A trio of Microsoft Business Solutions partners have signed an agreement to help global office supplies manufacturer Esselte consolidate 18 ERP systems and more than nine warehouse management solutions into one global enterprise solution. Partners Aston Business Solutions, Columbus IT Partner and eBECS will help implement Microsoft Axapta across four continents and support 3,000 users. "Esselte is entering a five-year strategic plan with a goal of building product category leadership for each of our bands in all of our key global markets," says Magnus Nicolin, Esselte president and CEO. "A centralized IT infrastructure will streamline supply chain management and manufacturing processes, allowing us to focus efforts on our core brands and global expansion." The first core version of the new system is expected to deploy in Russia, Australia and the Benelux countries by May 2004, followed by the U.S. later in the year. Esselte is a private company owned by Boston-based private equity investment firm J.W. Childs Associates. The $1.1 billion company's brands include Pendaflex and Duo-tang.