The Benefits of SAP Retail Solutions

January 16, 2014 by David Trites

Photo: Brookshire

Photo: Brookshire

Don’t take your local grocery store for granted. It lies at the end of a sensitive, complex, and highly-regulated supply chain. Pleasing hungry consumers isn’t easy either: grocery customers expect everything on their shopping list to be in-stock, fresh, priced right, and easy to find. They don’t care if there was a cold snap in Florida. If they can’t grab a few juicy oranges for tomorrow’s breakfast, it’s the grocer’s fault.

Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Company (BGC) understands this. Since Wood T. Brookshire opened the doors of his first small store in 1928, customer experience has been the grocer’s priority. This commitment to quality and service has grown the regional food-chain to more than 150 supermarkets under the banners of Brookshire’s Food Stores, Super 1 Foods Stores, and FRESH by Brookshire’s. BGC also operates three distribution centers totaling more than 2 million square feet, runs manufacturing facilities that produce many award-winning products, including Goldenbrook Farms Premium Ice Cream, and employs approximately 13,000 people, known internally as “partners”.

SAP supports BGC strategy

Nearly a decade ago, BGC realized its existing software systems could not keep up with its pace of growth. The disparate systems slowed processes, duplicated data, and increased costs company-wide. To stay competitive and maintain high standards for product quality and customer service, BGC needed to upgrade to a modern software platform that would integrate all of its business processes and data. After a lengthy evaluation process, BGC decided SAP was best equipped to support its long-term strategy.

Next page: Benefits for finance, HR, and inventory management

Ever since, BGC has used SAP solutions to transform and improve many facets of its business. First came an implementation of core finance and reporting, human resource, and payroll solutions. Next, BCG focused on retail-specific solutions for procurement, inventory management, and forecasting and replenishment. Then it completed a manufacturing and maintenance project with functionality for manufacturing, product costing, plant maintenance, and sales and distribution.

Benefits from those SAP implementations are evident throughout the company. Easier access to data and better data quality improved reporting and decision-making. Increased process-efficiency reduced operational costs. Sales went up due to improved inventory availability and more visibility into internal and external business performance. And the stability and flexibility of the SAP platform enabled BGC to respond quickly to retail and manufacturing market changes.

Better retail promotions mean better margins

Most recently, BGC implemented the SAP Promotion Management for Retail application to improve marketing and merchandising collaboration and reduce promotional costs. SAP Promotion Management for Retail gives BGC the cross-process functionality it needs to simplify planning by managing and analyzing multichannel, localized, and personalized promotions.

Next page: Increased productivity, more control over ads, lower costs

Like most grocers, BGC advertises weekly merchandise promotions using print ads, inserts, flyers, and in-store displays with product images and price incentives. SAP Promotion Management for Retail allows BGC to plan and design promotional print layouts and assign sections of the layout to different merchandise categories or buyers. BGC can also use the application to perform financial modeling and simulations to compare price-offer effectiveness and estimate margin gains.

BGC successfully implemented the new SAP application in about 10 months. The project included a business blueprint phase followed by phases for business functions, promotions, and forecasting. The SAP Consulting organization provided program oversight, a ramp-up coach, and the necessary technical and functional resources required to support the implementation.

Lower costs, higher productivity, better forecasts

The grocery chain is now live with the fully-integrated SAP Promotion Management for Retail application. Business benefits include:

  • Improved productivity. BGC improved collaboration between its vendors and the company’s marketing, category management, and advertising-execution groups.
  • Increased promotional effectiveness. Automated ad versioning enables relevant, timely, and targeted advertising by product, category, and zone.
  • Accurate product and store level forecasts. The SAP solution provides visibility into the projected financial performance of promotional events before they are launched.
  • Lower promotional costs. Time and output required to proof, review, and print advertisements is greatly reduced.

Next page: How BGC makes the headlines

SAP partnership for great food and shopping

Throughout its history, BGC has made headlines by giving back to the communities it serves. By forming a long-term partnership with SAP, the customer-focused heritage established by Wood T. Brookshire nearly a century ago will continue to flourish far into the future. With each new SAP implementation, the company further transforms and streamlines its operations toward growth and the fulfillment if its stated mission: to provide a great food and shopping experience to loyal customers.

This story originally appeared in SAP Business Trends.

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