Tech Leader Award, Strategic Impact
Ed Wong, SVP Supply Chain and CIO, Smart & Final
Ed Wong spearheaded a multi-year data consolidation project designed to remove the complexity and inefficiency of running multiple data sets. In order to drive his vision, Wong created a new foundational data integration layer, which allowed Smart & Final to run all of its downstream ERP applications on one standard data set.
“We consolidated three disparate data stores into one master data,” Wong says. “That in essence becomes the center hub of all that matters. Data is at the center hub of everything. Whether it is product data, customer data, store data, vendor data – that center hub powers all the other business applications.”
Under this innovative model, instead of duplicating data, a single set of data is now shared with applications based on business needs. Prior to the project, Smart & Final had more than 50 applications running simultaneously. Now it is running five integrated platforms. This has delivered operational savings and reduced the total cost of ownership.
The benefits of running one data set are numerous: decreased errors, reduced order to shelf time, increased on-shelf availability, improved service levels, and reduced spoilage. In
addition, enabling store-level inventory data for omnichannel servicing of customer needs streamlines the path to purchase and produces measureable cost savings.
The mult-year, multi-phase project will be felt throughout the enterprise. Following the construction of the foundational layer, Wong and his team unleashed their consolidated data sets on the merchandising and supply chain application suite to help streamline operational efficiently.
“The focus initially was really on transactional execution,” he says. “To make sure that business workflows get executed efficiently with speed and with very light overhead from a workload perspective. As we go into subsequent phases we will introduce key components of analytics to leverage this center hub of master data to drive predictive forecasting as well as inventory management capabilities, pricing and promotions.”
Under this new strategy, the organization is more nimble and reactive to the constant changes in today’s ultra-competitive market. Prior to the implementation, when Smart & Final introduced a new item, it would take four days until that item was orderable. With this new system, time to shelf has been cut by 75%, meaning that new items are made available to customers much faster. With centralized data, the retailer can now manage its inventory in near real-time. In addition, the improved monitoring capabilities allow Smart & Final to receive immediate feedback on forecast accuracy.