Too much choice can wreak havoc with a company’s IT procurement operation. With so many vendors and suppliers to choose from, organisations can soon find themselves plagued with over-lapping contracts, non-standard purchases and a costly paper trail.
To overcome such procurement challenges, many companies have opted to centralise their IT purchasing, which not only helps to streamline the process, but also promote greater IT standardisation.
When Pioneer Europe standardised the majority of its hardware on to HP products, it also partnered with Computacenter to deliver an online procurement and fulfilment service to more than 10 countries. As a result, Pioneer Europe has been able to reduce the complexity associated with its IT procurement, and decrease maverick buying.
The bespoke solution also supports the electronics giant’s move to a more standardised infrastructure, which will eventually enable it to simplify the management of its IT estate.
Prevent non-standard IT hardware from impacting the company’s productivity.
Implement a pan-European IT procurement system with standardised purchasing options.
Increased efficiency and centralised IT purchasing will help reduce the company’s overheads.
Pioneer’s relationship began in early 2003 and the current contract runs until 2006.
Pioneer has over 60 years’ experience of developing audio and video equipment, and employs more than 39,000 people across the globe. Its extensive portfolio of products encompasses digital versatile discs (DVD), plasma display panels (PDP) and in-car navigation and AV systems.
The company is committed to innovation, and bringing entertainment excellence to individual’s homes and vehicles. In Europe, these aims are fulfilled via a series of subsidiaries in more than 10 countries - including the UK, Germany and France - which are managed by the company’s European headquarters in Belgium.
IT strategy and procurement for Europe are also controlled via the operation in Belgium and the company is moving to an increasingly centralised model. As Steven Decanniere, central IT operations manager for Pioneer Europe NV, explains: “The structure of our European business had led to a decentralised IT infrastructure and purchasing strategy. As a result, our IT assets lacked standardisation, which was adding both costs and complexity to the support and management of our infrastructure.”
Increasing IT control
To help address these challenges, Pioneer Europe took the decision to centralise and standardise both its IT infrastructure and procurement process for new technology.
As a result of a tender process, Pioneer Europe selected HP as its preferred technology partner for Wintel-based servers, desktops and printers. “By standardising our hardware platforms, we are able to make our infrastructure much more interchangeable and flexible,” comments Joost Rommelaere, Manager of Pioneer Europe NV’s IT Competence Centre. “HP offered the best both in terms of price and quality, and has a proven track record in developing reliable technology.”
This, however, was just the first piece of the IT procurement puzzle. Pioneer Europe also needed to ensure that the HP hardware could be efficiently sourced and distributed to its 12 sites across Europe. “We needed a pan-European agreement that was both efficient and cost-effective,” adds Joost. “Computacenter is an accredited and established HP partner, and has the scale and resources to meet our current and future needs.”
As a result, Computacenter has been supplying Pioneer Europe with HP servers, desktops, peripherals and printers since early 2003. In that time Computacenter has shipped more than 6.500 (actual number 6.541) products across Europe. These products are ordered by the different subsidiaries via Computacenter Connect - a specialist e-procurement tool that enables customers to purchase IT software and hardware over the Internet.
The full Computacenter Connect catalogue contains up to 30,000 items, but many customers – including Pioneer Europe - opt for a bespoke version comprised of their regular purchases and core products. Yasmina Fadli, Pioneer Europe’s account manager at Computacenter, commented: “We hold monthly meetings with HP and Pioneer Europe to ensure the product portfolio is up to date, and reflects any specification or model changes.
"We have also developed bespoke bundles for regular purchases, such as a desktop package for a new starter, which are tailored to each country to ensure localised keyboards are provided.”
Computacenter Connect also helps Pioneer fulfil its objective of a standard IT infrastructure across Europe. “Computacenter Connect helps us control maverick buying, and has also made our IT purchasing more efficient and quicker by web-enabling the process. Procurement can be a drain on both IT resources and budget, so being able to simplify the process is extremely beneficial,” commented Steven.
In addition to streamlining IT procurement, Computacenter Connect also provides customers with additional services, which can help them monitor purchasing costs and track orders. It also enables companies to improve their intelligence around IT procurement and products, as Steven explains: “Our purchasing processes are now much more defined, and we also have better visibility of changes to HP’s product offerings, enabling us to make informed hardware choices.”
With Computacenter responsible for sourcing nearly a third of Pioneer’s IT hardware in Europe, it is essential that it can fulfil the company’s needs. “If procurement and distribution are held up, then time to desk can be compromised, which could impact business continuity and productivity,” comments Yasmina. “We therefore work closely with Pioneer Europe to forecast its needs, and reserve a certain amount of stock for them on an ongoing basis.”
Such safeguards have helped to ensure that Computacenter delivers a responsive and reliable technology sourcing service to Pioneer Europe, which orders an average of 272 products a month.
“We have a good relationship with Computacenter, and it is responsive to our needs,” comments Joost. “It has also proven to be very flexible, and we have been able to work together on making changes to improve our supply chain for IT hardware.”
This was first published in May 2005