Retail Cafe Chain Au Bon Pain Takes Fresh Approach With SAP

Feature Article | September 19, 2006 by SAP News

Joining a growing number of midsize retailers that are choosing SAP over Oracle to drive competitive advantage, Au Bon Pain will replace multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with the newest release of mySAP ERP to provide accurate, real-time information, end-to-end processes and Web-accessible services to employees and management across cafes and franchisees.
Founded in 1978 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Au Bon Pain operates more than 200 bakery cafes in the United States and Asia. The SAP rollout will underpin the company’s evolving business model and efforts to foster further growth, adapt to changing market dynamics, enter new markets and outpace larger competitors.
“In today’s environment, food retailers must be able to do more with less and quickly respond to market changes,” said Tim Oliveri, chief financial officer, Au Bon Pain. “SAP has demonstrated a commitment to our business and ability to give Au Bon Pain a holistic view to manage our operations with a solution that fits the resource and deployment requirement of a company of our size. We are confident the single, integrated solution will offer us a leading edge for many years, and provide the platform that supports the future growth of our business.”

Integration of core retail functions

Slated for full deployment in spring 2007, the SAP rollout will integrate core operations from the storefront to the corporate back-office, providing better insight into sales performance, workforce management, human resources and financials. Au Bon Pain also aims to deploy mySAP ERP to support electronic procurement, invoicing, sales order management and documentation of internal controls for Sarbanes-Oxley. Previously, data was scattered across the organization in paper form or in several disparate legacy systems.

Supporting growth while improving agility and efficiency

The new capabilities will support Au Bon Pain’s growth plans: executives will have the opportunity to quickly evaluate and analyze sales data to plan for cafe redesign, determine new food items for the menu, expand in relevant geographic locations and generate new concepts for stores such as the Bistro, a high-end restaurant in Boston.
In addition, the bakery chain will take advantage of SAP’s centrally-managed, Web-enabled workforce management application. The software enables retail managers to gain flexibility and control over business processes and allows corporate management to take more ownership of schedule planning and execution, helping managers devote more time to assist customers and coach employees. For instance, a manager will have the tools to create optimum employee schedules using sales and traffic data and align workforce scheduling strategy with corporate goals, customer expectations and the needs of employees. By consolidating information onto a single platform, the company aims to empower management to make faster and more informed decisions, reducing financial cycle times from weeks to days.
“With more than thirty years experience and expertise from relationships with more than 3,500 retailers worldwide, SAP understands how to help midsize retailers such as Au Bon Pain gain a strategic and competitive advantage going forward,” said Jim McMurray, senior vice president, Retail, SAP America Inc. “SAP is teaming with our retail customers of all sizes to maximize efficiency and to address key areas of revenue growth, customer satisfaction and operational excellence.”

Source: SAP AG

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