Success Story: Société Financière de Distribution (SFD) B2B

Automation, improved logistics, transparency and security with Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) from Axway

  • Headquarters

    Puteaux, France
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Growth requires upgrade of architecture, plus stability, dependability, security and automation of business  processes. Highly competitive environment requires accurate and timely provisioning of stores

  • Solution

  • Results

    • Fully automated supply chain management
    • Improved logistics and delivery times
    • Service transparency and measurability
    • Superior security means zero downtime
    • Improved management of stock
    • Superior SLAs

“We have strong internal commitments to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the consumer and enterprise sales teams, and Axway’s solution enables us to meet these commitments. This way, sales personnel have all the tools they need and they can focus on providing a quality experience to the customer.”

 

EAI for Business-Process Automation in Retail Distribution

Société Financière de Distribution (SFD) is a retail distributor of mobile telephony for SFR, the largest privately owned mobile operator in France. With 300 stores nationwide, SFD operates the largest network of “Espace SFR” shops in France. “Espace SFR” shops sell mobile handsets, accessories, telephone service, internet set-top boxes and connectivity. The shops also provide associated services such as insurance for lost, stolen or broken handsets. In this highly competitive market, SFD offers the latest in mobile technologies, and offers extensive product information to its customers. This quality-of-service sales approach results in customer satisfaction and loyalty to the “Espace SFR” brand.

To keep ahead of demand in this quickly-evolving market, the IT Department at SFD has installed an information system based on new technologies for business-process automation. In 2003, SFD chose Axway to provide its EAI solution with the Synchrony platform. 95% of data flows are processed and dispatched through Synchrony, making it the most essential system in the company. It manages the daily flows to and from SFD’s 300 points of sale, to and from SFD’s ERP system, the flows to and from the Business Intelligence system, and intra-corporate exchanges with the mother company SFR. It also processes the flows for article referencing and pricing, delivery requests, electronic banking transactions, HR, web and intranet product catalogues and more.

When the Axway system was first implemented in 2003, there were 20 different file formats. Today, the system manages over 120 different formats.

Automatic Provisioning for 300 Points of Sale

Every evening after the “Espace SFR” stores close down the cash registers, the Axway Automator (formerly XOS Scheduler) begins extracting the day’s transactions. These transactions include sales, returns, stock moves, inventory, delivery receipts, and financial transactions. This data is put into a single file which is sent to Axway Synchrony Platform over a secure network. Synchrony uses a connector to enrich the ERP with this data. The ERP then transforms the file and extracts each data type to issue invoices, merchandise orders, stock movement reports, inventory reports, delivery receipt reports, exceptional orders, and monetary transaction reports, among others. Once this data is received, the ERP analyzes stock requirements for the stores and issues delivery requests to the logistics company which are sent through Synchrony for provisioning the points-of-sale. To calculate the automatic provisioning of the stores, sales data is analyzed for the preceding weeks. “The stores do not need to place orders as the system manages automatic provisioning. However, all of the data must be received in a timely manner, 24/7. Deliveries of merchandise to the stores, as well as inventory, would be incorrect if we missed a single day of sales data,” stated Badani.

SFD’s logistics partner manages stock and delivers merchandise to the stores. When the logistics company receives the delivery requests, SFD is not concerned with simply receiving a delivery request receipt back, but rather confirmation that the delivery requests have been integrated into the logistics company’s system. SFD’s logistics partner uses Axway Sentinel to report back to SFD. Axway Sentinel is also in place at the points-of-sale. Once again, SFD is not concerned with just receiving a receipt notice for files sent from the ERP, but rather notice that the ERP file sent via Synchrony was received and integrated into the store’s system.

“Axway’s Synchrony is the critical entry point at SFD. All of the data flows that go through Synchrony contain essential information enabling end-to-end management of the stores right down to the calculation of sales commissions and salaries.”

Competitive Intelligence

The data flows from the point-of-sale also feed the Business Intelligence system via Synchrony. The BI system does not require the same data as the ERP, so Synchrony extracts, reformats and transmits only the data the BI needs. The BI system manages the points of sale through finely tuned analysis of the sales data. Nearly one hundred dashboards are generated by Axway Sentinel to visualize the data in detail by store, by sales person, by segment and so on.

Pricing information is updated and sent to the stores through Synchrony. This is another critical data flow as it enables the points-of-sale to be quick and competitive. The pricing data arrives during the night via Synchrony and it is automatically integrated into the stores’ referential database.

When the store personnel arrive in the morning, they check for pricing modifications and print out new price tags before the store opens. New models of mobile handsets and their accessories are delivered to the stores, and these articles are referenced and priced in the stores’ catalogues, thanks to Synchrony.

Visitors to the “Espace SFR” are counted as they enter the stores. This information is also sent via Synchrony to the BI system for analysis. Store personnel collect local market data on hand-held devices and this information is equally sent via Synchrony for market analysis. The information is accessed by marketing personnel on the company intranet, and it is used to define specific campaigns.

The data from the point-of-sale is also transmitted via Synchrony to the parent company and the central point-of-sale server which hosts transactions from all of the stores nationwide.

“Axway’s Synchrony is the critical entry point at SFD. All of the data flows that go through Synchrony contain essential information enabling end-to-end management of the stores right down to the calculation of sales commissions and salaries,” added Badani.

“We use Axway’s Synchrony products to assemble an end-to-end and robust EAI solution. Transfer CFT, Integrator, Sentinel, Gateway and Automator are all operating at SFD. Some of the modules such as Sentinel, Automator and Managed File Transfer are also running in the stores and at our partners’ premises.”

An Early Adopter Ensuring Quality of Service

SFD has built information systems enabling the company to adhere to the service quality requirements set forth by its mother company SFR. SFR strives to offer enhanced quality services to its customers and SFD provides the means for its employees located in 300 stores around the country to be proactive in a highly competitive market.

SFD has always been an early adopter of new technologies and the company was one of the first complete Synchrony Platform customers in the retail distribution sector. SFD was already using Axway’s Managed File Transfer solution when the IT department began looking for an EAI solution. SFD found in Axway a full solution providing all the modules required for mission-critical business automation. “We use Axway’s Synchrony products to assemble an end-to-end and robust EAI solution. Transfer CFT, Integrator, Sentinel, Gateway and Automator (formerly XOS Scheduler) are all operating at SFD. Some of the modules such as Sentinel, Automator and Managed File Transfer are also running in the stores and at our partners’ premises,” said Badani.

As SFD’s business grows, data flows have become more numerous and more complex.The Axway system acquired in 2003 needed to be updated and enhanced. SFD has begun this migration in close collaboration with Axway. The future architecture will be comprised of two Synchrony servers for load balancing, with enhanced security and prioritization of data flows. On the new system, application supervision will be extended and enhanced, and new dashboards will also be put in place with Sentinel.

SFD is also selling to enterprise clients as SFR has entrusted some of its B2B business to its subsidiary. Enterprise business creates new data flows that will be put into place between the CRM application and the ERP.

“We have strong internal commitments to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the consumer and enterprise sales teams, and Axway’s solution enables us to meet these commitments. This way, sales personnel have all the tools they need and theycan focus on providing a quality experience to the customer,” concluded Badani.

“We have strong internal commitments to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the consumer and enterprise sales teams, and Axway’s solution enables us to meet these commitments. This way, sales personnel have all the tools they need and they can focus on providing a quality experience to the customer.”

About SFD

SFR is a European mobile telephony provider of telephone services, handsets, dataservices, and internet connectivity to consumers and enterprises. In 2008, SFR’s sales were 1.9 billion Euros. It has 10,000 employees located in France and 19.3 million mobile telephony clients.

SFD is a retail distribution subsidiary of SFR that owns and operates 300 “Espace SFR” shops in France.

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