Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers

Business Goals

Scaling 30-year-old processes for technology and growth

Ritchie Bros. is the world’s largest industrial auctioneer. Established in 1958, Ritchie Bros. (RBA) has experienced consistent year-over-year growth, with more than $3.8 billion of equipment, trucks and other assets sold in 2013.

“Many of our business processes have been the same for decades,” said Kelly Gilchrist, Program Director at RBA. “The business processes are working, but they won’t scale for the kind of growth we experience each year, and for the global marketplace in which we work. We needed to find a way to change how we manage our processes.”

With this in mind, RBA established a five-year transformation program to reengineer all of its business systems. At its core, the transformation program design would rely on cloud-based applications, such as Salesforce® Sales Cloud®. For years, RBA had used hard-coded scripts to pull data from one application to another, so they knew they needed a cloud-based, enterprise-grade platform; this approach would enable RBA to integrate the various applications it relies on to manage a complex network of business processes.

Applications integrated today include:

Salesforce.com Sales Cloud
Oracle® E-Business Suite®
IBM® AS/400 Server Platform

Converting manual coding and checkpoints across dozens of integrations with no commonality translated into 30 different projects during a five-year window. RBA wanted to start with automating auction planning and scheduling as well as managing customer and contract information.

Integration Challenges

Ritchie Bros. enlisted the help of their trusted Salesforce.com System Integration partner, Traction on Demand, to assist with its vendor selection project. Boomi and a competitor were short-listed, and a proof of concept was requested from both integration vendors. The result, according to Gilchrist, “was obvious,” and Ritchie Bros. selected Boomi as their enterprise integration platform to replace their hard-coded system interfaces. Boomi AtomSphere’s 100 percent cloud-based platform, and flexibility to run Atoms on-premises, combined with its efficiency, speed, reliability, ease of use and scalability, made it the clear choice for Ritchie Bros.

The most important objective of RBA’s transformation project was the ability to design their existing back-office systems for high scalability. The two projects tackled first were:

Auction planning and scheduling. RBA must efficiently and accurately schedule auction workers, develop an auction calendar and plan the sequence of lots to auction. This was automated by a new system built on Force.com®, and integrated with an IBM AS/400 server platform and a proprietary point-of-sale (POS) system.
Customer and contract management. Managing customer information and contracts is critical. RBA automates this process by integrating Salesforce.com Sales Cloud (CRM), DocuSign and Oracle E-Business Suite with the IBM AS/400 server platform, its proprietary POS system, and a proprietary asset appraisal system.

How Boomi Helped

Ritchie Bros. reports the following operational and performance benefits of using Boomi AtomSphere as its application integration solution:

  • “The best” usability: The developers and administrators at Ritchie Bros. report that AtomSphere’s usability is superior to all the integration solutions they evaluated. AtomSphere’s drag-and-drop interface simplifies tasks and eliminates the learning curve for developers and administrators.
  • Speed of transactions: AtomSphere is able to handle the high volume of transactions generated across multiple applications.
  • Increased productivity and efficiencies: With AtomSphere, RBA expects to focus more resources on other areas of the business by automating integration processes that once required manual coding and quality assurance checkpoints. These integration processes should run far more frequently and efficiently as a result.
  • Decreased errors: The creation of standardized integrations across disparate, incompatible data sources is expected to decrease the margin for interface errors, and the number of errors.
  • Unparalleled reliability and scalability: Boomi’s integration platform as a service (iPaaS) provides reliability and scalability to satisfy the expectations of RBA’s transformation program.

Ritchie Bros. has already completed two of the 30 projects that comprise its transformation program. Most of the remaining 28 projects, says Gilchrist, “will rely on Boomi AtomSphere as a key integration technology.”