With 182 locations across 16 countries, Bunzl Continental Europe has a long-standing relationship with TIE Kinetix as an EDI Managed Services provider, with benefits ranging from near-instant supplier onboarding to same-day response times for mapping requests.  

Time to Migrate to the Cloud

Bunzl Continental Europe (hereby referred to as Bunzl) has a clear strategy: Move to cloud solutions. For Bunzl, choosing TIE Kinetix’s cloud-based SaaS platform, FLOW, was an easy decision. “We know what TIE Kinetix can do,” says Arjan Vonk, eCommerce EDI Consultant at Bunzl, “and we know the competitors in the market very well. We already had a relationship with TIE Kinetix, so moving to the cloud service was a logical step after doing some research in the market.” 
With over 20 years of experience in EDI, Mr. Vonk further elaborates on their decision to move to the cloud by saying, “If we would have used an on-premise solution, we would have needed a much bigger EDI team on our side.”  To be a little more specific, Bunzl would have had to hire 2-3 more employees to run EDI operations internally, or with an on-premise solution. Outsourcing EDI is a core component of their overall strategy, so for Bunzl, it makes sense to have only a small, dedicated EDI team on their side—2 team members to be exact. With FLOW, Bunzl has been able to avoid the expenses associated with cost of ownership.   

Arjan Vonk, Bunzl
"Using the FLOW platform as our Supplier Portal (labeled as Bunzl VIP) has reduced our supplier onboarding time to seconds instead of months."
Arjan Vonk eCommerce EDI Consultant, Bunzl

2 Million Documents Exchanged per Year

Over 30 Bunzl subsidiaries, operating on a number of ERP systems, are currently connected to FLOW. This includes 1,000 suppliers and over 4,500 customers that generate approximately 2 million messages per year via the platform. Bunzl’s trading partners range from top-tier providers in the cleaning, hygiene and healthcare industries to well-known grocery stores, hotel chains, fashion outlets, and fast-food restaurants. Bunzl also works with a number of public sector institutions.  

For Bunzl, TIE Kinetix is an enabler—a technical partner that has simplified document exchange with their wide range of partners. In sum, Bunzl decides on their preferred document format and TIE Kinetix implements and facilitates it across the board. 

Supplier Onboarding in Seconds 

Bunzl has adopted the TIE Kinetix FLOW platform for small, medium-sized, and large partners, and currently utilizes each method of electronic document exchange the platform has to offer: PORTAL-2-FLOW, PDF-2-FLOW, and EDI-2-FLOW. With a total of 5,500 connections (endpoints), the Bunzl EDI team, key stakeholders in the company, and a large number of suppliers works with at least one of these solutions daily.  

“Using the FLOW platform as our Supplier Portal (labeled as Bunzl VIP) has reduced our supplier onboarding time to seconds instead of months,” says Mr. Vonk in reference to the TIE Kinetix solution for small partners, PORTAL-2-FLOW. In fact, over 950 of their 1,000 connected suppliers were onboarded within a single year. 

Adding to his comment on onboarding speed, Mr. Vonk emphasizes the importance of speed when it comes to mapping requests as well. He says, “If you want to know what we think of TIE Kinetix’s performance in regard to response times, which is much more important for me, we’re happy with that. Most of the time it’s just a couple of hours until we have the answers.” 


Future Breakthroughs 

Bunzl’s ambition is to achieve 100% electronic document exchange with all suppliers. To support Bunzl’s strategy as they work towards improving the number of connections with their suppliers, TIE Kinetix is in the process of configuring the FLOW platform to meet their changing needs. 

The new configuration will enable the platform to facilitate all processes (PORTAL-2-FLOW, PDF-2-FLOW, and EDI-2-FLOW) through one easy to use environment. Since the new setup will present each of these solutions side by side, Mr. Vonk is optimistic that “it will be a major breakthrough in communication.”

Once the new platform environment is introduced, all suppliers will have the option to send documents via electronic means or, if they prefer, manually through the portal. With this innovative approach, the format in which the supplier chooses to send their documents is not quite as important. This is because they will no longer have to follow EDI rules, such as EDI syntax or XML syntax. Instead, suppliers can simply send a flat CSV file, or a file in any other format, and the FLOW platform will convert it to Bunzl’s native ERP communication standards. Today, Bunzl has multiple ERP systems connected, including Microsoft Dynamics AX, SAP, and Visma.