Pilkington embarks on £10m IT consolidation

Glass manufacturer Pilkington has embarked on a £10m global server consolidation programme that it expects will create savings of...

Glass manufacturer Pilkington has embarked on a £10m global server consolidation programme that it expects will create savings of more than £300,000 a year in Europe and bring more savings across the rest of the world.

The rationalisation programme follows Pilkington's decision to use Dell as its single hardware supplier. Previously, multiple hardware suppliers were used, and the move will cut server support and purchase costs.

Pilkington is reducing the number of servers in Europe from about 1,000 to 800 and plans to make similar cuts in the rest of the world, where the company operates another 1,000-plus servers.

The consolidation project will support a £40m global roll-out of SAP, which will provide the company with a single ERP system covering 50 sites, introduce common business processes and allow it to put much of its business online. In the US, a third of Pilkington's business - worth $150m (£92m) - is now conducted over the internet.

Steven Pownall, Pilkington's group IS director, said the SAP roll-out would enable a common set of processes to be used across multiple business units and provide a common basis for comparison. It will also enable shared service centres for HR and financial applications to be set up.

"By putting in a single set of processes and having one way of doing things we can benchmark countries against each other," he said. "It provides tremendously powerful information and allows no hiding place. We cannot quantify the return on investment but it is easy to point to what it was like before and what it is like now."

The company's manufacturing systems have been made visible to suppliers of raw materials, with deliveries being automatically triggered and changes made to payment records.

The SAP roll-out has been completed in the UK and Belgium and work in Poland, France and Spain will be completed this year.

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