Distance quarantines HP supply chain from US glitch

Hewlett-Packard's customers in Australia with orders for Proliant servers have escaped the lengthy delivery delays facing their peers in the US where problems plague the hardware manufacturer's SAP-based order processing and supply chain system.

HP Australia's director of servers Stephen Bovis told Computerworld that local and Asia-Pacific customers have been spared the fallout of HP's US ordering and supply chain glitch because HP Australia's SAP system had already been integrated - and has been up and running since the beginning of this year.

"I guess you could say we are isolated from the US system as a result of [our outlying supply chain system] and also order processing is part of Asia-Pacific. In Australia we have already implemented the system…in February this year and we are already operational. As a result of that we are not experiencing [the problems the US is]," Bovis said. Because HP Australia still produces its own Proliant servers, there is supply-chain separation from the US, he added.

"We have local manufacturing of Proliant at our technology centre out at Rydalmere (NSW)," he said.

Bovis said part of the problem with the HP US rollout of SAP was the fact it was trying to standardize three disparate IT systems it acquired via Digital and Compaq mergers onto a single uniform platform.

"The reason for that new system was to integrate the systems that we have in place as a result of HP, Digital and Compaq coming together.

That's the reason for the systems implementation. If you look at it we were three very separate companies that had three very separate systems. The idea of this [new] system was to effectively bring all those together as one," Bovis said.

HP's problems with SAP have also caused headaches for PR juggernaut Burson-Marsteller, which finds itself in the awkward position of having both vendor publicity accounts and having to hose down negative publicity that's been generated.

One Burson-Marsteller public relations consultant became noticeably tired and emotional when asked how she would describe current relations between the two vendors, stating press reports about the US supply chain saga was causing HP customers to ring the vendor in a bid to clarify the situation locally and this had become "an issue".

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