Creating a digital vision
Fujitsu has since 2011 been the IT outsourcing partner for Coop Trading for its entire IT operations. For the past few years, Coop Trading has been on a journey of digital transformation. The latest step on the path was to implement a new operating model for ways of working in the business, which required a new IT landscape that could efficiently aggregate data and provide self-service supplier and partner portals.
“We need a clear overview of 4,500 products and their suppliers so we can manage our portfolio efficiently and ensure sourcing competitiveness for the partners. However, there were numerous siloes which couldn’t re-use data, which required integration,” explains Rene Sandberg, General Manager Brand Design & Business Development, Coop Trading. “We put forward to the board a roadmap for new ways of working that would make us a leaner, more agile business with a supporting IT landscape.”
With Fujitsu already in place as a trusted technology partner, it made sense to include Fujitsu’s input on the vision that Coop Trading had. From this, Fujitsu and Coop Trading started to reshape its company data and application environment. Fujitsu supports full-stack digital transformation and recommended rebuilding bespoke applications in. NET and Microsoft SharePoint, while incorporating Business Intelligence and analytics.
“Our main issue in the latest project was that we couldn’t re-use or digitize our data because it existed in various spreadsheets and required lots of manual intervention,” adds Sandberg. “Fujitsu gave us a viable way to take master data for 4,500 products in nine languages and make that data visible and easily manipulated.”
Transforming the application landscape
At the heart of Coop Trading’s IT solution is an ERP system that has several custom applications built on top, constituting a relatively complex platform. There are many different access points and users to be administered across the company’s three owners, partners, suppliers and employees, each of whom must have different user rights to the IT environment.
Fujitsu began by developing bespoke .NET applications that could reach into these databases and extract data automatically. One example is ‘back of pack’ product information, which might change regularly and need to be translated into multiple languages before going into label design.
“Fujitsu came up with a script that would extract all the Excel data automatically, ensuring all amendments could be made just once and then repopulated across the requisite products,” continues Sandberg. “Rather than working across numerous Excel spreadsheets, we can now use a custom-built .NET application presented in SharePoint to make the necessary changes.”
This new application environment was co-created between Coop Trading, Fujitsu Denmark and Fujitsu’s Global Development Center in Kazan, Russia. The project had an efficient cooperation setup making quick decisions possible, although the project took longer than anticipated, due to the complexity of the digitization.
Faster, smarter, more efficient
Coop Trading can now bring products to market much more quickly, making its owners more competitive in the retail sector. With data now saved centrally, there is no need to start from scratch every time a change is made or to duplicate tasks. Furthermore, the new Fujitsu-built platform ensures Coop Trading partners can meet stringent EU compliance regulations with minimal effort.
“The biggest benefit is that we can supply master data digitally to meet EU 1169 legislation at the press of a button, allowing visibility of each product,” says Sandberg. “Previously, we would have had to manually key in all the data and if it was wrong the partners would face a fine.”
Fujitsu and Coop Trading also worked on a Business Intelligence solution that enables Coop Trading to have clearer insight into the enormous amount of data it houses. This makes decision making and reporting far more efficient.
“We can analyze which products have high sugar content or which are fair trade instantly so we don’t have to spend so much time in-house investigating and interrogating data, making us more productive,” comments Sandberg. “The cooperation with Fujitsu has given us access to accurate, high-quality information so we can make smart decisions in a fast-changing marketplace, saving time and money.
“We want to constantly improve, which is why we have weekly breakfasts, monthly scorecards and annual workshops to analyze success,” concludes Sandberg. “It’s a true collaboration with joint goals and milestones. This trust has enabled Coop Trading’s digital transformation.”