Convenience store chain Co-op has turned to SAP help it embark on its biggest digital transformation programme to date.
The Retail Business Transformation programme, launched with suppliers this week, uses SAP technology to modernise operations across the entire business.
Co-op said it will use technology from SAP to improve ranging, stock holding, availability and more accurate forecasting information.
Specifically, Co-Op will deploy SAP's Retail ECC Suite on HANA, an integrated business process and data management platform that aims to streamline retail operations.
The company explained that the HANA-based system will not only allow it to ensure the availability of the right products in stores to meet customer demand, but also help better understand customer needs to facilitate savvy price and promotion decisions.
It's currently trialling the systems in 24 stores across five product categories and with the support of 15 suppliers, including the likes of Coca Cola and Heineken.
As part of this digital transformation initiative, the firm has also implemented a cloud-based supplier collaboration portal called Co-op Connect.
Michael Fletcher, chief commercial officer at Co-op, said: "The RBT programme is an integral part of Co-op's on-going success, as we look to ensure that the technology we are using will future proof the business for many years to come.
"This pilot will allow us to work with suppliers to ensure that it is working perfectly before we roll it out elsewhere, and we are already getting positive feedback that the new portal is faster and easier to navigate.
Fletcher added that investing in new technology will allow the firm to "grow the business, helping to deliver a stronger Co-op that will result in stronger communities".
Co-op's transformational project is yet another example of how major companies from banks to corner shop bands are exploring the use of the latest data management and cloud-based technologies to overhaul their business, ranging from streamlining certain operational aspects to completely reworking their core systems and IT infrastructure.
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Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan. You can follow Nicholas on Twitter.
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