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
Media & Entertainment
Commerce Solutions, Smarter Commerce
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.
Orchestrate complex order processes supporting the creation and distribution of magazines to plan and budget.
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.
• 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sterling Order Management
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