Carpetright is on course to save £1m a year following the successful implementation of SAP for Retail in its head office.
The carpet and flooring retailer removed 12 legacy applications during its implementation of SAP for Retail, allowing it to cut costs through hardware and software consolidation, as well as terminated software licences.
Ian Woosey, Carpetright's IT director, said, "The applications we had ran on different platforms on different suppliers' hardware."
The consolidation and SAP implementation allowed process efficiencies within the company, he added. The finance department, for example, receives more than 70% of its invoices from suppliers via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and these can be automatically matched in SAP. Invoice matching was a manual process with Carpetright's previous accounts package.
Carpetright consolidated its hardware on Hewlett-Packard Itanium servers and a storage area network. The systems run from a single site in Rainham, Essex, with a back-up site able to run the retailer's systems in the event of a disaster.
Woosey was appointed IT director in late 2002 to lead the overhaul of Carpetright's systems, following the company's purchase of Carpetland, a chain of 90 stores in Belgium and Holland.
He put together a team of 20 people who spent more than a year working out how SAP would be implemented and whether business processes should be changed.
Woosey said, "It was a partnership between the consultant Axon, five people from the business and my own people. I put them in a building together."
In March 2004, Woosey started talking to the retailer's 14 biggest suppliers about the IT changes he was planning. Even though the SAP system would not go live for more than a year, the retailer needed its suppliers to prepare their IT systems so that its own changeover would go smoothly.
Having completed the SAP implementation in its UK and Ireland business, Carpetright plans to roll out its new IT framework to the acquired business later this year.
Carpetright also plans to replace its proprietary electronic point of sale system during the summer.