Retail and Supply Chain Services
Having an informed, empowered and energised workforce is a critical factor in a retailer’s ability to deliver against their strategies. But many retailers struggle to find skilled staff, particularly where new, non-traditional skills are required.
The UCS Solutions Retail Academy has been involved in developing key retail skills for our clients and the retail industry since 2004. We offer a number of programmes, from short introductions to retail to in-depth developmental programmes designed to grow technical expertise. We are able to customise these programmes to meet retailers’ specific requirements.
Our Retail Academy offerings include:
- Retail Bootcamp (four days): A short introduction to retail for new practitioners and staff who are involved in support roles such as Finance, Human Resources and IT.
- Merchant Development Programme: An intermediate programme aimed at developing planners and buyers. This forms the basis of our training for graduates as well as existing staff. This programme consists of three blocks and is conducted over a period of six months.
- Demand Planner Development Programme: An extensive programme aimed at developing employees in the areas of demand forecasting and replenishment. This part-time programme runs over an eight week period.
- SAP Retail Programme: An intensive and interactive programme on SAP’s retail functionality. This programme is delivered over a three day, or two week, period, depending on the version of the programme selected.
- Modular delivery of single modules pertaining to all aspects of the retail value chain. These modules run over one, two or three days, each.
- Design and development of bespoke retail learning content.
Our faculty is drawn from senior retail and related backgrounds and is dedicated to ensuring that learning is practical. Delegates are assessed individually and in groups, with a strong focus on replicating real-life cases wherever possible. We also use blended e-learning tools and experiences as a way of enhancing interactivity and the relevance of programme content.
UCS Solutions is a provisionally accredited training service provider with the Wholesale and Retail SETA.
UCS Solutions manages the development, support and hosting of a bespoke Point of Sale solution and In-store application for a key South African retailer. We have been providing these services for more than a decade.
UCS Solutions is intensely focused on assisting clients to deliver a Point of Sale service that meets their business strategy requirements and provides an enriched shopping experience for their customers. Our In-store systems are designed to ensure continuous availability and are developed to accommodate multichannel integrations.
UCS Solutions also integrates Electronic Switching Services to other Point of Sale Systems and offers consulting in all In-store activities and processes.
UCS Solutions is a leader in the area of Electronic Transaction Switching Services, having implemented the first installation of Postilion Retail Active-Active, in Africa.
We have Electronic Switching Services, together with associated Value Added Services is a growing area for retailers with the systems supporting them being mission-critical and designed to ensure continuous availability.successfully completed four implementations of the Postilion Retail Active-Active product and are contracted to run this service for each client. This service includes PCI Compliance, Point to Point Encryption, Tokenisation (UTI – Unique Transaction Identifier), Value Added Services (VAS) and Loyalty Switching.
Retailers around the world face major challenges in their supply chains, making it increasingly difficult to achieve financial and strategic objectives. These challenges include:
- Global versus local sourcing (and how this impacts on the rest of the supply chain).
- Multi-channel offerings to keep up with the needs of an evolving customer base.
- Entry into new geographies.
- Fundamental changes in supply chain design (for example, centralisation) and how these changes impact the flow of products through the business.
- The need to drive stock levels down while improving service levels to protect market share and profit margin.
Replenishment done well reduces inventory levels, minimises lost sales and dramatically improves on-shelf availability, all of which adds significantly to the retailer’s bottom line and competitive edge. The constant problems of overstocks and out-of-stocks are reduced, which frees up time and resources. Good retail equals good stock management, which creates the competitive edge critical in a business defined by tight margins.
The UCS Solutions Supply Chain Optimisation team specialises in the diagnosis, implementation and support of supply chain improvements as well as the optimisation of Retail Demand Management systems. These systems include both Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Advanced Planning Systems (APS) such as SAP F&R. The team consists of highly skilled individuals who have implemented optimised supply chains driven by a wide variety of ERP and APS systems, for South African and international retailers. In particular, this team is at the forefront of SAP Forecasting & Replenishment (SAP F&R) implementations in South Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Canada.
For any retailer, the process towards optimisation is a journey which must strategically align with the company’s and evolve through different phases of maturity. UCS Solutions partners with clients, providing guidance and support through the supply chain optimisation process. The outcome is a practical and sustainable model which delivers an optimised future supply chain. We look at the needs of specific product categories as well as adapting to our client’s unique business model.
Retail Supply Chain Assessment
Retail Supply Chain Assessment is a review of all current processes with benchmarking against international best practices ‘battle tested’ in the local environment. This review provides insight for the design of the future optimised supply chain model and the roadmap to achieve it, including a focus on identifying and exploiting potential for ‘quick wins’.
Replenishment System Implementation
Typical first phases require implementation of a new Advanced Planning System or enhancement of an existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Drawing on extensive experience in similar implementation projects, UCS Solutions defines and delivers a value-based project approach aimed at unlocking measurable benefits. The trade-off of speed-to-value versus project risk and change impact is carefully managed throughout.
Replenishment System Support
The next phase of the journey is the creation of a sustainable support environment, focused on unlocking further value through continuous improvement. This involves:
- Collaborating with the business, particularly the stores and distribution centres, to address their needs on a daily basis.
- Proactively identifying and acting on opportunities to enhance the solution for business benefit.
- Designing and implementing measurement dashboards which monitor the heartbeat of the optimised supply chain.
Retail Inventory Analysis & Optimisation
At this stage, the opportunity exists to take a highly targeted approach to specific categories or supply chain elements. The objective is to radically improve performance on key metrics such as waste, availability and stock turns. The true test is delivering benefits that are both measurable and sustainable. Those retailers that achieve this enjoy significant financial returns and gain a competitive edge.
In the ever-changing world of retail, the need for an agile and profitable supply chain is not negotiable. With pressure from all stakeholders the need to deliver on promises is greater than ever.
Supplier and supply chain cost pressures can result in reduced margins and impaired ability to deliver returns to investors.
The Merchandise Planning function enables retailers to improve performance and gain competitive advantage by synchronising strategic, financial, operational, planning and execution activities. The process provides enterprise-wide visibility of all of these activities and enables the merchant teams to make faster decisions and react to the ever-changing retail environment. At the same time costs are driven down, margins improve and value is created for shareholders. The ultimate end result is happy customers.
UCS Solutions is well-placed to help retailers with their merchandise planning strategy, processes and systems. We combine business understanding and systems abilities in the following areas:
- Category Strategy
- Merchandise Planning
- Assortment Planning
- In Season Management
- Merchandise Analytics
- System Implementation and Support
We are both JDA and SAP partners and work with a range of products to support the above processes including:
- SAP Merchandise and Assortment Planning (MAP)
- JDA Enterprise Planning (EP)
- JDA Allocations
- JDA Performance Analysis (PA)