Co-op launches pilot for biggest ever business transformation programme with SAP

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 Co-op, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, has announced details of the first stage of its Retail Business Transformation programme (RBT), the biggest transformation programme the convenience store retailer has ever undertaken.

Launched this week with suppliers, the system pilot will support Co-op’s ambitious growth strategy, introducing new SAP technology to improve ranging, stock holding, availability, and more accurate forecasting information. A new cloud-based Supplier Collaboration portal – Co-op Connect – is also in place.

Focus: shoppers, stores, suppliers

Co-op is deploying SAP’s Retail ECC Suite on HANA; an integrated business process and data management platform that will deliver a single, real-time, consistent process-centric view across retail operations. This will enable improved ranging, stock visibility and optimised stock levels to ensure availability of the right product in stores to meet customer demand. It will also help to better understand customer demand, to facilitate better price and promotion decisions to the benefit of the customer and the business.

The systems are being tested in 24 stores, across five categories with 15 suppliers and c300 SKUs. The categories being trialed are soft drinks, salads, paper, pizza and salad, working with suppliers including Coca Cola and Heineken.

Michael Fletcher, chief commercial officer at Co-op, said: “The RBT programme is an integral part of Co-op’s on-going success, as we look to ensure that the technology we are using will future proof the business for many years to come. This pilot will allow us to work with suppliers to ensure that it is working perfectly before we roll it out elsewhere, and we are already getting positive feedback that the new portal is faster and easier to navigate.

“Investing in new technology will allow us to grow the business, helping to deliver a stronger Co-op that will result in stronger communities.”

“This is a true collaborative partnership with Co-op and we are playing a major role in its groundbreaking transformation project,” said Jens Amail, managing director UK and Ireland, SAP. “With a vision to outpace the competition and streamline supply chain efficiencies, we will deliver a real-time, integrated retail and finance business platform to support the Co-op’s successful growth into the future.”