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Information System_ Brady Case

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Created in 1914, Brady is today a major American global company specialised in the manufacture of high performance signs and identification solutions. Considering today's 6000 employees operating in 24 countries and distribution channels in more than 100 countries through more than 4,400 distributor partners, developing an efficient information system was definitely part of the company strategy to succeed.

[Accessed 09 November 2006]

In 1994, Brady launched its first web page. Even though at this time, the web content was pretty basic, that was the first step in the e-business world. From being a brick and mortar business, Brady moved to a Bricks-and-clicks business strategy, also known as click-and-mortar. Integrating both offline and online presence was the beginning of a new era for the large American company. Today, Brady has become a reference in the E-commerce world.

Not only has the company managed to commit its distributors and suppliers to invest in the new technology but it enables Brady to get closer from the customers and to have a better understanding their needs. Internet is definitely powerful in data mining.

The use of that new technology completely changed the face of the company. Moving to e-business enabled the company to explore a large range of possibilities. By using internet as a preferential tool, Brady managed to develop the best organization to reach success. Internet made it possible for Brady as well as other online companies to increase the company's distribution possibilities by creating new channels thanks to the World Wide Web. Of course the implementation this innovation required organization but it also enabled the company to perform better in term of sales profit over the past years.

Let's a have a closer look at the company strategy move and let's try to understand what kind of improvements keep leading the company towards success.

E-business strategy

According to Osterwalder, Pigneur and Tucci(2005), a business model could be defined as following:

Because Brady started quite earlier using online communication means and was using technologies while developing its core competencies, it was not that surprising to see the American company modifying its strategy so that it could benefit from online sales advantages. Furthermore the company was doing well in term of business performance; it indeed underwent uninterrupted increase of sales, profitability and dividend growth. Those important profits enabled the company to invest in R&D ad became pioneer in Click and Mortar business strategy. Many "brick-and-mortar" retailers recognized that such companies had identified valuable niche markets and began to add e-commerce capabilities to their Web sites

That is actually because the companies could financially afford to invest and move to an e business strategy that such changes occurred in Brady's organizations. The philosophy of the firm that became much more customer-oriented also helped a lot. The main idea was to make things as convenient as possible by multiplying the number possibilities and distribution channel "to make lives easier" as mentioned Gene Wright, eBusiness Director, Direct Marketing Group.

The strategy of the company was to support the firm's multiple channels. The goal of such a change was put in place to "change the value proposition of the customer". The buyer is more in the development process because the technological means enable the company to understand better the customers' needs. Using technology, businesses can reach a large number of customers with minimal costs.

Moving to e-Business represented a huge change for Brady. According to Dave Hawke, Graphics group vive president, "opting for e business has not modified the company business model but enables to reach larger range of opportunities". When we know that today, the type of business models might depend on how technology is used, we actually can wonder if Brady moved to a new business model thanks to internet.

It is important to notice that using internet as a new distribution channel did not mean that Brady would give up the existing distribution channel; the main idea was to create some more. Integrating both offline and online presences is a Bricks-and-clicks business strategy. This leads to many changes in terms of distributors, suppliers and customers' relationship. Theses changes lead to various organizational modifications that altered the whole structure of the business. It required tremendous changes concerning the Information Systems and the process of using theses information. Most of the supplier and particularly Brady's distributors have followed Brady new organizational structure. Investing in new technologies and integrating ERP in the Information Management System made many companies move to another model. We definitely can say that it is what happened to Brady and most of its business partners.

A profitable model

This move to a new business model, even though the existing brick and mortar business strategy was still on top of the agenda, developing an efficient online sales system lead to modifications of the whole system. What is really interesting with this online sales strategy is that it brings many benefits, either for the company itself, the customers but also for the close Brady's partners.

First, moving to this click and mortar model, brought plenty of advantage for Brady. Indeed, not only can the company save money but also time. Thanks to processing orders costs that have been cut; going from $16 for a phone orders to $5 for a web order, the company can save money. No need to say that distributors and suppliers also benefit by these cost cut. By establishing online presence added to the traditional presence, the company has also access to a larger number of customers. Moreover, the company can also get better information about the customer and create efficient data bases and customers buying patterns; and the customer self service principle is also part of Brady's savings, whether it is time or money.

The main consequence of moving to an online sales strategy enabled Brady to increase sales. Because they could offer products at very low marginal cost, they managed to interest people; furthermore it seems important to notice that they usually spend more on customer acquisition at the beginning.

The fact Brady follows a clicks and



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