Setting benchmarks in eBusiness with Corporate Express

From an initial contract seven years ago, Corporate Express and Tranzsoft have together set an enviable benchmark in the exchange of electronic transactional data. We review their story, from 2002 through to current day.

Starting in 1995 with the acquisition of Berryman’s on the South Island, Corporate Express now has a national presence with distribution centres and sales offices in six centres across New Zealand. With a broad office consumables product range and thousands of customers, Corporate Express is a robust, professional and technologically savvy company.

For Brian Rosenberg, General Manager of Corporate Express New Zealand, being customer focused is the cornerstone of running a strong business. Changing the way you transact business in response to the needs of your customers sends a very clear message about the value you place on relationships.

Originally prompted in 2002 by three major customers, who each wanted to see their orders processed electronically and directly mapped back to their own ERPs, Corporate Express looked to Tranzsoft for the solution. Tranzsoft’s third party document conversion hub enables companies with disparate software to efficiently and automatically exchange data and map it to their own systems, without the need for specific solution-to-solution interfaces. Given Tranzsoft’s proven track record, the company was a natural choice for Corporate Express.

At the same time, Corporate Express wanted to streamline the ordering process and remove the high level of manual input. By using Tranzsoft, Corporate Express was able to free up around 20 staff to undertake other tasks within the business.

With Tranzsoft, customers can use Corporate Express’s online ordering solution, NetXpress, to browse the product range, make their selection and place an order. The data is then converted to a format which can be transferred back to both parties’ systems in a way they can use. This has several added benefits: There is no further need for manual input of data at either the customer or supplier end; the levels of accuracy and efficiency improved significantly; and the environmental impact is reduced by avoiding the use of paper for fax, email and post.

Such has been the success of the solution that Corporate Express now encourages their other customers to meet Tranzsoft for themselves and discover the benefits of business-to-business electronic transactions. An increase in users benefits all, with overall costs reducing as the number of customers and therefore transactions, increase.

"Tranzsoft is extremely proactive," says Rosenberg. "They are able to present the advantages of their solution in a non-technical and highly accessible way to customers who would benefit from using their service. Their familiarity with most of the financial packages in the market makes the move to Tranzsoft a relatively easy transition. So, from our customers’ perspective, we are confident it will be a successful, low-noise integration."

For Corporate Express, it’s easy if more customers elect to use the Tranzsoft hub. "Once we’ve mapped everything the first time, we don’t have to reinvent it for every single customer, Tranzsoft does that for us. Their solution works, is cost efficient and allows us to bring on more customers," comments Rosenberg.

"At the moment, they are evaluating our customer base and how we receive purchase orders from each of them. They’ll then look for opportunities to get the orders streamlined electronically. For example, we’ve got a couple of customers that are transitioning systems and we end up getting their orders almost on a manual basis. Tranzsoft will use their Tranzdoc PDF data extraction module to read these electronically for us and convert them into electronic files, so we get it as electronic data. This will allow us to process more orders and still maintain our current head count, rather than having to employ extra staff to handle manual orders."

Corporate Express sees the main benefits of using Tranzsoft as the efficiencies they have gained rather than just cost saving. "Ease of use is a key value proposition for us; what we sell has to be easy to order," says Rosenberg. "So we’re more than happy to have a partner like Tranzsoft that allows us to make this happen without having to develop and maintain systems ourselves with all the associated infrastructure costs."

Rosenberg would recommend Tranzsoft as a solution to any other company with a high number of transactions. "They’ve delivered whatever we’ve asked of them. We’ve never had a hassle and every time there’s been a problem it’s been sorted out pretty quickly.

"Our relationship with Tranzsoft is very important and very good. The relationship works seamlessly. For me, it’s low noise. I give instructions to the technical guys and it’s done. They have the skills and knowledge to explain to customers why electronic ordering is so valuable to a business."

From a starting point of simply supplying the means to an end, Tranzsoft and Corporate Express have moved into a much stronger supplier relationship. Together they advocate an electronic transactional solution which will enable New Zealand organisations to streamline their business processes and reduce overheads.