Coles steps up backend processes in digital push

Three months after emerging from Wesfarmers as a separately-listed entity, Coles Group has rolled out new software to improve backend functions, such as procurement, supplier payment and HR, with the ultimate goal of freeing up employees’ time in service of the customer.

The software, supplied by SAP, is expected to increase the consistency of these backend processes and remove duplicated data, as well as deliver more efficient services for its staff, suppliers, partners and customers.

“The partnership is in line with our strategic intent to make life easier for both our customers and team members,” Coles chief information and digital officer Roger Sniezek told IR.

“Making life easier for our people will, in turn, allow us to spend more time on meeting our customer needs both now and into the future [and] allow us to innovate more with both groups to ensure we are as efficient as possible across our retail environment.”

According to Sniezek, the software will enable Coles to digitise and automate supplier invoices and payments, as well as provide a greater view of employee information, such as benefits and payroll information.

“Coles is putting a focus on simplifying the experience for its people and customers,” SAP ANZ president and managing director Damien Bueno said.

“The retail industry is focused on continuous innovation and anticipating customer needs. To be successful in this era of change and build for a digital future, it is critical to get your digital business framework right.”

The partnership comes a few days after Coles announced it would be joining the Business Council of Australia’s supplier payment code, committing to paying small business suppliers within 30 days of receiving the correct invoice for goods or services provided.

The digitised and automated supplier invoice and payment system being implemented is likely to have a major impact on the supermarket’s ability to pay small businesses on time.

The commitment came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had heard “loud and clear from small businesses around Australia” and would be taking action on the issue of late payments.

“There should be no excuses for not paying small businesses on time,” Morrison said in November.

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