LondonNovasoft, a leading retail systems specialist, has been chosen by Halfords, the UK’s leading car accessory and cycle retailer, to provide a modular applications software suite based on SAP for Retail, to support an accompanying business re-engineering project.

Novasoft will be the primary contractor for the project as leader of a consortium of IT vendors and business transformation consultants, formed to provide retailers with a fast track to building integrated systems. The consortium comprises Novasoft, ITNET and Unipart, with Novasoft being the prime contractor.

Halfords accelerated the project following its acquisition by CVC Venture Capital Partners from The Boots Company in August 2002. It aims to transform its business systems and key processes to ensure that resources are focused on delivering a first class in-store offer for its customers.

Alison Vasey, Business Process Manager for Halfords, said, “We were aware of Novasoft’s reputation in the market place as SAP implementation experts with an ability to bridge the gap between “system speak” and “business speak”. This gave Halfords confidence that they would be business focussed and remove much of the learning curve for us.”

She continued, “Everyone we met was knowledgeable and friendly. They did not appear as a big consultancy house. They provided excellent support during the buying process, evidencing their expertise through thorough answers, and always found time to build a relationship with us. There was a good cultural fit between the two organisations.”

Vasey also spoke of the benefits Halfords expects the new solutions to deliver. “We want to increase the stability and integration of our IS infrastructure, and provide greater value to the business – from increased efficiency, improved processes and also better category management and supply chain capability. In effect, we want the business to present a more tailored, dynamic and flexible customer offer.”

Merchandising systems will be key to the solution provided for Halfords. Halfords Business Development Director, Nick Wharton said, “The store replenishment capability within SAP is central to the business case for investing in the development of Halford’s enterprise technology, improving stock availability for our customers while reducing overall levels of stockholding.”

The implementation of the new SAP for Retail solutions are planned to go live in a phased project over the next 20 months, with ITNET providing the ongoing hosting, support and management of the system. The new systems will enhance Halfords’ supply chain, category management, financial and HR capabilities. “The sharing of expertise and teamwork across Halfords, SAP and the consulting team from Novasoft will be a vital factor in the success of this project,” said Wharton.

Managing Director for Novasoft, Roy Tomlinson, said, “There are two important messages to the market in this contract – SAP is ideally suited to medium to large retailers, and a modular, integrated approach is the only sensible option for bringing together and leveraging diverse systems for competitive advantage.”

“Ultimately, SAP for Retail is specifically designed to meet the requirements of retailers, “ said Will O’Brien, Head of Retail, SAP UK. “It will provide Halfords with a high level of system integration and flexibility and deliver business efficiency, and ensure them a strong competitive advantage. SAP for Retail combines supply chain logic with customer relationship management, enabling retailers like Halfords to optimise strategic partnerships and leverage customer data to exploit multiple sales channels.”

The consortium created and led by Novasoft, includes ITNET, a leading IT consulting and business process outsourcing services company with particular experience of hosting SAP implementations, as well as SAP Partner of the year 2002, and Unipart Solutions Practice, the business and IT consulting arm of Unipart DCM, which brings SAP change management and process engineering expertise to the partnership. The consortium was created to tackle the integration hurdles facing most retailers looking to move to a more flexible IT infrastructure. The combined solution will enable them to take advantage of multiple channels to market, extended supply chains and improved in store availability and merchandising.

About Halfords
With more than 400 stores across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Halfords is the largest car accessory and cycle retailer in the UK. Around 12,000 product lines, an annual turn-over of in excess of £500 million and a company history spanning more than a century, it can be considered a British business institution.

About Novasoft
Novasoft UK, part of the Novasoft AG Group one of the leading SAP consulting companies in Europe, specialises in implementing SAP systems in the retail sector and has worked with leading high street names including The Big Food Group, B&Q, Woolworths, Kwiksave and Uniqlo. The Novasoft Group has operations in the UK, Finland, Switzerland, Singapore, the USA, Spain and the Czech Republic. Novasoft AG has been listed in the Neuer Market at Frankfurt Stock Exchange since November 1999.