Case study

Sterling Commerce simplifies multi-enterprise collaboration

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Sappi Fine Paper North America, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, is the leading manufacturer of coated fine paper in North America, with an annual capacity of approximately 1.2 million tons of paper. Some of the industry's most well known and requested brands originate from their mills, including McCoy, Opus, Lustro Offset Environmental and Somerset.

Business Challenge

Creating efficient and effective multichannel collaboration, while automating the handling of customer orders and fulfillment was a challenge SAPPi was looking to solve. SAPPI needed to improve several business processes, such as connecting with their customers, making it easy for customers to do business with them.

The Solution

Sappi has used Gentran Integration SuiteTM (GIS) since 2002 to integrate its front-office processes with back-office system environments. Using GIS, Sappi has achieved a multi-enterprise SOA that allows the company to respond rapidly to changing business and technology environments. In addition, GIS has facilitated a sustainable business architecture that ensures secure, reliable movement of information across its external community and within its internal organization. SAPPI has been able to leverage GIS to produce flexible business processes that adapt to the needs of their various partners, while allowing key internal systems, like SAP to remain stable. Marjorie Boles, Systems Integration Manager for Sappi Fine Paper North America, said GIS is their company's face to the marketplace, while SAP is their internal management system.
"GIS has allowed us to incrementally grow a service-oriented architecture environment that is our foundation for business process flexibility." Sappi is using GIS to improve several business processes, one of which is connecting with customers no matter their technical expertise. "We'll never ignore customers who haven't made an investment in a solution regarding integration," Boles said. "We'll support whatever message formats they use to do business, whether that's traditional EDI, XML, or a spreadsheet. We had a partner in China who could do no more than a spreadsheet. We said, ‘That's fine,' because we knew GIS would allow us to integrate a spreadsheet and automate our internal handlings of that business." Boles said GIS provides the toolkit, and their IT team provides the innovation and ingenuity. "It's all about business process modeling - you pick services, you take adapters and you use capabilities within the toolkit to create innovative processes for your business." Since 2003, the only resources Sappi has had are its own. "That's a testament to the strength of the tool set," Boles said. "It enables deeper dialog with our key customers. We worked with a printer who was having problems receiving our product and getting it out to the customer - we used GIS to solve the problem. The client was excited because the efficiency within their operation has drastically improved. This was vitally important as they do a significant volume of business with us." Bob Wittstein, CIO and VP of Procurement, said Sappi is constantly working with customers to understand their needs and create solutions. "We're not technologists and don't have a desire to be. We do have a desire to be the best paper company in the industry - the one that offers the best customer service available. Whatever it takes technologywise, we're interested in pursuing."

Key Benefits

GIS has made multi-enterprise collaboration easy for Sappi, resulting in several key operational and business benefits: Improved Responsiveness to Customers Sophisticated business-to-business integration with customers Ease of use for customers to do business Enhanced Automation Business rules and process automation can be applied to any transaction with GIS Increase in Productivity Order automation has grown from five to 67% Reduced costs due to automatic error checks and exception flags "In our particular market, we are a leader in service-oriented architecture," Boles said. "We use GIS to show that it enables any kind of language, protocol or standard for business-to-business communications."


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article 2007-11-27T12:15:00.000Z
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