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Ciconi Ltd

 

Industry : Mail Order fulfilment
Scenarios : Business Operations

 

Company Profile
A well-established UK player in the fast growing mail order fulfilment marketplace


Situation

The 12-year-old company has experienced continual expansion across the UK as a provider of mail order services to a select group of high profile publishing customers. The company had switched its main infrastructure to Windows 2000 on the advice of its IT partner Anglia Business Solutions. This was to take strategic advantage of the e-commerce capabilities of the .NET product range. The company has ambitious plans to harness the power of the Internet as a further channel to providing management information.


Solution


The solution involved the deployment of a Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 infrastructure to provide the core IT platform. SQL 2000 Server provides the core back office solution. The system now provides Ciconi’s clients with secure access to a wide variety of on-line facilities. It has also spawned a new direct sales model where the company can exploit its market leading position in the mail order fulfilment sector.

 

Benefits

Ciconi has significantly reduced their administration costs while improving the services provided to their client base. In addition, the solution has enabled a new line of business to be launched facilitating future major e-commerce growth potential.


Ciconi Ltd

Windows 2000 Web Based solution provides Ciconi Ltd. with a massive e-commerce opportunity
Ciconi originated from Stork Postal Services that was formed in 1989.The Company established its reputation by using its expertise in helping clients succeed in the highly competitive mail order sector. The company deals with a number of key clients in the publishing industry. Ciconi’s aim is to provide a quality service and exceed customer expectations whilst maintaining a pleasant working environment for its employees.


Ciconi Ltd. realised that targeted technology was the key to managing successful growth. The requirement was a solution that provided a flow of information across the company about what was really happening to their customers and their products. The key was to ensure that the selected system supported all operations in ensuring timely deliveries of quality products.


A totally integrated SQL 2000 based solution provided the base for an e-commerce system that provided customers with improved access to information and opened up a further channel to market for the company. Working with Cambridge based Anglia Business Solutions the company deployed a state of the art e-commerce system tailored specifically to meet the needs of the business. The system has helped to radically improve the company’s image and efficiency leading to a significant increase in its market profile.


Company background

Ciconi Ltd was established in 1989 and is a privately owned mail order fulfilment organisation. The company has developed a range of highly professional services in the field of mailing, fulfilment, IT, data entry, print and design.


The key to its success is the partnering approach with clients designed to assist them to succeed in the highly competitive mail order market place. This frequently involved providing exceptional administrative support services designed to reduce the clients’ paperwork while providing them with timely and accurate information.


The Business Need
The company needed a flexible, powerful, modern company wide business management system capable of meeting its very specific requirements. Apart from the normal financial reporting requirements, the system also had to cater for a number of discrete applications specific to the clients industry.


Ciconi selected the Windows 2000 BackOffice system as the platform of choice based on its combination of powerful functionality, integrated development facilities and ready-made e-commerce tools. As Managing Director Elisabeth explained, “We were very impressed with the scope of the .NET based technology. As a high tech company we understood the design concepts of the system. However, it was the integrated development environment that really appealed. We needed a mail order fulfilment system that precisely matched a major client’s way of working. The development facilities were key to tailoring the solution to meet these very specific needs. Once this was delivered, we could focus on reducing our internal administration costs while providing the client with unparalleled access to relevant information”.


Once the complete solution was deployed and refined, the benefits became obvious. Operating from one central system, as opposed to a variety of databases, meant that data duplication was greatly reduced. It also meant that client management had immediate access to vital business trends and were able to react to what was going on in a fast moving environment. However, the second aspect of the platform that appealed to Ciconi was its inbuilt e-commerce capabilities.


“The integrated Microsoft based e-commerce facilities was also a key factor in our decision to adopt the concepts inherent in the .NET philosophy” said Elisabeth. “We were conscious that these would provide us with further significant efficiency improvements as operating on-line became a more accepted business practice. It would provide us with a seamless way of working with our suppliers and clients as well as opening up further market opportunities for our products and services. We also recognised that we would have to adopt an e-business operating model if we were to fully realise our market leading potential. The powerful development facilities incorporated in the SQL 2000 database ideally met our needs as a solution that would work for us”.


The e-Business Solution

The e-business solution had to cater for two main requirements; providing access for the client for placing orders on line, and viewing stock and management information such as order status. The main requirement was for Ciconi to have all client's ordering 'writing' back into the main Ciconi systems, thus enabling much faster turnaround for order fulfilment and dispatch. The solution required the experience of stringent manual practices being converted into e-business solutions ensuring that the client received the best possible service along with high integrity information. Successful implementation of e-business solutions into Ciconi has been achieved because of the willingness by everyone at Ciconi to 'buy' into exploring new ways of applying technology.


Business Benefits

The new management reporting system has already provided Ciconi with significant advantages over the previous method of operation. It has greatly reduced the data duplication activities throughout the organisation, which has improved the accuracy of information. This has helped to reduce overall administration costs while providing instant, easy to access, vital information on the growing list of projects now being handled by the business.

 

As Elisabeth Glasper explains “Our partnership approach with our clients means that it is vital to keep them informed of changes to either the costs or delivery timing of orders undertaken on their behalf. This was extremely difficult and time consuming under the old way of working. With the new on-line system, we can quickly detect delays and take action to resolve issues in a timely manner.


As the new system allows us to operate more efficiently that the old, we can pass the savings made on to our clients thus helping to reduce their costs”


Hardware & Software
Windows 2000
Windows 2000 NT Server
Terminal Sever 2000
SQL Server & SQL 2000
Checkpoint Firewall Software
Exchange 2000
Backup Exec.
Total Virus Defence
HP Vectra Workstations
HP Rack
HP Netservers
HP Laserjet Printers
 

Services Required
Windows 2000 server set-up & optimisation
Exchange Integration
Bespoke Microsoft Application Development
Business Consultancy

 



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