French supermarket giant Casino is to roll out web-based supply chain software from Aldata Solution across 4,500 stores following a successful trial in its Polish chain of shops.
Last year Casino Poland completed an implementation of the Gold supply chain product across 15 Géant hypermarkets and 60 Leader Price discount stores as the company's main back-office application.
All 75 stores now use the centralised system to optimise logistics and distribution, and manage the supply and delivery of over 40,000 products from 1,200 suppliers.
The web-based system runs on an Oracle database and a cluster of IBM Unix computers linked to the stores using frame relay and ISDN lines.
Jan Kaczmarek, IT director at Géant in Poland, said that the total project cost wasn't cheap at eu4m (£2.44m), but was significantly better value than other systems on the short list including one from SAP.
The final bill includes eu1m for hardware and eu1.2m for licences. The system has been integrated with the company's AS/400-based Easy financial application.
But Kaczmarek said that the new system had already improved order accuracy, significantly reduced stock levels and allowed the company to downsize IT infrastructure in each store from 55 PCs to 30 Net PCs.
"The fully centralised system means that data control is much more manageable," he explained. "The previous system also required a big server in each shop and we found we had a problem of gathering data every night to be coherent as a business. It's my feeling we've got our money back already."
The system has already improved productivity by 30 per cent and eliminated 80 per cent of paper work in the warehouse alone.
But Kaczmarek admitted that introducing the system into new stores had simplified the implementation process "because you don't have to change anything".
Future plans include the use of the Gold forecasting algorithm for automatic stock replenishment, and Gold Radio, a radio frequency communications system using handheld terminals due to be introduced in June.
Casino France has now decided to follow suit with the web-based supply chain product on the back of the Polish experience. It will replace legacy central, store and warehouse systems in France in a phased roll out over the next three years.
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