Supermarket giant Coles has adopted supply chain management and core finance and procurement platforms from SAP, and outlined its future investments in a global trade platform. 

As part of its wider ongoing digital transformation program, the new platforms are designed to improve product availability for customers while enabling efficiencies in supply chain. 

The retailer announced today it has successfully migrated its legacy core finance system to the SAP S/4HANA platform, improving the speed and stability of Coles’ financial systems. This has also enabled the deployment of the SAP Ariba procurement solution.

According to Coles, the two SAP tools 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.

“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

This was a remarkable collaboration between the finance and technology teams,” said Leah Weckert, CFO, Coles. 

“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.”

Coles is also planning to implement another piece of supply chain software next year called GT Nexus, a global trade platform that will streamline imports, reducing costs and modernising Coles’ international supply chain. 

Coles Executive General Manager Operations and Transformation Kevin Gunn said 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.”

Both projects leverage Coles’ strategic partnerships which have been announced over the last 18 months. 

“We have leveraged our strategic partnership with Microsoft to implement SAP S/4HANA in the Azure cloud. This gave us significant agility through the implementation project and was a key enabler of the short timeline. The development work Coles will need to undertake to integrate into the GT Nexus platform will also be hosted in Azure,” said Roger Sniezek , Coles Chief Information and Digital Officer. 

“For SAP Ariba, Accenture were our key implementation partner, again leveraging our strategic partnership. By working together with all our global partners, we are seeing clearly that we are able to deliver our strategy at pace.” 

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