In a fast-paced and unpredictable market, organizations need rapid access to reliable data to make informed business decisions. To improve business visibility and efficiency, Travis Perkins plc has embarked on a major business improvement programme that will transform their finance processes. The company is a leading partner to the construction industry, and the UK’s largest distributor of materials to the building industry, with 1400 branches across the country. We talked to Helen Taylor-Walsh, Finance Transformation Technology Director and Jane Morrison, Director of Finance Transformation, to find out how they are revamping finance operations with the help of Hitachi Vantara and Oracle.
What are the business objectives behind your finance transformation project?
Jane: The advancement in technology this programme will deliver will bring a simplicity to our internal reporting that is not available using our current systems. This means that our finance function will be able to fulfil their role in supporting the business with greater speed and ease. With numerous regulatory challenges ahead, we also want to be best placed to meet them. We need robust system controls and readily available data, which requires modern and feature-rich systems.
Helen: Our goal is to simplify, standardize and automate financial processes and controls so we have the insights we need at any one time to make good business decisions. The project will also improve efficiency for our 600-strong finance team so they can focus on strategic activities rather than manual data entry. With a more modern system, we will be able to take advantage of sophisticated analytics tools and AI. The system will also be used by a number of the Group’s employees across the branches of Travis Perkins, Keyline and CCF, so it needs to be intuitive and easy to use.
Why did you decide to work with Hitachi Vantara and Oracle?
Jane: Hitachi Vantara felt like the right cultural fit for the Travis Perkins Group. The team understood our business requirements and their proposal ticked all our boxes. We also liked the company’s measured and controlled approach to delivery. We recognized that this could give us greater certainty and peace of mind throughout the project.
Helen: Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) will provide us with comprehensive visibility of our business. With data available at the click of a button, we will have better insights to enhance forecasting and strategic decision-making. It is a world-class, cloud-based solution that will help our business to continue to offer the best service for our customers.
What is the project’s current status?
Helen: We recently completed the design and core build phase. Design involved hundreds of workshops across our different functional areas to really get under the skin of their day-to-day activities. It was a massive undertaking, but this has now enabled us to re-engineer our processes so they align with standardized Oracle capabilities. By updating our processes, we will maximize efficiency and minimize system customization, so we can continuously take advantage of the latest Oracle features and new innovations
Jane: We've moved on from design and core build to supporting the technical side of the programme through the System testing phase. We are now very focused on the business change and ensuring we have everyone onboard with the changes that are needed to deliver this system well.
How would you describe the relationship between Travis Perkins, Hitachi Vantara and Oracle?
Jane: Most people today will recognize the value in building relationships and partnerships in business. This has been our focus. We did not want to fall into the trap of a transactional supplier and client dynamic, and I am proud of the fact that we have developed true collaborative working. Together, we address the challenges and communicate in a consistent and open fashion, as we believe this will be the key to the success of the programme.
Helen: We have now moved into the next phase of the programme, with core design fully approved and core build completed. This phase of the project includes system configuration, integration and testing. I personally think this is one of the most exciting parts of any programme, as you move from theory into practice. The team at Travis Perkins are very excited to have progressed through the first two major programme milestones. We are moving closer to robust finance data and streamlined processes, which will enable business agility to help us face any challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.
Helen Taylor-Walsh is the Finance Transformation Technology Director, Travis Perkins plc.
Jane Morrison is Director of Finance Transformation, Travis Perkins plc#CustomerStories