Published on 11-Feb-2014
Loblaw Companies Limited (“Loblaw”) is Canada’s largest food distributor and a leading provider of general merchandise products, drugstore and financial products and services. Through its various operating banners, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a one-stop destination in meeting their food and everyday household needs. This goal is pursued through a portfolio of store formats across the country. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering.
During a business transformation project from sales to supply chain, Canadian retail giant Loblaw discovered data challenges that would impact enterprise-wide information quality.
Loblaw engaged IBM® Global Business Services® to conduct a root-and-branch data review, involving all partners in impartial discovery and analysis.
Loblaw has gained visibility into the root causes of data challenges, with a detailed roadmap to resolve potential problems, enabling the transformation project to move forward with confidence once again.
Loblaw Companies Limited (“Loblaw”) is Canada’s largest food distributor and a leading provider of general merchandise products, drugstore and financial products and services. Through its various operating banners, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a one-stop destination in meeting their food and everyday household needs. This goal is pursued through a portfolio of store formats across the country. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It also offers Canada’s strongest control label program, including the unique President’s Choice and no name brands.
Over 134,000 full-time and part-time colleagues execute its business strategy in more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores as well as 21 distribution centres from coast to coast. This makes Loblaw one of Canada’s largest private sector employers. It strives to contribute to the communities it serves and to exercise responsible corporate citizenship.
Building an integrated retail operation
As part of a business transformation project to support core business functions, such as sales and distribution, financial accounting, materials management, logistics and supply chain management, Loblaw initiated implementation key elements of the SAP for Retail solution portfolio, and at the time of writing the solution is in the process of going live.
During the deployment process for several stores, Loblaw noticed that data issues posed risks to its transformation project timeline. Because of the potential impact of unreliable core data, Loblaw chose to conduct an assessment to uncover the root causes.
To address its data challenges, Loblaw engaged IBM Global Business Services to diagnose the potential problems disrupting the SAP implementation project and its supply chain operations.
With support from Loblaw’s Senior Vice President of IT, IBM Global Business Services performed extensive research and analysis over the span of the engagement. Specifically, IBM conducted interviews and workshops with the appropriate project teams and assess the situation.
Presenting detailed, actionable results
After the assessment, the IBM team presented the Loblaw project team with both tactical and strategic findings along with a heat map to illustrate problem severity. The findings cover the following topics:
- Article deviations
- Article assortment
- Article lifecycle management
- Base unit of measure
- Article control center
- Article Master resources and skill sets
The assessment identified the real problems occurring across the teams within the SAP implementation project and within the supply chain operations.
In addition, the IBM Business Consulting Services team provided Loblaw with problem descriptions supported by detailed “Causes” and “Business Impact.” The IBM team also supported the assessment with a roadmap of how to address both the tactical and strategic issues and in what order.
Establishing a clear vision for the future
By working with IBM Global Business Services to identify the potential problems affecting its SAP implementation project, Loblaw established a clear vision of the root causes of the data challenges it was experiencing. In addition to clearly and concisely understanding the causes, the client obtained a detailed roadmap to resolve the potential problems.
With a valid data model in place, Loblaw would be able to deploy advanced business solutions, such as the optimization of assortments of seasonal products, which are key enablers of sales and profitability maximization. By analyzing the current assortment of articles using machine learning and clustering, combined with transactional history, demographics, location details, weather patterns, micro segmentation and store characteristics, Loblaw will be able to provide optimal assortments at the group, banner and store level. In turn, based on market understanding and actual sales data, the system will enable accurate forecasting for both supply and demand.
The result, when put together, is that Loblaw will have transformed its retail operations, from supply chain through to final sale.
Finally, the industry knowledge, information management expertise and best practices demonstrated by the IBM Global Business Services team helped Loblaw gain the ability to make decisions on how to move the SAP transformation project forward.
Understanding the benefits of impartial advice
As a result of the engagement with IBM Global Business Services, Loblaw has gained access to an independent, impartial view of how best to optimize its deployment of the SAP for Retail solutions. Over the longer term, solving the data quality challenges is expected to help Loblaw maximize the benefits of the solutions, and help transform operations with integrated, validated data at every step of the way.
The specific IBM Global Business Services engagement delivered:
- Visibility into the root causes of data challenges
- Detailed roadmap to resolve potential problems
- Ability to move the business transformation project forward.
For more information
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Products and services used
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