Univar Solutions is a leading global distributor of specialty and basic chemicals. With 800 distribution facilities and a network of 8,000 producers worldwide, we rely on our operational excellence to provide customers with reliable deliveries, while offering cost competitive products. We operate in a heavily-regulated environment, sell entirely B2B, and have grown heavily through acquisition.
At Univar Solutions, we were dealing with shifting customer expectations — B2C experiences were influencing expectations in the B2B world to deliver seamless and consistent interactions. We looked to transform our commerce experience, but at the time our current infrastructure couldn’t fulfill the demand needed to run a high-value B2B commerce site.
We were working with a 30-year-old on-prem ERP that wasn’t built for internet scale and was disconnected from its host of cloud applications. This made it difficult for our IT to quickly implement change and made it difficult to respond to changing industry trends. Additionally, our current commerce site was a hosted software application that was consuming massive resources for upgrades and only offered basic transactional capabilities for customers. After enduring a 14-month upgrade to our legacy site, the team had enough and decided to search for a new platform. However, they knew they would also need a better integration strategy to support this new commerce platform.
To fulfill part of this strategy, we selected Salesforce’s B2B Commerce Cloud as its eCommerce solution. While this modernized its front-end experience, it also had a plethora of acquired cloud solutions and a 30-year-old mainframe ERP that was the system of record for critical product data. Our IT team knew that if they continued to build point-to-point integrations, they would continue to face scalability challenges in the future. Thus, they began adopting an API-led integration strategy with MuleSoft.
With MuleSoft, our business now exposes APIs to cloud applications securely, reduces synchronization issues, and makes its data easily accessible to the development team to use in business applications. By building a foundation of reusable assets, Univar Solutions went from contract to a live eCommerce site in just eight weeks. Over the next 12 months, we plan to expand into a new region, Canada, which we’ve historically had no eCommerce presence. By leveraging templates and patterns provided by our central IT team, Canada’s IT team was able to build out the new region’s IT environment faster than anticipated and without any downtime.
API-led connectivity provided Univar Solutions with an agile, adaptable approach to integration. We are now able to provide our customers with real-time pricing and inventory data, while ensuring our IT environment is prepared for future scale. By leveraging prebuilt assets, Univar Solutions can quickly bring commerce capabilities to new engagement channels and regions. By supporting fast deployments of new APIs to expand business, we continue to outpace the competition through innovation and exceptional customer experience.
For more on how we use Salesforce and MuleSoft to accelerate B2B commerce, see the presentation I gave at Dreamforce last year.