Frontline

Frontline manages dynamic distribution network and stays competitive with IBM® Sterling Order Management

Published on 29-Oct-2013

"Sterling really understands the order management cycle. Their product fit was key to a successful project and ensured no disruption to our business throughout the transition period." - Greg Hayden, CIO, Frontline, Ltd

Customer:
Frontline, Ltd

Industry:
Media & Entertainment

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Solution:
Commerce Solutions, Smarter Commerce

Overview

Frontline, Ltd. is the biggest sales and distribution company of mainstream magazine titles in the United Kingdom. Initially formed by the magazine publisher Emap (now Bauer Media), Frontline is now jointly owned by Bauer Media, H Bauer, BBC Worldwide Ltd, and Haymarket Media. Frontline sells and distributes more than 160 magazine titles, including 60 of the top 200 best sellers. With its sister company, Seymour Distribution, Frontline supplies nearly 7.5 million copies weekly across a network of more than 54,000 retailers, ranging from the biggest hypermarket to the smallest corner store.

Business need:
Orchestrate complex order processes supporting the creation and distribution of magazines to plan and budget.

Solution:
Frontline chose to replace its aging set of existing systems with Sterling Order Management, in order to gain order orchestration capabilities and global inventory visibility across an extensive publishing and printing supply chain.

Benefits:
• Offers flexibility to support rapidly evolving marketplace changes • Offers end-to-end stock management across the entire distribution network • Offers more efficient returns processing to enable predictable accounting • Improves systems sustainability reducing risk to the business

Case Study

Founded in 1986, Frontline, Ltd. is the biggest sales and distribution company of mainstream magazine titles in the United Kingdom. Initially formed by the magazine publisher Emap (now Bauer Media), Frontline is now jointly owned by Bauer Media, H Bauer, BBC Worldwide Ltd, and Haymarket Media.

Frontline sells and distributes more than 160 magazine titles, including 60 of the top 200 best sellers. With its sister company, Seymour Distribution, Frontline supplies nearly 7.5 million copies weekly (380 million copies every year) across a network of more than 54,000 retailers, ranging from the biggest hypermarket to the smallest corner store.

Business challenge
Until recently, Frontline operated in a traditional media market where business practices had remained unchanged for decades. Today, the media publications market (newspapers, magazines, and books) is under increasing pressure from digital media, such as e-books and a wide range of online resources. In order to thrive and compete in this new media landscape, the company acknowledged the importance of responding more quickly to market changes. In order to drive magazine sales in the most cost-effective way, Frontline required a solution that ensured they get the right magazines, in the right quantities, to the right shops.

The lack of agility resulting from legacy systems prevented Frontline and Seymour from meeting these critical business requirements. In view of their outdated home-grown solutions, Frontline and Seymour recognised the need to implement a new order management system that would constitute the nerve center of the business, to help streamline processes across both organisations. Frontline required a system that could handle orders across diverse locations, communicating with some 40 warehouses, and multiple distributor outlets.

Solution
With the magazine industry going through unprecedented change, Frontline needed a solution that would give them the flexibility to quickly exploit new business opportunities. Frontline chose to replace its aging set of existing systems with Sterling Order Management, in order to gain order orchestration capabilities and global inventory visibility across an extensive publishing and printing supply chain.

Sterling Order Management allows Frontline and Seymour to manage unified selected business processes – without having to pay for costly code changes – while still providing them with the flexibility to maintain their unique individual business practices. In addition, the IBM solution enables an easy-to-use returns process which helps ensure more predictable accounting. This capability is key in the context of an environment where up to 50 percent of the items delivered are returned.

Furthermore, they can be more creative with their stock holdings; this has improved efficiency across the entire supply chain. With complete visibility of all of their stock holdings across the entire supply chain, they are able to make more informed decisions on how and where they should fulfil orders. There are sourcing rules now in place that are based on specific business needs allowing the intelligent sourcing engine to automatically fulfil orders from the most efficient location.

Sterling Order Management provides Frontline the platform to dynamically adapt the structure of their supply chain as required by the marketplace, without negatively impacting their business. This is a significant improvement over the fixed and constrained system previously in place and is particularly important within the media industry, where the marketplace continues to evolve year-on-year.

Key benefits
Sterling Order Management has facilitated the efficient management of Frontline’s complex distribution network. Through the use of an intelligent sourcing engine, a central order repository, and global inventory visibility, Sterling Order Management has helped Frontline grow revenue by effectively orchestrating global order and service fulfilment across their extended enterprise.

By replacing their previous systems, Frontline was able to remove a huge risk to their business that had been caused by inflexibility. “With Sterling Order Management, Frontline is now more agile. Not only are we able to respond more quickly to market changes, it gives us a competitive advantage in the industry,” said Greg Hayden, CIO, Frontline, Ltd.

In summary, the IBM solution has allowed Frontline to become more responsive in a constantly changing industry. With this, the company is now able to change elements and scale as the business or marketplace requires.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
Sterling Order Management

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America July 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and Sterling Commerce are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at www.ibm.com/ legal/copytrade.shtml. The information contained in this publication is provided for informational purposes only. While efforts were made to verify the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in this publication, it is provided AS IS without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In addition, this information is based on IBM’s current product plans and strategy, which are subject to change by IBM without notice. IBM shall not be responsible for any damages arising out of the use of, or otherwise related to, this publication or any other materials. Nothing contained in this publication is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, creating any warranties or representations from IBM or its suppliers or licensors, or altering the terms and conditions of the applicable license agreement governing the use of IBM software. References in this publication to IBM products, programs, or services do not imply that they will be available in all countries in which IBM operates. Product release dates and/or capabilities referenced in this presentation may change at any time at IBM’s sole discretion based on market opportunities or other factors, and are not intended to be a commitment to future product or feature availability in any way. Nothing contained in these materials is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, stating or implying that any activities undertaken by you will result in any specific sales, revenue growth, savings or other results.