What is in this article?:
- Tech Effort Transforms A&P: CIO
- Pushing Planograms
“We needed to put a plan in place to address the obsolescence and to enable the infrastructure to grow. And that’s what we went about doing.”
— Nirup Krishnamurthy, CIO, A&P
Krishnamurthy’s first order of business was the network upgrade, which took seven to eight months to complete in partnership with XO Communications, Herndon, Va. This included replacing 16-bit token rings in the stores with TCP/IP Ethernet connections, and setting up the wide-area network to the stores with a cable or DSL back-up. “We configured the lines to handle peak loads much better,” he said. The network now allows A&P to push planograms to the store electronically rather than by conventional mail.
As part of the IT changes, stores’ product assortment will become much more tailored to the demographics of each area. “We will not be like McDonald’s,” Krishnamurthy said. “The Weehawken [N.J.] store will be different from the store in Montvale.” To that end, store planograms will be optimized, as will promotions. In addition, an automated store ordering system that accurately tracks inventory will be deployed chainwide “to ensure that we are not out-of-stock or overstocked.”
A&P is also developing pricing engines using mathematical models that will enable demand forecasting and a better understanding of margins and the value of promotions. “This was not done in a sophisticated manner before,” said Krishnamurthy.
Another new initiative under development is an activity calendar for stores that links the company’s 30,000 unionized employees to merchandising directions from corporate headquarters. Promotions, for example, will have “a clear line of visibility between corporate and stores and a way to measure it,” he said.
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