System upgrades are part and parcel of any large retail organisation. Like many before them, this UK grocery retailer needed to upgrade from its existing Oracle ORBC system. Alongside this upgrade, the retailer also planned to implement a Master Data Management (MDM) system to enable provision of a single trusted version of data for the business and an overarching single-sign on portal to join the three together.
With a large own brand portfolio, the retailer knew that landing this change well with suppliers was critical to its success.
S4RB had previous experience of helping this retailer to engage its supply base, and it was recognised that this supplier engagement know-how could be applied to change management for these new systems.
Any change management that involves suppliers requires a comprehensive supplier engagement strategy – just as any significant employee change would. Three new systems in total were to be implemented at a significant investment and with disruption to the entire commercial function. It was vital that suppliers adopted these systems in line with the planned implementation. S4RB used its proven ‘Three Pillars of Supplier Engagement’ framework to ensure that the new systems achieved a return on investment.
The retailer’s project management team had built internal engagement into its roll-out plan, but supplier engagement fell outside of this remit. It was recognised early on that there are subtleties between employee and supplier engagement and that finding the additional internal resource with the right skills to lead the supplier communications, support and training execution was not possible.
Retailers are at risk of making substantial losses due to a failure to work effectively with suppliers. S4RB calculates that a 10 per cent loss of productivity across own brand teams, which can number up to 800 people in the ‘big six’, could cost retailers more than £4million a year on resource alone.
This is without considering increased risk of failed product development, longer time-to-shelf, and the compliance and product safety risks directly attributed to inefficient interactions between retail teams and their suppliers.
It is also common for spec systems to only have 10-20% accurate data in them. Due to good change management on this particular project, specifications were up-to-date which minimised impact on internal teams. Thanks to a self-help platform and support desk, support queries were also reduced by half, negating the need for additional staff. Landing the system changes successfully meant that this retailer met its project goals and achieved the desired return on investment.
> 50,000 visits to self-help portal upon launch
> 55% reduction in support queries
> £60k employee resource saving