Irving, TX: Hostess Brands, the largest wholesale bakery and distributor in the U.S., has implemented Sterling Business Integration Suite as part of its efforts to transform its supply chain.
The suite, from Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc. company, enables the company to improve customer service by optimizing interactions with its more than 50,000 partners including suppliers, bakeries, distribution centers, depots and retailers.
Leveraging Sterling Commerce solutions, Hostess Brands has undertaken two IT initiatives: to provide seamless and flexible integration and to centralize and standardize integration processes into the company’s ERP environment.
These initiatives improve operational efficiency and reduce costs by optimizing processes such as order-to-cash, item/price synchronization, scan-based trading, returns and supply chain visibility. In addition, improved data availability enables Hostess Brands to react more quickly to change.
For example, the company faced a new customer requirement for item data synchronization capabilities in early 2010 and, with Sterling Business Integration Suite, was able to deliver it under a tight six-week deadline.
“The flexible deployment options of the Sterling Business Integration Suite have enabled us to quickly adapt as our business needs have changed and evolved,” says Stacie Derousseau, vice president, information technology, at Hostess Brands.
For the integration of B2B documents and processes between its internal systems and applications and as a secure B2B gateway for all of its communications, Hostess Brands has implemented B2B integration on-premise, using Sterling Integrator. To automate the transformation of its business documents into any required data format or protocol and exchange them securely to and from any trading partner, in any location, the company is using B2B integration-as-a-Service with Sterling B2B manager.
The company also is implementing Sterling Control Center, an on-premise management solution for its file transfer activity, to improve cycle times by identifying and resolving exceptions quicker.
“Manufacturers face complex challenges in meeting customer needs when they deal with so many partners,” says Richard Douglass, global industry executive, manufacturing and logistics, at the Columbus, OH-based Sterling Commerce. “By optimizing its supply chain operations with Sterling Business Integration Suite, Hostess Brands demonstrates how B2B integration capabilities can overcome that complexity.”
As a part of its as-a-service offering, Sterling Commerce takes responsibility for the partner onboarding process and for ensuring documents are successfully sent and received within an agreed timeframe, working proactively with Hostess Brands to resolve any issues and provide visibility into every step of the process.
This is important considering the company’s customers vary from big-box retailers to mom-and-pop corner stores. Hostess Brands now has improved visibility and management of the B2B processes it shares across its entire partner community, regardless of its customers’ size or IT sophistication.
As a next step in its supply chain transformation, Hostess is considering implementing Sterling Commerce mobile apps to enable its employees to have anytime, anywhere access to Sterling Business Integration Suite capabilities.