Wolseley slams brakes on SAP rollout after losses mount

Building and plumbing supply company Wolseley has put a major SAP enterprise resource planning rollout on a “slow down” so that it can conserve cash in a “difficult market”.

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Building and plumbing supply company Wolseley has put a major SAP enterprise resource planning rollout on a “slow down” so that it can conserve cash in a “difficult market”.

The company recorded full year losses of £766 million, compared to profits of £399 million a year earlier, as the housing market continued to slump. As a result, it halved capital expenditure to £157 million, and it also cut staff levels by over 9,800 employees in the year.

The SAP rollout is part of a Business Change programme that began in 2007 and was expected to run until 2011. But that has now been slowed “conserve cash and to avoid business disruption in difficult markets”.

The company had planned to have finished its SAP rollout in the US by now, but this is running late. US SAP software testing will take place later this year, with a full rollout next year.

This is then expected to be followed by a UK rollout of the system.

In 2008, Wolseley chief information officer Rod Angwin told Computerworld UK that standardising onto an SAP platform was “critical”, as the company had been running a wide range of legacy systems that it gained from acquisitions. Wolseley wants to use SAP to increase productivity, improve business change and deliver better customer intelligence.

The company has also standardised on High Jump warehousing management, SAP financial management, and Oracle Peoplesoft human resources software.

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