When Pick n Pay and Endoxa enquired about moving their workflow solution to Microsoft Azure, BUI was the one name that came up again and again. The migration (July 2021) went off without a hitch. And everyone involved can now sleep a lot easier in the knowledge that even in the event of a catastrophic failure, the entire system will be up and running again in 15 minutes.
For over a decade, retail supply chain workflow specialists Endoxa has enabled Pick n Pay to digitize many of its processes, including master data alignment, new product listings, and automating supply chain reporting. By automating key supply chain processes and making commercial transactions electronic, Endoxa’s software has “saved us lots of time and money” says Gary Lea, Group Executive Retail Finance at Pick n Pay. Endoxa and the electronic supply chain, he adds, have helped pave the way for the retailer’s incredible recent growth: in the last eight years, its total number of stores has more than doubled from 992 to 1994.
So integral is the workflow solution to Pick n Pay’s day-to-day operations, that the parties’ SLA requires Endoxa to be up 99.75% of the time. While the system has only ever gone offline once in over a decade, with demands like this it should come as no surprise that both parties were itching to move the system to the cloud. “Our system relies on very high resilience of data and uptime,” explains Endoxa director and Head of Software Development, Vlad Surducan. “Azure brings huge peace of mind.”
“Switching to Azure was critical for us,” adds Lea. “As a retailer, if you’re not moving to the cloud, you’re going to be left behind.”
Efficiency. Simplification. Quality data.
Pick n Pay’s relationship with Endoxa started way back in 2009 when it brought in Andrew Armstrong and his partners Dr Geoffrey Long (who earned his PhD in mathematical modelling) and Surducan to innovate key manual processes, starting with the data capturing of invoices. By obviating the need to capture data manually, Pick n Pay was able to reduce costs not only for itself, but also for its suppliers. “When it comes to paperless processes, we are at the forefront of South African retailers,” says Lea.
Fast forward to 2021, and Endoxa governs and supports all of Pick n Pay’s relationships with 7,000 vendors across Africa. “The platform supports our corporate and franchise stores’ relationships with everything from mom-and-pop operations to huge multinationals,” says Johan Grobler, Head of Commercial Finance at Pick n Pay. Creating an article, for example, used to take three weeks. It now takes 48 hours. There have been similar time and efficiency savings when it comes to adding a new vendor, a process which used to involve physical meetings, paper handovers, and other slow and fallible steps but now takes place 100% digitally.
“The interactions all still exist,” explains Grobler. “They are just much more efficient now. We don’t have to worry about lost emails or missed phone calls anymore.” And on top of the incredible savings in efficiency, Endoxa also provides Pick n Pay with reams of priceless data. In the past, suppliers would call Pick n Pay asking, “When will our new product be listed?” Now they simply log into the Pick n Pay Supplier Portal to track the progress themselves. This level of transparency across the electronic supply chain has virtually eliminated the need for phone calls and emails. And it’s reduced the number of ‘discrepancy documents’ by up to 70%.
“Managing the office of the future”
This has all had the added bonus of making the transition to remote working during COVID-19 much easier for Pick n Pay. “Endoxa has enabled us to manage the office of the future,” says Grobler. “I’m not talking about video calls … I mean electronic interchange and managing day-to-day transactions online with our business partners.”
Armstrong, for his part, is forever grateful for Pick n Pay “taking a punt on a small business.” And the gratitude is mutual. “It’s very rare to find a partner where there’s always a solution,” says Lea. “Nothing is ever a problem with Endoxa. And the really strong IT foundation they’ve built means we can very quickly tie into other systems and launch new projects.” Even more so now that they’re on Azure.
BUI, meanwhile, is thrilled that the move to Azure went so seamlessly. “It was a great opportunity to showcase our world-class resources and technical expertise,” says BUI Managing Director Ryan Roseveare. “This was not just a regular lift and shift … It was absolutely critical that we were able to ensure zero downtime.” While the heavy lifting may be over, BUI will continue to ensure that Pick n Pay and Endoxa receive the service they expect and deserve. And Lionel Moyal, Commercial Partner Director from Microsoft South Africa will be keeping a close eye on proceedings: “When partners like BUI continue to invest in specialised certifications, it demonstrates not only their commitment to driving digital transformation but also delivering solutions that match the changing requirements of their customers. This project is a culmination of both their experience, and continued investment in skills development.”
““Anything’s possible when you’re working with people with a can-do attitude,””Gary LeaGroup Executive Retail Finance at Pick n Pay