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MSC Strikes Gold with Ariba

Today’s customer is more connected, mobile and empowered than ever. And it’s no longer good enough to simply meet their needs. Companies that want to get and stay ahead of the competition have to predict and deliver on them before they arise. This is exactly what MSC Industrial Supply Co., leading distributor of Metalworking and Maintenance, Repair and Operations (“MRO”) solutions, services and supplies to North American manufacturers, is doing with the help of Ariba, an SAP Company.

More than a decade ago, MSC joined the Ariba® Network to provide its customers with a fast and efficient way to find and get the products they needed. Today, the company is mining the intelligence of the community to fuel innovation that gives them an advantage. In a newly released podcast, CEO Erik Gershwind discusses the results.

“The key to achieving more efficiency and quicker time to market is flexibility and speed on the part of suppliers, and business networks are at the heart of this,” Gershwind said during “Modern Supply Chains — How Leading Companies are Engaging Customers in Entirely New Ways,” a newly released podcast on BriefingsDirect, an IT news and trends discussion forum.

An early adopter of networks, MSC recognized that it could gain new insights by being connected to a community of its partners and peers. Through the Ariba Network, MSC has access to more than 15 years of detailed transaction and relationship data. And the company is making the most of it.

“We always did a fairly decent job of mining our own data for supply chain improvements, forecasting, and understanding what to purchase,” Gershwind said. “Now we’re using it to help our customers, and even our suppliers run their businesses better.”

For instance, when MSC learned that employees at one of its customers’ locations had to walk a mile to get to a centralized storeroom where supply replacements were housed, it suggested they install vending machines to put inventory closer to where the work was being done. “In doing so, they are saving time and translating that into real dollar savings,” Gershwind said.

Such insight-driven collaboration is real value of business networks, as Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst, Interarbor Solutions and host of the podcast, sees it. “The amount of information that networks gather, even anonymized and private, gives members great insights,” he says. “And as companies like MSC demonstrate, they can use these insights to be more predictive. To know their supply chain and what their customers will demand before they demand it. To identify risks, sooner rather than later. And to work together to create mutual advantage.”

Ariba Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Rachel Spasser agrees. “In their initial phase, networks were all about connecting companies so that they could buy and sell more efficiently. Today, they’re all about collaboration and enhancing and expanding relationships,” she said. “Buyers are harnessing their connectivity and insights to find the right partners and optimize their spend and supply chain. And sellers like MSC are using them to engage with customers in new and innovative ways to increase their wallet share and boost revenue.”

Used by more than 1.5 million companies to transact over half a trillion in commerce on an annual basis, the Ariba Network is the world’s largest, most global business-to-business trading community. To learn more about how it is transforming commerce – and the value it can deliver for your organization, visit: www.ariba.com To listen to the full podcast, click here.

About MSC Industrial Supply Co.

MSC Industrial Supply Co. is one of the largest distributors of Metalworking and Maintenance, Repair and Operations (“MRO”) supplies to industrial customers throughout the United States. MSC employs one of the industry’s largest sales forces and distributes approximately 600,000 industrial products from approximately 3,000 suppliers. In-stock availability is approximately 99%, with next day standard delivery to the contiguous United States on qualifying orders up until 8 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information, visit MSC’s website at http://www.mscdirect.com.

About Ariba, an SAP Company

Ariba is the world’s business commerce network. Ariba combines industry-leading cloud-based applications with the world's largest web-based trading community to help companies discover and collaborate with a global network of partners. Using the Ariba® Network, businesses of all sizes can connect to their trading partners anywhere, at any time from any application or device to buy, sell and manage their cash more efficiently and effectively than ever before. Companies around the world use the Ariba Network to simplify inter-enterprise commerce and enhance the results that they deliver. Join them at: www.ariba.com

About SAP

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 258,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

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