Java jives for NIE

Electrical distributor NIE uses a Java application suite to power connectivity within its organization.

SINGAPORE--Four years ago, electronics dealer NIE Electronics (S) Pte Ltd started the search for a solution that could help combine various aspects of its operations.

It wanted one with the ability to share customer, sales and financial information across all levels of its organization and make it accessible to all staff. NIE is involved in the distribution, logistics, export, import and sales (both wholesale and retail) of electric components and retail products.

With offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong and Thailand, NIE needed a solution that could help it improve cost savings, lower inventory levels, as well as provide all employees with up-to-date client databases to improve its customer service.

With these requirements in mind, NIE looked at vendors like Oracle, JD Edwards, IFS, IBS, Baan and Intentia. After more than six months, it chose Intentia--for the software functionality of its Java-designed Movex NextGen and its ability to provide local service and support.

Movex NextGen is an e-Collaboration suite that handles customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain planning and execution (SCPE), partner relationship management (PRM) and business performance measurement (BPM). It also includes a number of e-business applications. Movex NextGen was developed on Java, making it possible to share information and co-exist with all hardware and infrastructure platforms that have Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed. This allows a company to share information across cellular phones, personal digital assistants, Web browsers, application servers and database servers.

"Our decision to select Intentia was also due to the fact that they had a one-stop shop approach and an integrated end-to-end cutting-edge solution," said HB Tan, senior manager (Operations) for NIE. "Having one solutions provider take the full responsibility for the entire project has not only increased our confidence in the project, but we've also been able to develop a very productive relationship with Intentia and work as partners throughout the implementation process," he added.

Intentia divided the implementation into two phases to suit NIE's separate sales and financial departments. The first phase included combined solutions for financials and distribution for NIE's agent business model. Operational since August this year, this phase cost NIE S$700,000, and aims to streamline and increase the efficiency of the company's core business processes.

Tan said: "Movex NextGen's ability to integrate all our financial and distribution operations into one easily accessible system has meant that we are better able to respond to movements and changes in our supply chain."

According to Tan, the use of Java made Movex NextGen extremely flexible, and the graphical user interface (GUI) could be easily manipulated to suit NIE's needs. "Additionally, with pertinent information easily at our fingertips, we have been able to better respond to our customer needs and manage our inventory levels, thus reducing obsolete excess stock," he added.

The second phase of implementation, expected to begin soon, covers the financials and distribution for NIE's distribution business model. Completion is targeted for November 2001. Intentia was unable to provide information on the cost of implementation.

With the completion of its second phrase, NIE expects to reduce its inventory levels by 20 percent, raise productivity by 20 percent and increase customer service levels by at least 15 percent. These figures were based on NIE's return on investment (ROI) analysis. The projections will, in turn, contribute to the firm's revenues and profits.

The solution aims to support 50 registered users throughout the organization. NIE also plans to roll out Movex NextGen to its subsidiaries throughout the region. According to Tan, the "plug and play" ability of Movex NextGen was part of its attractiveness to NIE as it could be configured to match the different needs and situations of each local market throughout the region.

According to David Hope, regional director at Intentia Asia Pacific, the partnership is the industry's first integrated, solely Java-based enterprise application implemented in Asia Pacific.

Hope, who oversees the company's Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan operations, said that Intentia was firmly on track for its plans for Movex NextGen, first announced at an e-Collaboration Conference in Singapore in February.

Currently, Intentia has 60 global customers running Movex NextGen and aims to have 30 percent of new customers running the Java-designed application suite.

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