Gati's Rs 20 Cr Expense Turns Out To Be a Real GEM
Gati Limited Â- A leader in the express cargo industry in India Â- is reaping remarkable benefits from its gargantuan 200 man year effort spent in designing its own customized ERP solution, called GEMS (Gati Enterprise Management Solution).
Speaking to CXOtoday, G. S. Ravikumar, CIO, Gati Limited, said, Â“We made a decision to acquire a comprehensive ERP solution in the year 2000. As there was no off the shelf packaged ERP available for our industry, we had no option but to design one on our own. GEMS is the result of a concentrated effort spent by us in designing and developing with our consultants Satyam. We have incurred an expense of approximately Rs 20 crore over a period of 2.5 years on the project - labeled as Gati@Web - which includes the cost of developing GEMS, acquiring the necessary hardware and Oracle software.Â”
GEMS is a fully integrated, browser based ERP solution, that maps the entire operation process, starting from pickup request calls to complaint resolutions. Oracle CRM and Oracle Financials sit on top of the ERP, which handle calls/complaint resolutions and balance sheet accounting respectively.
The software went live in Gati’s 300 offices - spread all over India - in July last year, and has delivered a substantial edge to the company over its competitors. GEMS supports 800 concurrent users at any given point of time, and has an array of Sun’s servers at a centralized location to support the traffic.
Regarding the challenges faced by Gati in undertaking a project of such a large scale, Ravikumar explained, Â“We had to revamp our infrastructure substantially to accommodate the new ERP. Setting up 120 additional locations from Jammu & Kashmir to Ernakulam was a daunting task, as connectivity was a problem.Â” Gati has managed to setup a Wide Area Network (WAN) through its 120 key locations in the country, running 64 Kbps and 2 Mbps leased lines. VSAT’s have also been used at around 10 odd locations across the country.
Taking technology to the next level, Gati has initiated unique services, like sending mobile alerts to its customers informing them about the delivery of packages. Customers can also avail of an Auto-email service, and view scanned Proof Of Delivery (POD) images online.
Â“We have decided to set up a Disaster Recovery (DR) site this year, which will involve duplicating our hardware, software and network. A consulting firm for the DR site will be appointed in the next couple of months, and the project should go live within a span of six months,Â” added Ravikumar.
Describing how Gati has taken the Open Source trend forward, Ravikumar explained, Â“We have 1000 desktops out of which hardly 10 users are on MS Office. The remaining have migrated to OpenOffice. We are also using iPlanet for our mail server, instead of MS Exchange.Â”
Gati plans to spend approximately Rs 4-5 Crore on IT this year, a substantial portion of which will go in maintaining the company’s numerous total of leased lines.