Vendor Portal Helps Award-Winning Grocery Chain Improve Data Quality Empowering Shoppers
to Make Informed Purchasing Decisions
Ontario-based grocery chain Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc. (commonly known as Longo’s) has always cherished its past and embraced the future. In the late 1950s, three brothers ope- ned their first grocery store in Toronto, Canada. They had a vision to provide the best experience for their shoppers. That philosophy is stillat
the foundation of every decision theymake.
Today, Longo’s operates 35 full-service gro- cery stores across the Greater Toronto Area, as well as www.grocerygateway.com, the leader in online sales of home-deliveredgroceries.
Improving Shopper Experience
Recently, Longo’s embarked on a business transformation project to provide the most accurate and up-to-date product information for their shoppers and for various operational decision making. Their goal was to ensure that every product had the proper nutritional data, dimensions, pricing, and shelf life. “We wanted to help our guests make informed decisions about the products they choose to serve their families,” said Alicia Samuel, Vice President of Information Technology. “To accomplish this, our guiding principle was to create a single repository for master data and pass that information on to our shoppers.”
According to Ghouse Shaikadam, Manager, Centre of Excellence and Supply Chain, “The main challenge with our current system related to the quality of master data at the source and lack of data standardization. We wanted a scalable solution that would keep pace with the exponentially increasing transaction volume due to store growth and growing business complexity. We also needed to keep up with regulatory requirements around product handling and competitive pressures in the market.”
Vendor Portal Increases Efficiency
The deployment of Vendor Portal made a tremendous impact on Longo’s business by reducing the amount of time it took to add a new item to their system. As the software continues to evolve and adapt to their needs, it is expected they will ultimately see more than a 50% efficiency improvement in master data entry. The vendor portal is designed to provide a single source of data synchronization and collaboration for the Longo’s team and their external suppliers. “One of the great things about VendorPortal is the data validation process. We can now go to our central database and pull information to pre-populate fields for vendors, which makes it quicker and easier for them,” noted Samuel. “It’s a self-service system designed to help our partners support us. Our suppliers can make a change, and then our team can electronically review it and approve it. This reduces the time and overall costs of managing data.” As Longo’s data grows with the increase in the number of stores and vendors, Vendor Portal will help reduce costs by increasing efficiency on both sides of the equation. By ensuring data accuracy, Longo’s will have a clearer picture of data flow and labor along with a more accurate dashboard for planning and compliance.
Improved Data Quality With Audit Trails
Prior to Vendor Portal, Longo’s used Excel and disparate other manual systems to update supplier and item data. Their Category Management team would receive the data, enhance it, and submit it to their Master Data Team who would then key that information into their
system. Given that there were so many touchpoints, there was room for a large margin of error. “Vendor Portal allowed us to connect directly to the supplier. Our vendors are now responsible for data accuracy, which allows our team to function more as data stewards than data entry clerks,” said Shaikadam. “Now, we’re able to go back in time and identify if and when the user changed data. This aligns with our master data philosophy of having pristine data and provides a definitive audit trail. The portal mitigates data the loss at every workflow node and synthesizes data with the ERP allowing the category teams to easily ramp up or ramp down vendor listing.”
A Continually Improving System
“I’m excited that we partnered with Stream collab. We have a great working relationship, and they are very receptive and willing to enhance the software to meet our needs,” said Shaikadam. “Currently, we’ve deployed the portal to handle new item introduction and item maintenance processes. We have a multi-year transformation plan, and Vendor Portal is an integral part of our evolution. We anticipate having one comprehensive vendor management solution that also includes supplier self-registration, cost management, discounts, and purchase order management.” “We’re always thinking about continuous improvement, and asking ourselves, ‘How can we increase our capability, make it easier for our internal teams, more streamlined for our vendors, and a better experience for our shoppers?’” said Samuel. “We have worked
hard and accomplished a lot. We are now in a better position to help shoppers make informed choices about the products they purchase.”