Meet our customer hero
On the road (again)
When 19-year-old Lindsay Fox purchased his first truck for £400, he might never have imagined that one day his company would become the largest privately-owned logistics and supply chain management company in Australia and New Zealand, employing over 24,000 people across the Asia Pacific.
In 1956, Fox carted coal and briquettes in the winter and soft drinks in the summer. He spent years growing the company, with acquisitions including the entire Coca-Cola distribution fleet in Queensland.
Fox’s son Peter took the driver’s seat as Executive Chairman in 1993 and continued the growth of the business. A number of acquisitions including Aurizon Queensland Intermodal and BevChain, combined with rapid organic growth landed the business with a large collection of systems, platforms and processes.
One of Linfox’s key strategic drivers is “think customer”, said Craig Bennetts, General Manager of Infrastructure and Application Services at Linfox, and the company needed a defined integration strategy to continue to grow and serve its ever-increasing customer base. Every new customer had different technology requirements and adding them into the system was becoming a challenge. The company was spending up to 50 days onboarding new customers.
“Linfox was invested in a number of tools from different vendors, from SAP to cloud-based platforms,” said Bennetts. “We needed a solution to bring them all together to reduce the time spent on new warehouse customer integration and improve the experience for everyone involved.”
The IT team embarked on a project to assess the technology Linfox was using and decide what it needed for the future. Must-haves included API management and Internet of Things capabilities, which were not easily achievable with the existing infrastructure.
So, the team went looking for an external partner to help evolve its integration strategy. There were five core capability requirements:
An RFP was drafted, and the team approached a number of vendors. The team thought they would need to contract at least two vendors to cover everything. “We thought it would be near impossible to get one single vendor which was top of class for all these capabilities,” said Bennetts.
The team went through an exhaustive review process, looking through Gartner Magic Quadrant reports, doing internal assessments and asking analysts for a “sanity check.” They discovered that Software AG ranked consistently high in all the core capabilities and decided that webMethods was its new strategic toolset. A proof of concept was launched, then a paid pilot program began.
In 2018, Software AG, in coordination with data integration partner Anatas, put together a large team consisting of pre-sales, sales, professional services and product managers from across the globe to quickly respond to the opportunity.
The first two pilot projects included a B2B integration with a Linfox customer, a global beauty giant, and a pilot for API management.
The B2B pilot, which went live in 2020, resulted in:
Linfox commended the Software AG team for their hands-on approach. “The Software AG team was open, invested in the outcomes and supportive all the way through. Every touchpoint and engagement with Software AG felt good,” said Bennetts.
Linfox is now connected on all layers, from state-of-the-art warehouse facilities to trucks. With webMethods, Linfox was able to go live with a robotic warehouse management system and to add customers quickly to its newest logistics hub in Brisbane. Before webMethods, Linfox had to integrate its warehouses and distribution centres directly with a customer’s system in a bespoke manner. Now there are multiple ways to integrate with customers more efficiently.
Linfox is now exploring webMethods.io cloud services; Cumulocity for IoT; Trendminer for streaming analytics; Terracota for cache management and Kryon (a Software AG partner) for RPA.
The customer can truly come first, with a much-improved experience, faster onboarding and more convenient sales orders through an API.
“Some of our long-term customers have been with us since the beginning. We are a family-owned company that still feels like family, with the values of loyalty, integrity, fairness, trust ingrained,” said Bennetts.
Software AG is proud to be a part of the family.