by Divina Paredes

CIO 100: Foodstuffs North Island

Mar 24, 2016
Technology Industry

TWO YEARS AGO, Foodstuffs North Island Limited (FSNI) was created from the merger of the Auckland and Wellington co-operatives behind New Zealand’s largest food, grocery and wholesale retailer.

FSNI brands include Four Square, New World, PAK’nSAVE and Gilmours, and now employs more than 24,000 people across the North Island.

With the integration of the IT teams and a number of significant projects in the pipeline, the technology landscape at FSNI has been in a constant state of change and growth.

The deployment of SAP retail to all the business areas is behind the biggest improvement for the organisation by IT in the past 12 months, says FSNI CIO Peter Muggleston.

The work continues for Programme Lightning, FSNI’s single largest transformation undertaking. Lighting’s main objective is to create the “one Foodstuffs” way of working by standardising processes and systems to deliver consistent and actionable business information.

The programme involves deployment of a new ERP system but it is more than just a technology project, says FSNI.

Through Lightning, best practice in retail across merchandising, purchasing, distribution, marketing and selling, and finance has been introduced to FSNI.

Approximately 3,500 support centre and store team members have already upskilled through the Lightning programme enabling them to work more efficiently and make informed decisions in their daily tasks.

Another key achievement of the programme was technical readiness. FSNI says 195 stores were incorporated into the corporate network which enabled the Lighting Technical Readiness Team to work in any of these premises remotely and wirelessly.

This year, the company will continue further integration of the systems and processes to establish the FSNI goal of ‘one way of doing business’, alongside significant business technology projects.

Muggleston says ICT staff numbers, budgets and projects will increase by up to 10 per cent this year.

Among the projects in the pipeline are around online shopping, New World Loyalty Programme, SAP on HANA upgrade, SAP store deployment programme, and supply chain systems (warehouse management and transport management).

The New World Loyalty Programme was rolled out first in its sister company Foodstuffs South Island. The card usage exceeded expectations with 80 per cent of sales being scanned with a Clubcard, suggesting customers see value in the programme. The data collected will assist the business in knowing its customers better.

The supply chain strategy, on the other hand, will be implemented over the next 10 years. It is designed to better exploit the operating leverage of a large retail supply chain whilst consolidating and simplifying the business unit and enhancing store service.

Muggleston says work will continue around enhanced development capabilities, including automated release and deployment, cloud based environments and workplace collaboration tools.