Pernod Ricard group relies on Uniface’s technological expertise and agility to develop and deploy a mobile application for their storehouses.
Founded in 1975 after the merger of two French spirit companies, Pernod and Ricard, founded respectively in 1805 and 1932, has become a world leader in Wines and Spirits and is listed on the CAC40 (French Stock Exchange).
Since its inception, the group has continued expanding its product portfolio not only through innovation and external growth, but also by taking a premium product curve which has resulted in a higher-level range of products.
Today, their strategy focuses on 14 premium brands, the “Top 14” which represent nearly 80% of the group’s total turnover. Among these products, one finds Chivas whiskies, Ballantine’s, Jameson, Absolut vodka, Martell cognac, Beefeater gin, Havana Club rum, Ricard pastis, Mumm and Perrier-Jouet champagnes. With 90 subsidiaries and 100 production sites in 80 countries, the Pernod Ricard Group has more than 18 000 employees and revenues of more than 8 billion Euros.
In 1992, the Martell IT team first used Uniface to develop Spirit/1, software intended for the treatment of cognacs, i.e. distillation, maturation and blending. After the Pernod Ricard takeover, the application was gradually deployed on other sites: Scotland (Chivas), Ireland (Irish Distillers), and Armenia (Yerevan Brandy) for whisky and brandy production management. Over the years, Spirit/1 has evolved with technological advances and the company’s business needs. Twenty-three years after its first release, the application is still used and, volume-wise, covers nearly one-third of the group’s activity.
In 2012 and following increased business process digitalization, the group’s IT systems director developed an additional mobile device module designed to optimize management of the cellars used for storing brandy maturation casks for their subsidiary Martell. “This module for mobile devices allows cellar employees to manage and inventory all barrel movement by scanning their barcodes,” says Jean-Jacques Delavaud, Head of competency center SFDC-Spirit/1 at Pernod Ricard. “The mobile device recorded data are then synchronized with our core database, then processed in Spirit/1.”
The cellars are considered as having an “explosive atmosphere” (ATEX regulations) and may not be equipped with either Internet or Wi-Fi. It is, therefore, essential that the mobile devices work offline on an embedded database and then synchronize that database afterwards with the central system.
Equipped with Uniface for more than twenty years, Pernod Ricard possesses all necessary internal skills to manage its developments. As trusted partners, the Uniface teams continue to help the group meet its needs when business or technical issues require their intervention. “Implementing the offline scans, for example, required a very sharp and pointed expertise for which we preferred to turn to Uniface,” explains JeanJacques Delavaud.
The primary strength of Uniface, and what has continually renewed our confidence in them for over twenty years, is their capacity for RAD (Rapid Application Development). The adaptation of the Agile methodology has enabled Uniface to support us by responding to our requests, adapt to what exists and work within our technological and business constraints.
– Jean-Jacques Delavaud Head of Competency Center SFDC-Spirit/1
Originally, the Oracle Lite database had been selected for data storage on the mobile device and Oracle Lite Mobile Server for synchronization with the Central Oracle database. However, no longer maintained by the editor, the IT Systems Director of Pernod Ricard had to think about an alternative solution. “As much as the Chivas subsidiary wished to deploy the same module for its own sites,” says Jean-Jacques Delavaud, “it was unthinkable to consider implementing a new module when the technology had become obsolete.”
Finally, the SQLite solution was chosen for the embedded database and Oracle was maintained for the central database. Originally the Uniface platform did not naturally interface with SQLite on the mobile platform, but the Uniface teams proposed to develop a specific driver enabling the two systems to integrate.
In May 2015, both the driver and the new version of Uniface will be delivered and the Pernod Ricard teams can make a prototype in order to validate the proper functioning of the application and ensure proper database synchronization before migrating the SQLite module to Martell. In parallel, initial add-on programs will be modified and adapted to the Chivas processes and ready for deployment to the Scottish sites. “We expect the mobile device application to be fully operational by fall 2015 for Martell and Chivas. That represents approximately 6.2 million barrels,” announces Jean-Jacques Delavaud.
Key Benefits of Uniface
“The primary strength of Uniface, and what has continually renewed our confidence in them for over twenty years, is their capacity for RAD (Rapid Application Development). The adaptation of the Agile methodology has enabled Uniface to support us by responding to our requests, adapt to what exists and work within our technological and business constraints,” adds Jean-Jacques Delavaud.
Since 1992, Uniface has helped first Martell, and subsequently, the Pernod Ricard group, constantly expand the core Spirit/1 application and incorporate additional modules as their needs have changed and evolved.
The next evolution is already under development and on its way: the Supplier Relationship Management tool, i.e. client/ supplier relationship management. Using a tablet that has been synchronized with a central database and connected via Wi-Fi or 3 / 4G, providers will be able to follow their delivery status, billing information or even trace their last sample. At the same time, the Pernod Ricard teams will be able to gather information on projects, activities, provider issues, and better target projects to attract customers and build loyal relationships with them. Such successful solutions should give the group a significant competitive advantage in an increasingly complex and volatile economic environment.