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Issue of August 2004 
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Maintaining the precious edge

When an organization needs to maintain its leadership, spread of information over stand-alone systems can be fatal. More so, when business grows at a very rapid pace, resulting in huge distributed inventories. Inter Gold tackled these issues by deploying an ERP. by Anil Patrick R

How do you improve efficiency and facilitate communication, across a fast growing, geographically distributed environment? This was the challenge faced by Nayan Pansare, Chief Financial Controller, Inter Gold when the organization started gearing up for newer

challenges. The main challenge was the inability of the existing IT infrastructure to keep up with the business objectives. Especially since the organization is a global player in the highly competitive market of gems and jewelry, that includes studded jewelry and polished diamonds.

The company upgraded its legacy systems and deployed PeopleSoft's EnterpriseOne ERP solution. And this allowed them to integrate systems and offer better functionalities and flexibility.

The ERP call

A major portion of Inter Gold's business comes from the export market - primarily, the US, Japan and European markets. Inter Gold's head office is in Mumbai with factories in Mumbai and Goa. The company also has exclusive outlets all over India.

When Inter Gold decided to take the ERP route, the organization had a non-centralized IT infrastructure. The existing legacy systems were of stand-alone nature.

Inter Gold's requirements were clear. "The need was felt to employ an integrated software system that would improve efficiency and facilitate the communication, across a fast growing, geographically distributed environment," said Pansare.

In addition to this, Inter Gold also felt the need to make a transition to meet the requirements of international markets. To achieve this, it was necessary to gauge the buyer's taste well in advance and design production accordingly. The company realized that this would bring about two benefits - prompt order processing at reasonable prices as well as better inventory management. At that time, the company had an inventory of $18 to 20 million.

It was realized at this juncture that Inter Gold needed to rethink its IT strategy to attain the business needs. "The industry being zero tolerant, we needed a solution that would control inventory, add efficiency, and ensure error free operation in a customer centric environment", said Pansare.

The right one

Considering the requirements, an ERP solution fitted the bill perfectly. Selection of the right solution came next on Inter Gold's implementation agenda.

According to Pansare, three important factors were considered during product selection. These were cost effectiveness, user friendly nature, and ease of implementation.

Ease of implementation was especially high on the agenda due to the stand-alone nature of Inter Gold's legacy infrastructure. Integration was required to ensure seamless work-flow processes. Other than this, there was the need to deploy a solution that processes orders and comes up with the latest designs according to market demands. This is very crucial in the jewelry industry due to its zero tolerant nature.

After evaluating the available options, Inter Gold selected an extensive suite of PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne applications as the right solution. It was decided to use ERP in the diamond and jewelry divisions. While the diamond division is live and online, jewelry division is expected to go live in the near future.

The gains

By implementing a suite of PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne solution applications, Inter Gold managed to achieve its strategic IT objectives.

Post implementation, the first visible sign of change was in better control of the inventories. The newly deployed enterprise software made their entire system customer- centric and very responsive, the most important criteria for an export oriented business structure.

The company realized that the internal departments shared important data and communicated more efficiently on work processes. An error free operation was also realized immediately. These benefits enabled the management to improve customer relations and process data without compromising on flexibility and responsiveness.

A look ahead

One of the future plans of Inter Gold's future IT infrastructure expansion include complete ERP implementation for the jewelry division at SEEPZ, Mumbai and the company's diamond factory at Kandivili, Mumbai.

Plans are also on to implement Executive Information System (EIS) using Cognos. The organization plans to have select initiatives on CRM and work flow management to augment operations efficiency in the company and reduce cost. Next in line comes integration of Inter Gold's IT infrastructure with the group companies at a global Level and facility sharing for storage, redundancy and DR.

The PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne solution will also be integrated with group companies at a global level in addition to creating a standing link for audio video communications, SCM, and CRM activities.

Inter Gold claims that they plan to have efficiency audits on an ongoing basis. This is expected to improve the performance of business units and maintain focus on customer satisfaction through ongoing refinements in the system through CRM initiative. Inter Gold India will also spearhead the building of an integrated IT vision for the entire group which can respond to dynamic needs of the business at the global level.

Anil Patrick R can be reached at anilpatrick@networkmagazineindia.com

Inter Gold's IT infrastructure

The organization has a local area network consisting of Windows NT servers, Enterprise server AS/400, web server and Citrix server, Linux Mail server, and desktops with a fiber optic backbone.

Hardware components
One AS/400 and three Dell Servers
80 desktops (70 Dell, 10 Assembled)

Software components
Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0 Server, NT 4.0 workstation, 2000 Professional and 2000 Server. J.D. Edwards 70 Users, SQL Server 2000, VC++ 6.0, MS office, Star Office 5.2, FoxPro 2.6.

Bandwidth
Leased line (VSNL) 128 KBPS.

Security
Linux Firewall for Internet & Mail Security.

Connectivity across locations
Leased line

Backup and failover features
Daily data backup of servers on DLT, MLR, DAT drives

In a nutshell
The company
Inter Gold, headquartered in Mumbai is a global player in gems and jewelry including studded jewelry and polished diamonds. The company's core focus area is on diamond studded precious metal jewelry although it has expertise in the cut and polished diamond segment. A major portion of Inter Gold's business comes from the export market.

The need
The need was to employ an integrated software system that would improve efficiency and facilitate the communication, across a fast growing, geographically distributed environment. It also had to make a transition to meet the requirements of international markets. To achieve this, it is necessary to gauge the buyer's taste well in advance and design production accordingly.

The solution
Inter Gold implemented an extensive suite of PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne applications,

The benefits
Better inventory control, work process communication, and efficiency were achieved. Improved customer-centricity, fast response, error free system operation, data processing and improved customer relations are claimed.

 
     
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