Woolworths' finance shared services operation has undergone a transformation using cloud-hosted contact centre and robotic process automation (RPA) technology to respond to supplier queries faster and reduce money owed to the company.
Transactions solutions lead Rob Fellowes said the project was initially driven by the need to enable Finance Shared Services' (FSS) contact centre to operate remotely in the pandemic.
However, the transformation also feeds into a broader focus customer-centric focus across Woolworths.
"We’re obviously a large retailer within Australia and everything we do, whether it’s from instore operations to our supply chain, whether you work in marketing or finance, centres around providing a great experience to our customers," Fellowes said in a video posted last week.
FSS, which has operations in Hobart, Sydney and Adelaide, has a 120-member contact centre that can now operate fully remotely using Genesys' Cloud CX platform.
However, the operation has also deployed RPA technology by UiPath and linked its contact technology to its SAP core to enable supplier queries to be answered much faster, and potentially completely automated.
"We have more than 30 active RPA bots, some of which are integrated with our Genesys solutions," Fellowes said in a separate blog post.
"This allows us to respond and resolve complex queries within a matter of hours for our suppliers, of which we receive approximately 9000 contacts or queries per week."
FSS said that in addition to direct support improvements, the transformation reduced money owed to Woolworths by 88 percent, "a cash flow boost equivalent to $35 million."
Complex invoice queries can now also be resolved within 30 minutes instead of taking up to seven days, FSS said.
"The opportunity we had within Woolworths Finance Shared Services was the ability to increase our efficiency whilst also improving our customer experience in relation to providing access to information and payments information to our suppliers," Fellowes said.
Fellows lauded the "incredible service level improvement" that Woolworths FSS had achieved; those benefits landed the retailer recognition as part of a recent Genesys-run awards program.
The shared services unit "handles over 12 million invoice payments; 620,000 supplier queries; and $480 million in account sales revenue annually."