Coles presses on with procurement IT transformation

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Coles presses on with procurement IT transformation
Coles Group's Camilla Woods.

Backs Ariba, DocuSign to keep contracts moving.

Coles Group used a combination of SAP Ariba and DocuSign to quickly execute a large volume of contracts during Covid, such as procuring equipment to meet safety requirements.

Head of transformation in the procurement function, Camilla Woods, told SAP’s procurement reimagined conference that Ariba and DocuSign had been put in place before the existence of Covid-19.

“We deployed Ariba source-to-contract and DocuSign back in June 2019 and that's enabled both our procurement team and our stakeholders internally and externally to work at pace in sourcing, approving and executing quite a large volume of contracts, without having to physically be in the office over most of this year,” Woods said.

“Having an integrated cloud solution like Ariba has helped us work transparently from anywhere at any time.”

Woods said that had enabled Coles to procure - among other things - protective personal equipment (PPE) that it needed for its store environments.

“We've all had to source a lot of ... sanitiser, incremental cleaning and security,” she said.

“At Coles we've had to source and install checkout screens, all in a very rapid timeframe.”

Additionally, Woods said that Coles had continued with its procurement transformation through the pandemic period.

“While we've dealt with the Covid challenges, my team have moved to working remotely, and we've actually transitioned the final release of our Ariba Guided Buying and standard procure-to-pay interface as well as SLP [supplier lifecycle and performance] and risk management processes, so we now have a full end-to-end source-to-pay solution,” Woods said.

“Also [in September], Coles deployed SuccessFactors and Fieldglass, so it's been a really busy and challenging year.”

SAP Fieldglass is a vendor management system, while SuccessFactors is SAP’s cloud-based HR platform.

The retailer unveiled plans late last year to revamp procurement and HR on a new SAP S/4 HANA enterprise resource planning (ERP) core that it had put in place.

It has installed the Ariba platform and modules with the assistance of Accenture.

Ariba is used to buy goods that are not intended for resale in its supermarkets. 

“Coles has implemented SAP Ariba to digitise and unify the end-to-end processes of sourcing, contracting, buying and paying for goods and services,” Accenture said separately of the project. 

“Some examples of these goods and services include professional services, marketing, corporate and store services, store infrastructure, supply chain and digital. 

“All core purchase-to-pay activity (ordering, fulfillment and invoicing) is also conducted via the Ariba Network, providing a seamless, efficient interaction.”

Ariba is formally considered a key component of Coles’ ‘Smarter Selling’ strategy, a four-year transformation effort that uses a mix of data and technology-led solutions to generate efficiencies and cost-out.

The strategy delivered its first $250 million out of an expected $1 billion in savings back in August of this year.

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