Coles adopts ‘world-class’ digital platforms

Coles Group says it has taken a “significant step” in its ongoing digital transformation strategy.

According to the retailer, it has adopted “world-class” global supply chain management and core finance and procurement platforms to improve product availability for customers while enabling efficiencies in supply chain to support Coles’ Smarter Selling strategy.

Supply chain

Coles will implement GT Nexus, a global trade platform built by Infor.

The retailer says the platform will streamline imports, reducing costs and modernising Coles’ international supply chain.

The GT Nexus platform is a scalable solution which will enable Coles to:

  • Reduce working capital through lower stock in transit and distribution centre stock holdings.
  • Reduce transport costs, including freight, demurrage and customs clearance.
  • Simplify transactions with freight service providers.

Kevin Gunn, Executive General Manager of Operations and Transformation at Coles, says the GT Nexus platform would enable real time visibility of international stock.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Finance and procurement

Coles says it has “successfully migrated” its legacy core finance system to the SAP S/4HANA platform. This is expected to improve the speed and stability of Coles’ financial systems.

The new finance platform has also enabled the deployment of the SAP Ariba procurement solution.

The combination of SAP Ariba and S/4HANA, says Coles, will enable “significant” cost savings in procurement by centralising management of purchasing for goods not for resale, allowing for consolidation of suppliers and improved trading terms.

Leah Weckert, Chief Financial Officer at Coles, says the implementation of the two SAP platforms was an important milestone in the continued modernisation of Coles’ systems. This, she explains, will enable the delivery of future transformation projects and support ongoing improvement in business processes.

“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,” Ms Weckert said.

“This was a remarkable collaboration between the finance and technology teams.

“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.”

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