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IT transformation project could not save Unipart Automotive

Margi Murphy | July 29, 2014
The company brought in Getronics to help streamline and rationalise escalating infrastructure.

The UK's largest independent car parts supplier Unipart Automotive has ceased trading despite efforts to turn the business around with a large-scale IT rationalisation project.

Speaking to ComputerworldUK last month, Unipart Automotive's CIO Dominic Ruscillo said the company had brought in IT services provider Getronics to refine its "hindrance" IT.

But the company called in administrators this week. A total of 1,244 employees were made redundant and a further 361 will leave after assisting administrators KPMG, the auditors announced.

Car part competitors Andrew Page and The Parts Alliance acquired 33 of the 180 UK-wide Unipart Automotive branches, and 361 employees will transfer.

Mark Orton, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: "Despite intensive efforts over recent weeks, a sale of the whole Unipart Automotive business could not be reached, and a buyer could only be found for 33 of the sites on a going concern basis. Unfortunately, the business had been experiencing financial stress for a number of years, so the level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business posed too much risk for most interested parties."

Unipart Automotive had hoped to cut 20 percent of IT costs over a five-year transformation plan drawn up following a refinancing deal to bring the company out of the red, Ruscillo told ComputerworldUK in June.The company had been victim to devastating network outages on a regular basis and the company had poor visibility of IT spend.

Unipart employees suffered 20-minute waits to log on to the system. Some employees would arrive at the office at 5:30am just to start logging in. But the migration was beginning to take effect, Ruscillo had said.

It had already migrated its four datacentres to the Getronics cloud, rationalising 157 servers down to 27.

"We have seen massive productivity gains just on logon times," Ruscillo said at the time.

The company was about to begin rationalising systems, thin clients, audits and licenses and Getronics was set to supply new core applications including a bespoke Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for Unipart Automotive's order management.

In May, The Daily Telegraph reported that Unipart Automotive had completed a refinancing with its partners following long term financial woes.


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