Coles new technology a win for SMEs

Coles has given its supply chain management and finance and procurement platforms a digital shake up, embracing new technologies in an effort to improve efficiency.

The company has rolled out SAP S/4HANA and SAP Ariba – which it said will cut costs, streamline processes and deliver greater product availability for customers. The rollout is part of its Smarter Selling Strategy.

Coles has said the technology will centralise ‘the management of purchasing for goods not for resale, allowing for consolidation of suppliers and improved trading terms’, cut costs, streamline systems and improve trade terms.

Coles Executive General Manager Operations and Transformation Kevin Gunn said the new technologies provide the availability of stock, including international stock, in real time.

“Availability is a key issue for customers and some popular items, such as light globes, herbs and spices and kitchen essentials like foil and garbage bags, cannot be sourced domestically so we need to look to international suppliers,” he said.

“By understanding where our stock is while in transit, we can better plan our stock movements to enhance availability for customers and reduce the time taken to move products into our stores, improving our use of working capital by reducing the time inventory spends in our supply chain.”

The news has been welcomed by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, who has said the technology will have a positive impact on small to medium enterprises in the Coles supply chain.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said SMEs could now be paid in under 20 days – and in as quickly as five if Coles implement e-invoicing.

“If the federal and NSW governments can pay suppliers in five days, Coles with its ‘multi-enterprise connectivity’ and improved speed should be able to do so as well,” Ms Carnell said.

“Coles Group works with an enormous number of farmers and suppliers across our nation. We hope Australia’s SMEs will directly benefit from this digital transformation.”

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