I think we take grocery stores for granted. They are at the end of a very complicated, regulated, and sensitive food supply chain that isn’t exactly easy to manage. And meeting the needs of today’s hungry consumer isn’t easy either. When we step into a grocery store we expect everything on our list to be in stock, fresh, priced right, and easy to find so we can get in and out as quickly as possible. We don’t care if there was a cold snap in Florida. If we cant pick up some fresh juicy oranges for our breakfast, it’s the grocer’s fault.
Texas-based, Brookshire Grocery Company (BGC) understands this and has made the customer experience its main priority since Wood T. Brookshire opened his first small store in 1928. Wood’s foremost concern was the well-being of others, a characteristic that continues to influence the company today.
This commitment to quality and service has grown the regional food chain to more than 150 supermarkets under the banners of Brookshire’s Food Stores, Super 1 Foods Stores, and FRESH by Brookshire’s. BGC also operates 3 distribution centers totaling more than 2 million square feet, runs manufacturing facilities that produce many award-winning products, including Goldenbrook Farms Premium Ice Cream, and employs approximately 13,000 people, known internally as “partners”.
Staying Customer-Centric Means Staying Modern
Nearly a decade ago, BGC realized its existing software systems could not keep up with its pace of growth. The disparate systems slowed processes, duplicated data, and increased costs throughout the company. To stay competitive and maintain high standards for product quality and customer service, BGC needed to upgrade to a modern software platform that would integrate all of its business processes and data. After a lengthy evaluation process, BGC decided SAP was best equipped to support its long-term strategy.
Over the years BGC has used SAP solutions to transform and improve many facets of its business. It started with an implementation of core finance and reporting, human resource, and payroll solutions. Next it focused on retail-specific solutions for procurement, inventory management, and forecasting and replenishment. Then it completed a manufacturing and maintenance project with functionality for manufacturing, product costing, plant maintenance, and sales and distribution.
Benefits from those SAP implementations are evident throughout the company. Easier access to data and better data quality improved reporting and decision making. Increased process efficiency reduced operational costs. Sales went up due to improved inventory availability and more visibility into internal and external business performance. And the stability and flexibility of the SAP platform enabled BGC to respond quickly to retail and manufacturing market changes.
Better Promotions Lead to Better Margins
Most recently BGC implemented the SAP Promotion Management for Retail application to improve marketing and merchandising collaboration and reduce promotional costs. SAP Promotion Management for Retail gives BGC the cross-process functionality it needs to simplify planning by managing and analyzing multichannel, localized, and personalized promotions.
Like most grocers, BGC advertises weekly merchandise promotions using print ads, inserts, flyers, and in-store displays with product images and price incentives. SAP Promotion Management for Retail allows BGC to plan and design promotional print layouts and assign sections of the layout to different merchandise categories or buyers. BGC can also use the application to perform financial modeling and simulations to compare price offer effectiveness and estimate margin gains.
BGC successfully implemented the new SAP application in about 10 months. The project included a business blueprint phase followed by phases for business functions, promotions, and forecasting. The SAP Consulting organization provided program oversight, a ramp-up coach, and the necessary technical and functional resources required to support the implementation.
BGC is now live with the fully integrated SAP Promotion Management for Retail application and is experiencing the following business benefits:
- Improved productivity – achieved better collaboration among vendors, marketing, category managers, and advertising execution groups
- Increased promotional effectiveness – enabled relevant, timely, and targeted advertising by product, category, and zone via automated ad versioning
- Gained accurate product and store level forecasts – provided visibility into the projected financial performance of each promotional event before it is launched
- Lowered promotional costs – reduced the time and output required to proof, review, and print advertisements
A Better Run Community
Throughout its history, BGC has made headlines by giving back to the communities it serves. By forming a long-term partnership with SAP, the customer-focused heritage established by Wood T. Brookshire will continue to flourish now and into the future. With each new implementation the company further transforms and streamlines operations for growth and takes another step toward achieving its mission – to provide a great food and shopping experience to its loyal customers. A mission everyone can appreciate.
To learn how BGC uses SAP to train employees check out this blog: Brookshire Grocery Taps Learning Technology To Help Supercharge Highly Skilled Employees
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