The revamp of its supply chain systems will help the company as it expands the number of business partners it works with, said Frank Watts, group IT director at Thorntons.
"We are moving into a number of new channels such as supermarkets, and when you are talking to the 'big guns' they expect you to have state-of-the-art systems."
The company is rolling out the Gold suite of software from Aldata to improve efficiency and support its business growth plans. It is also upgrading its Oracle ERP system to version 11i and moving its warehouse systems onto a Manugistics platform.
The Gold software covers applications for head office, store, forecasting, replenishment and supply chain management.
It will be used to help Thorntons, which has 568 outlets and produces goods for retailers such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer, integrate retail demand with manufacturing planning, said Watts.
"As an integrated manufacturer and retailer we have very specific needs and we are going to use Gold to control our supply chain," he said. "We have tried to do forecasting before but the systems have been too old."
The web-based Gold software, which replaces a host of home- grown legacy applications, will be rolled out over the next 18 months in conjunction with Thorntons' IT outsourcing partner EDS.
Each stage of the roll-out will be reviewed with the benefits compartmentalised to ensure Thorntons achieves a return on investment, Watts said.
"We have a number of key performance indicators that will be measured with a strict success criteria," he said.