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Avon Selects IBM: Order Shipment Systems Makeover Improves Efficiency

Press release from the issuing company

NEUFAHRN, GERMANY and BOULDER, CO – October 5, 2004 -- Avon's world-famous beauty products are reaching consumers around the world faster.  The global beauty giant recently elected to install a complete printing solution from IBM, including software, printing hardware and controller servers based on IBM Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) architecture, to achieve mission critical printing competency at Avon distribution centers worldwide.  According to Avon, it has achieved order shipping efficiency and product distribution improvements ranging up to 40 percent by implementing IBM Infoprint 4000, Infoprint 2000 and Infoprint 62 printing systems and robust IBM eServer pSeries servers. The IBM Infoprint Manager and eServer solution provides Avon with the ability to consistently meet its goal of shipping all invoices with products within 24 hours.   Before orders are transferred to the Avon shipping center in Munich, they are first entered into an IBM Server zSeries host system in the United Kingdom.  To allow greater output management flexibility, the data is then transferred over TCP/IP to IBM Infoprint Manager for AIX Version 4.1.  Standard line-data from the zSeries host VSE system is converted to the AFP format for increased efficiency, allowing for 2.5 million pages to be printed monthly on the Intelligent Printer Data Streams (IPDS) printers – and Avon to send comprehensive, compound-stitched paper documents with every package sent to its 4.4 million consultants worldwide. “We have hundreds of thousands of packages loaded and distributed worldwide every day.  Without the addition of the compound document, this production distribution process would be interrupted,” said Leonhard Aigner, Director of IT, Avon Germany.  “Avon’s success is based on the ability to quickly, accurately and reliably fill orders for our customers and the partnership we have with IBM ensures we have the most responsive, flexible printing and output management solution.” IBM’s Infoprint Manager runs on two IBM eServer pSeries 630 servers, which control all five installed printers.  While one pSeries 630 server is powerful enough to run the entire system, two were installed to facilitate disaster recovery and prevention.  The pSeries servers are mirrored for complete redundancy.  In the event of downtime on either machine, the other can handle the full system load.  The superior reliability of the pSeries servers and their ease of integration with the Infoprint systems make them the ideal choice, especially for companies dependent on mail-order transactions.   The installed printers include three Infoprint 2000-AF1 Cut Sheet printers, one Infoprint 4000-IS1 Simplex Printing Systems and one Infoprint 62 (4370) Continuous Form Cold Fusion printer. These devices are designated primarily for shipping documents and labels, though they are additionally used for reports and listings.  Additionally, because the solutions are based on IBM’s AFP architecture, Avon is able to utilize various paper types and finishing formats. The company is so pleased with the performance of the solution, it is being implemented in additional locations in Brazil, Canada, Spain and Turkey. Avon is moving to a 100 percent IBM environment; it is confident that the hardware and software concept represents the extreme in stability, scalability and reliability. “Printers help customers communicate critical business information to ensure operational efficiencies across the enterprise. Without timely invoices and shipping labels, Avon’s distribution process would grind to a halt,” says Angel Bustamante, Worldwide Product Manager, IBM Printing Systems Division.  “Avon’s deployment of IBM printing and server solutions will continue to translate into better customer service and substantial cost savings worldwide.”