Coles completes migration to SAP S/4HANA in Azure

Prepares for rollout of Infor’s GT Nexus

Karyn Turbill,

Coles Group says it has migrated its core finance system to SAP S/4HANA, hosted in Microsoft’s Azure cloud, as well as rolled out the SAP Ariba procurement platform.

Coles revealed in February that it planned to implement a new SAP ERP platform, as well as Ariba and SuccessFactors HR, as part of an optimisation drive by the retailer.

“We had a very ambitious five-month timeline to implement SAP S/4HANA and we adopted a very innovative implementation approach with specialist partner Acclimation, utilising a toolset from SNP,” Coles CFO Leah Weckert said in a   statement.

“This was a remarkable collaboration between the finance and technology teams,” she said.

“SAP Ariba was also implemented at pace and is fundamentally changing how Coles purchases goods not for resale right across the business. It’s a foundational part of our Smarter Selling strategy,” the CFO said.

The company is now planning to roll out Infor’s GT Nexus global trade platform.

“We have committed to being technology-led in our stores and throughout our supply chain to reduce costs while delivering an even better shopping experience for customers and making life easier for our team members, GT Nexus is another investment in this,” said Coles chief information and digital officer Roger Sniezek.

“We have leveraged our strategic partnership with Microsoft to implement SAP S/4HANA in the Azure cloud. This gave us significant agility through the implementation project and was a key enabler of the short timeline.”

Coles this year anointed Azure as its “cloud platform of choice”.

“For SAP Ariba, Accenture were our key implementation partner, again leveraging our strategic partnership,” Sniezek said. “By working together with all our global partners, we are seeing clearly that we are able to deliver our strategy at pace.”

In July, Coles said that it would work with Accenture on a number of large-scale tech projects, with company aiming to realise savings of around $1 billion over four years through Smarter Selling.

The retailer is planning to implement GT Nexus in 2020. Coles said it expects GT Nexus to cut transport costs, simplify transactions with freight companies, and cut working capital by allowing it to reduce distribution centre stock holdings and have lower stock in transit.

“Availability is a key issue for customers and some popular items, such as light globes, herbs and spices and kitchen essentials like foil and garbage bags, cannot be sourced domestically so we need to look to international suppliers,” said Coles executive general manager operations and transformation Kevin Gunn.

“By understanding where our stock is while in transit, we can better plan our stock movements to enhance availability for customers and reduce the time taken to move products into our stores, improving our use of working capital by reducing the time inventory spends in our supply chain.

“It will also support improved efficiencies through the supply chain by minimising the need to move stock between states, resulting in fewer truck movements which will also improve road safety and reduce carbon emissions.”

Coles is also planning to implement a new online grocery ordering, single-pick fulfilment and home delivery platform based on technology from UK company Ocado by the end of FY23.

In FY19 Coles’ online arm for the first time achieved profitability. Coles Online enjoyed sales revenue of $1.1 billion in the 12 months to 30 June.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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