatively impacts the entire supply chain — an especially threatening prospect in today’s economy. For example, if the ordering process is disrupted and orders are not processed on time for routing and delivery, a bullwhip effect occurs in the supply chain. This creates out-of-stock and overstock scenarios in the replenishment cycle throughout the partner community. These variances are costly, and can erode trading partner confidence and consumer satisfaction if left unresolved.

The Need for Speed and Agility

On average, over $200 million in orders flow through the Axway gateway daily, so the speed, quality, and control of file transfers are business critical. Prior to deploying the Axway solution in 1999, P&G handled their business-to-business (B2B) communications using dial-up phone lines with modems and the bisynchronous protocol — for a maximum business speed of about 14,400 bits per second. In practical terms, this meant P&G had to contend with:

  • Multi-hour transmission times when large volumes of data needed to be moved
  • No capacity for error recovery (for example, if a ten-hour communication failed at hour nine, the entire process had to be restarted from the beginning)
  • Low throughput speed and unreliability of batch processes initiated from an outdated mainframe environment
  • Insufficient security and visibility of transmissions
  • Having to fax business-critical documents to ensure delivery

Solution Requirements

With over 200 trading partners, P&G was in need of an agile and robust B2B solution for its trading partner community. In order to meet the increased demand for reliability, flexibility, visibility, and control of order sourcing, it was critical to adopt a solution that could provide full electronic trading partner connectivity. Additionally, with transactions coming from so many different sources, P&G needed to automate and streamline as much as possible in order to reduce error and increase efficiencies in file transfer. This in turn would allow staff to focus on value-added services rather than manually intervening to facilitate transaction flow and error correction.

The Solution — Axway B2Bi Gateway

P&G chose Axway’s B2B integration solution to manage the flow of order and shipment information with their community of trading partners. Axway Gateway consolidates P&G’s diverse B2B communications into a single framework, and allows P&G to easily and efficiently onboard and manage its trading partners. P&G’s entire supply chain is dependent upon reliable connections with suppliers and customers — if it goes down, the supply chain stops. To ensure reliability, P&G runs the Axway B2Bi solution in a true peer-to-peer networking arrangement with active failover between two data centers in North America and Europe. This architecture provides P&G with:

  • A scalable solution offering the highest possible levels of reliability, highavailability, and disaster recovery (i.e. if one site fails, the other site takes over, providing a seamless transition for partners, with no downtime)
  • Single-URL access for trading partners for full configuration transparency
  • Improved data flow that keeps partner profiles in sync no matter where they are located, and reduces maintenance overhead
  • Effective and easy trading partner community management via a consolidated point of entry
  • Monitoring of all B2B exchanges throughout the order and shipment cycle, including real-time visibility for timely exception handling
  • Safe, secure communications with trading partners, including full audit trails
  • Support for all standard protocols — Axway has developed or participated in the development of all major B2B communications standards

Results

In order to grow their trading partner community and gain competitive advantage, P&G needed powerful integration with back-end systems; rapid, event-driven throughput; and significant increases in reliability and uptime. They wanted all of this in a solution that was standards-compliant out of the gate.

Axway delivered. Axway’s solution has substantially strengthened P&G’s B2B capabilities, and provided a robust foundational platform for future workflow enhancements. Additionally, with the reduction in value-added network (VAN) connections and leased phone lines, P&G has saved significant costs over time.

“It was important to us to work with a vendor who was willing to adopt emerging standards early, and remain consistently standards-compliant,” says John Duker, E-Commerce Specialist at P&G. “When P&G went searching for the right B2B solution, we discovered Axway’s B2Bi gateway fully addressed our key requirements for speed, agility and security.”

With Axway, P&G was able to achieve higher efficiency, security, and visibility of file transfers, which improved communications within and outside the business. This, and the ability to add any trading partner, has helped P&G to extend its list of partners and augment relationships with existing partners. P&G is able to apply cost savings to its goal of improving the lives of consumers worldwide.

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