The system has been put together by German firm SAP, the world’s fourth largest independent software company. Similar packages are used in air travel, telecommunications and banking, by firms such as Lloyds TSB Group, Deutsche Bank and NatWest. It is believed to be the first time the system has been adopted by a housebuilder.
Wilcon, which reported pre-tax profit of £20m for the first half of 1999, hopes to use the software to streamline its supply chain and centralise its operation. The system will allow key business processes such as procurement, billing and accounts to be combined into one IT system. It will also link up the housebuilder’s sites around the country.
The move is part of a larger plan to centralise Wilcon’s operations. Over the past three years it has centralised its management structure at the expense of its regional offices, which traditionally had a high degree of autonomy.
The move to a high-tech IT system will further reinforce the move towards centralisation.
With the new system, we have stolen a lead of about a year on our competitors
John Tutte, Chief Executive, Wilson Connolly
Chief executive John Tutte said: “The cost of the system will be recouped within two years and will continue to deliver savings beyond that.” Tutte said he was installing the system in an attempt to drive down costs and further improve efficiency.
Tutte added: “The new system will deliver cost savings in a variety of business functions, such as procurement. So far, the company has dramatically reduced the number of its suppliers and the new system will enable us to monitor suppliers with a view to driving down costs. With the investment in the new system, we have stolen a lead of about a year on our competitors.”
SAP consultants are overseeing the implementation in tandem with management consultant KPMG. SAP will take its knowledge of the sector and produce software templates, and offer similar packages to competitors.