United Co-operatives is one of the largest retail co-operatives in Europe, with a turnover in excess of £1.7bn and over 15,500 staff. It offers a wide range of services, which include food stores, travel, pharmacies, motor dealerships, funeral homes and a number of other subsidiaries.
United Co-operatives has grown significantly both organically and through acquisition, most notably from the merger with Yorkshire Co-operative in 2002. It is committed to improving efficiency, customer service and achieving economies of scale across its 1,000 outlets covering food, travel, motor dealerships, healthcare, non food and funerals.
The company has recently transformed its supply chain, moving from in-house purchasing to a buying group, the Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG). In addition, it has planned a £100 million investment strategy in its retail outlets. In order to maximise the success of both initiatives, United Co-operatives requires fast access to one consistent view of performance information across the organisation.
The development of a web portal using Business Intelligence from Business Objects enabled United Co-operatives to deliver complete transparency of operational performance and created new standards of supply chain visibility.
United Co-operatives required greater information transparency across the organisation in order to maximise both the efficiency of its supply chain and its £100 million investment strategy in its retail outlets. Paper-based performance reports and numerous views of data generated from disparate systems could not support United Co-operatives’ strategic direction.
In order to maximise the effectiveness of its supply chain, which is vital to the success of the company, United Co-operatives opted to replace its diverse information sources with a central data warehouse based upon Microsoft SQL Server, Kalido and BusinessObjects.
United Co-operatives is using BI solutions from Business Objects to provide performance reports to over 1,000 branches and a Kalido Data Warehouse provides a single source of retail information.
Developed by Acuma, the data warehouse receives information from United Co-operatives’ head office systems, convenience stores and the healthcare business. Using Business Objects BI solutions, employees can query, report and analyse that information via a web portal.
With this improved information visibility the retailer has been able to streamline 36 operational reports to one. In addition, numerous reports across core business areas are distributed to its 1,000 branches and operational staff who use Business Objects to identify opportunities for business improvement.
United Co-operatives has attained a substantial return on investment in the data warehouse and BusinessObjects within one year.
United Co-operatives has experienced first year savings of £1.4 million through improved negotiation with suppliers, enhanced range management, fraud reduction and administrative efficiency.
The ability to access and analyse one consistent view of performance information has also enabled the retailer to achieve over 30 business goals. These include improved stock availability, reduced wastage, increased basket size, more targeted promotions and improved supply chain efficiency.
United Co-operatives is using predictive modelling and financial appraisal to identify the value of potential acquisition opportunities. Organisations that are acquired can now be rapidly incorporated into the business through the immediate integration of sales data into the data warehouse and management reports.
The company plans to use BusinessObjects to report on information across its merchandise and JDA space planning software in order to enhance range management. It will also be used to leverage EDI and in-store inventory information to profile store performance. This information will inform the company’s extensive planned investment in store refurbishment and new building to ensure space is maximised through targeted, relevant product ranges.