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Telecom Priority: Systems upgrade helps Godrej reduce costs and increase efficiency

December 31, 2012
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Established in 1897, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Limited consists of seven major companies – Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited, Godrej Industries, Godrej Properties, Godrej Consumer Products, Godrej Hershey’s, Godrej Agrovet Limited, and Godrej Nature’s Basket. These companies operate in the areas of real estate, FMCG, industrial engineering, appliances, furniture, security, agriculture, etc.

The group’s turnover crossed $3.3 billion on March 31, 2012. It has a presence in more than 60 countries and 26 per cent of its business is conducted overseas. To ensure streamlined and cohesive communications across its various locations, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Limited took a number of steps to enhance its telecom set-up over the years.

tele.net examines the company’s telecom-related initiatives…

Communications infrastructure

The company established a basic telecom infrastructure early on and has been using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform from the Baan Corporation since 2001. “This tool has been deployed to manage the sales and inventory functions at our showrooms and warehouses,” says a senior company official.

Besides the ERP tool, the company put in place a  communications set-up to connect all its showrooms. “We are currently using a centralised data centre, which is connected to all the showrooms through a virtual private network (VPN) link, with an integrated services digital network link for backup,” says the official.

The VPN link has helped streamline operations and yielded several benefits to the company. These include enhanced network security, remote network control, easy sharing of files, better network performance and reduced costs. “When a user connects to the network through a VPN, the data is kept secured and encrypted. Also, a VPN link ensures that information can be accessed remotely and helps a group share files over a long period of time. Network bandwidth and efficiency can be increased once a VPN solution is implemented,” he elaborates. Besides, once a VPN network is created, the maintenance cost is minimal.

In addition, the applications used by the company-owned-company-operated (COCO) stores are ERP and web-based systems. The most widely used application is the human resource information system (HRIS), which has been developed in-house. The bandwidth at its stores ranges from 64 kbps to 256 kbps, depending on the business type and the number of users.

The group is currently in the process of implementing a common solution, based on the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform, for its dealers, franchisees and COCO showrooms. This is still in its pilot phase.

At present, over 120 employees across company showrooms can access the centralised ERP and HRIS systems. “We plan to connect over 200 franchise and dealer representatives to the Godrej network this year,” says the official.

Setting up a common platform will have financial implications in terms of cost savings on account of additional bandwidth, application licences and centralised support. “The new system is expected to enable a better customer experience and, as COCO stores are helpful in branding, the investment is worth it,” he says.

Challenges and benefits

While the company faces no challenges with respect to its current communications set-up, the company expects some issues to arise once the common platform is deployed. “Our COCO stores are mostly in the state capitals. Hence, there have been no major hurdles in implementing our existing infrastructure. However, the challenge will arise when we port the existing processes to a new platform,” he explains.

Meanwhile, implementing the communications infrastructure has resulted in several benefits for the company. “We have achieved very high operational and technical efficiencies through the use of these systems,” says the company official.

Godrej has its telecom priorities and plans chalked out. “We are in the process of rolling out the new Microsoft Dynamics AX platform across all COCO stores,” he says. On the technology upgrade front, we propose to implement mobility applications. On the functional side, we plan to add the customer relationship management (CRM) functionality and offer loyalty benefits to our customers.

The CRM tool is expected to help us manage our interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organise, automate and synchronise business processes, mainly sales activities as well as marketing, customer service and technical support. The overall objectives are to gain new clients while retaining existing ones, and reducing marketing and client servicing costs.”

In all, modern IT and telecom infrastructure has helped the company reduce its communication costs and increase operational efficiency.

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