Global Wizard Elster Electricity Case Study

Elster Electricity


In early 2003, ABB sold its electricity metering business to Ruhrgas Industries. The new owner renamed the new company Elster Electricity LLC and made Elster its world headquarters for electricity metering. Elster found itself with five short months to determine and then finalize many of its business processes apart from ABB. One such business process involved international trade.

The international trade process ABB used centered around a large system that needed configuration of many modules and mastery of a learning curve. Due to time constraints, the availability of Information Systems personnel and cost, Elster began exploring the market for smaller desktop systems, but most were not comprehensive enough. Searching for middle ground, Elster's staff benchmarked three additional global trade products and eventually selected Global Wizard.

And then it was off to the races. Global Wizard required customized functionality to meet Elster's needs, and Elster had a short period of time remaining to become comfortable with and then master the intricacies of exporting. With 72 trade lanes in place today, Elster certainly rose to the challenge. How did it happen, and what have been the benefits?

Global Wizard?


Global Wizard is a web-based software suite that integrates document generation, document determination, and denied persons screening. Designed and maintained by global trade experts, it makes international trading easier, faster, and more cost effective for businesses. Companies enter data for a shipment and produce their documents. This data can come from manual data entry or flat file/web service integration via a company's ERP or other back-end system.

Global Wizard allows customers to view and print required documents, and these can include corporate logo and/or digital signature.

Needs


Elster identified aspects of its process that needed to be addressed in its global trade product. When Elster selected Global Wizard, the GWIZ staff went to work on providing the functionality and service to support the business process and ensure compliance. The following were the key business process needs and selection criteria applied when choosing Global Wizard:

  1. Learning Curve - The software had to be quick to learn, easy to use, and supported by international trade experts who could help with quick and effective training.

  2. Core Compliance - Elster needed to know that it was compliant with US export laws and consignee import laws.

  3. Supports Full Process - Elster wanted an end-to-end process - a system that would facilitate quoting all the way through invoice tracking.

  4. Worldwide Access - This full process needed to take place part by part in different Elster locations worldwide. All locations needed access to the same data at different parts in the process.

  5. Cost - The solution's cost needed to be in line for a quick and easy return on investment. Maintenance costs for ongoing use also must be affordable and reasonable.

  6. Customer Service - Considering the learning curve and need for core compliance knowledge, customer service had to be outstanding. With IT support tied up in other operations of the fledgling company, Elster had to rely on its chosen vendor to deliver a quality comprehensive solution built around its product.

Outcome


Five years into the business relationship between Elster and Global Wizard, we asked the question - what has been the outcome of choosing Global Wizard and working your international trade process through our software?

Yes, Elster's six core needs are met, and Elster's operations have expanded during this time. Global Wizard wraps around the Elster global trade process and allows customized levels of access to individual users. For example, the person who performs the packing functionality sees only what he needs to do his job. High-level management can monitor the entire life cycle of each shipment and see how much time was spent on each aspect of preparing the shipment. Worldwide access is a reality; quotes originate from all parts of the world. Certain status changes trigger events in the system that notify key personnel they need to take action. Accounting tracks the status of invoices with an audit trail that mimics coding from the prior ABB ERP.

Elster credits Global Wizard's staff with assistance in getting everything ready on time and with a reasonable cost. The business process definition phase was key to everything coming together and having the proper impact. The rest was properly assembling the puzzle. Similar puzzles exist in most organizations.

Differentiation



Exits, the company that developed and manages Global Wizard is a small company with big customers. Global Wizard customers benefit from small company service and personal attention. The proper level of support for each customer is available. Some use the software as is, and others require extensive customization to documents and even require additional add-on modules. Global Wizard technical staff members can quickly determine what's necessary given customer and compliance requirements.

Elster Electricity logo

Elster Electricity is a leading provider of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solutions that help utility companies improve revenue cycle services, customer service, delivery reliability, and workforce utilization.

With more than 100 years of electricity metering experience (formerly as Westinghouse Electric Corporation and ABB Electricity Metering), Elster Electricity understands the unique requirements of utility customers worldwide and is part of the world's largest multi-utility metering company combining the leaders in electricity, water and gas metering.