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Case Studies

Imerys

Imerys


Industry – Imerys TC - Brick and Structural Clay Tile Manufacturing Imerys Minerals - Ground or Treated Minerals, Kaolin & Ball Clay Mining

Business Document Types – Shopping Carts, Purchase Requests, Purchase Orders, Order Confirmations

Formats – ERP-specific formats (on Customer end) - xCBL (on Marketplace/Suppliers end)

Protocols – HTTPS

Business Problem Solved – Multiple entities of the same company but with different back-end systems and processes implementing e-procurement in various configurations.

About Imerys

Active in 47 countries with more than 240 industrial locations and €2.8 billion in annual sales (2009), Imerys is the world leader in adding value to minerals. The Group’s products have a great many applications in everyday life, including construction, personal care, paper, paint, plastic, ceramics, telecommunications and beverage filtration.

From an organizational standpoint, Imerys is a collection of legal entities organized in business units, each having its own organization, processes and IT systems.

Context

Imerys TC and Imerys Minerals UK are two business units of Imerys using Quadrem as a marketplace. Each of them uses a specific ERP solution (Generix for Imerys TC and IFS for Imerys Minerals UK) and they have implemented e-procurement differently: Imerys TC uses the hosted e-procurement solution of Quadrem whereas Imerys Minerals leverages the e-procurement capabilities of their ERP - but both rely on Quadrem' hosted catalogs and hub.

Needs

Imerys TC and Imerys Minerals both needed a solution to perform orchestration and integration of business documents (pre-orders, orders, order confirmation) between their internal back-end systems and the marketplace.

Solution

A b2box has been set up behind Imerys firewalls, in order to orchestrate integration of business documents between Quadrem and the two ERP solutions. From a technical standpoint, two partitions (within the same b2box) have been set up to allow complete logical split of data between the two business units. Although some flows are common, some are fully specific to one or the other of the business units.

In a nutshell, the b2box allows Imerys TC to:

  • Receive pre-orders sent by Quadrem (xCBL POs) and integrate them synchronously into Generix (Imerys TC's ERP)
  • Send back orders to Quadrem (with Generix PO number)
  • Generate and send html formatted POs via email (for suppliers not being handled by Quadrem)
  • Receive PO Confirmations or PO Changes and PO Cancellations from Quadrem and integrate them into Generix, the back-office system

For Imerys Minerals UK, the b2box supports the following flows:

  • Receive Shopping Carts from the Supplier Catalog hosted by Quadrem
  • Parse Shopping Carts and handle synchronous integration with IFS, in order to create or update multiple business documents (Work Order Requisitions, Material Requisitions, Project Budget) based on the initial IFS transaction and the items contained in the Shopping Cart
  • Send a summary email to the Requester that explains how the Shopping Cart has been split
  • Receive Purchase Orders from IFS, transform and send them to Quadrem
  • Receive PO Confirmations from Quadrem and update IFS accordingly

Imerys TC and Imerys Minerals UK both benefit from a b2box add-on called the "E-procurement Error Handler", a highly beneficial value-added feature allowing non-IT people to handle the management of e-procurement errors; thanks to a user-friendly web interface guiding error resolution. In an e-procurement flow, errors occur frequently and may find their origin in various places: inappropriate values entered by Requesters on the Buying Tool, invalid Master Data on the Marketplace, missing or invalid data in cross-referencing tables, missing or invalid settings on the back-end system etc.

The E-procurement Error Handler add-on performs the following tasks:

  • Collect error messages from the various systems
  • Provide the list of errors along with explanations, an error resolution wizard (how to correct the error at stake, what to do in order to prevent such error from arriving again)
  • Allow users to change whatever needs to be changed (inserting a missing entry in a cross-referencing table or correcting an invalid one, editing the erroneous document thanks to a form highlighting the issues) and resubmit the failed transaction

Results

The solution in place allows Imerys entities to fully automate the business document flows between the marketplace and ERPs – and thanks to the E-procurement Error Handler, people with no IT expertise nor any specific competency can easily take care of reprocessing functional errors.

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