John Glanville

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John Glanville is group IT director at UK-based Caradon Plumbing – the company behind such famous names as Ideal Boilers and Henrad and Stelrad radiator brands.

During his 25 years in IT, Glanville has overseen a succession of complex, cross-border projects including the worldwide implementation of Microsoft Office to Caradon’s 6,500 users; the implementation of SAP across Caradon businesses and the introduction of Navision into businesses in Holland and Belgium.

A focus on Stock Control
Since his appointment as IT director earlier this year, he has turned his attention to the company’s supply chain systems, focusing primarily on stock control, including VMI and logistics.

Glanville believes new technology has a huge role to play in the future development of many business functions – not just in supply chain management.

‘Effective IT solutions are just about getting the right answers by pressing the right buttons,’ says Glanville, who is a bit of a rare bird in the IT aviary; a technical expert who understands the importance of people within a business.

‘All too often I’ve seen IT departments getting themselves a bad reputation by working in isolation, and developing systems that do not fit in with the company’s culture, ultimately delivering no measurable business benefit.’

Glanville is typical of a new breed of IT directors in the manufacturing sector who have graduated from the ‘back room’ to the boardroom.

In his new role, the issue facing Glanville and his team was bringing visibility and intelligence to a supply chain environment that had until then relied on a mixture of faxes and EDI to manage order entries and deliveries to major customers such as Jewsons, the builders’ merchants.

‘While looking at all the options in assessing our order intake system, the two aspects I was most concerned with were return on investment and the impact the solution would have on our client relations. One of the issues facing IT directors is their reputation within the commercial environment.

If you cannot demonstrate measurable benefit, then you have to question that function’s longevity in an organisation. All too often, I have seen IT and logistics managers scope major projects, employ armies of consultants to oversee pre-scoping, scoping, implementation and post-implementation activities, only to move onto another business before the project is complete. The typical fall-out from this series of events is an embattled-looking management team sat round the table trying to figure out if the three year investment has been worth it.’

Companies now are simply refusing to sign-up to supply chain projects that can take years to implement and integrate with existing systems; the risk is with the organisation not the IT vendor, and it’s just too high.

‘Due to the considerations above, we decided to work with the specialist on-demand supply chain management firm, Wesupply, with its online, utilitylike solutions. The speed of implementing these types of solutions compared with the traditional build-your-own approach is refreshing and they come in at a fraction of the cost, delivering measurable ROI with minimal risk.

Increased capacity
‘We have found that the Wesupply solution has not only reduced costs at Caradon has increased manufacturing capacity and created clear supply chain visibility – it has changed the way the business interacts with its suppliers and customers. It’s an example of where technology has brought businesses closer together, and that’s the sort of technology I like,’ says Glanville. He has a clear view of the future.


  • John Glanville is group IT director at Caradon Plumbing. With a quarter of a century’s experience in the IT world, Glanville has masterminded complex, international projects including the implementation of Microsoft Office to 6,500 users, a major SAP installation and the introduction of Navision across businesses in Holland and Belgium. Upon his recent appointment to his new position, he turned his attention to re-thinking the company’s supply chain systems, focusing primarily on stock control, including VMI and logistics. He came up with an interesting solution.
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