Tesco drops spreadsheets for Retail Planning

Tesco is improving management information by extending the rollout of Oracle Retail Planning to replace spreadsheets previously used in planning to run lines of business.

Tesco is improving management information by extending the rollout of Oracle Retail Planning to replace spreadsheets previously used in planning to run lines of business.

The supermarket has been using the merchandise planning module in Oracle Retail Planning for the past year. In May it will expand its implementation to support regional differences in the product lines carried by its stores.

Speaking at Oracle's Summit 2006 last week, Marcel Borlin, Tesco IT programme manager, said a key driver for the deployment was that with the rapid growth of the business, the company had created "a cottage industry of spreadsheets". He found similar departments were running vastly different business processes.

Integrating data had slowed progress on the project, he said. "Spreadsheets have been hard to integrate, but configuration of the Oracle software has been easy."

Borlin said Tesco chose Oracle because it "fitted into our strategy to buy off-the-shelf, which offered reasonably fast integration".

It was important the Oracle product was not a "black box", he added. "We could configure it frequently without having to get in Oracle consultants all the time."

The software is also very process-driven, he said, allowing Tesco to roll it out across both its established food business and its emerging non-food operations.

Tesco's lessons
Project management lessons from Tesco's implementation of Oracle Retail Planning:

  • Don't make custom modifications
  • Deliver one tool and one process across the company
  • Get users involved. It took Tesco a year to get the key stakeholders involved in the project
  • Spend six months modelling processes before implementation

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