Hostess Finds a Better Way to Sell Twinkies

Hostess Brands, a wholesale bakery and distributor known for its Twinkies snack cakes, has implemented integration software from Sterling Commerce as part of its efforts to transform its supply chain. Sterling Commerce's Integration Suite is designed to enable Hostess to improve customer service by optimizing interactions with its more than 50,000 partners including suppliers, bakeries, distribution centers, depots and retailers.

Leveraging Sterling Commerce solutions, Hostess Brands has undertaken two IT initiatives: to provide seamless and flexible integration and to centralize and standardize integration processes into its ERP environment. These initiatives improve operational efficiency and reduce costs by optimizing processes such as order-to-cash, item/price synchronization, scan-based trading, returns and supply chain visibility.

In addition, improved data availability enables Hostess Brands to react more quickly to change. For example, the company faced a new customer requirement for item data synchronization capabilities in early 2010 and, with the integration solution, was able to deliver it under a tight six-week deadline.

For the integration of B2B documents and processes between its internal systems and applications and as a secure B2B gateway for all of its communications, Hostess has implemented B2B integration on-premise, using Sterling Integrator. To automate the transformation of its business documents into any required data format or protocol and exchange them securely to and from any trading partner, in any location, the company is using B2B integration-as-a-service with Sterling B2B Manager. The company also is implementing Sterling Control Center, an on-premise management solution for its file transfer activity, to improve cycle times by identifying and resolving exceptions more quickly.

As a part of its as-a-service offering, Sterling Commerce takes responsibility for the partner onboarding process and for ensuring documents are successfully sent and received within an agreed timeframe, working proactively with Hostess to resolve any issues and provide visibility into every step of the process. This is important considering the company's customers vary from big-box retailers to mom-and-pop corner stores. Hostess now has improved visibility and management of the B2B processes it shares across its entire partner community, regardless of its customers' size or IT sophistication.

As a next step in its supply chain transformation, Hostess is considering implementing mobile apps to enable its employees to have anytime, anywhere access to the integration solution.

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