Finnish hypermarket retail chain Minimani is the first in the country to adopt the LS Retail software solution, the end-to-end ERP solution specifically designed to meet the needs of retailers. The chain has adopted the system in all five of its hypermarkets and in its chain management. The solution was delivered and implemented by CGI Finland.
Challenge posed by distributed systems
Previously, when the retailer's financial administration had its own arrangements, each store had a separate warehousing and in-store space planning system. Knowledge management was difficult, with no real-time information available and a high level of manual work was needed to gather information. "Building an ERP system for Minimani was an extremely important project. Preparations begun already years ago. Knowledge management is at the center of everything to us, so that information system development involved the entire store chain," recounts Commercial Councellor Kalle Lähdesmäki.
End-to-end ERP solution designed for the retailer
Minimani chose the LS Retail software solution, an off-the-shelf solution based on Microsoft Dynamics. This proven end-to-end solution has been designed for retail. It handles everything from product orders, warehouse management, campaign planning and point of sale systems, to financial administration. According to Ari Jaatinen, Minimani's CIO, this played a decisive role in the choice of system and supplier. An off-the-shelf e-commerce add-on can easily be added to the Dynamics solution to enable online retail, with no need for expensive, additional integration work. This enables multi-channel and, most importantly of all, highly cost-effective customer service. These are interesting times for Finnish retail ERP systems. The Minimani solution is the only one in Finland specifically designed to meet retailers' needs. Many major Finnish chains were among the first in the world to exploit the potential of IT in the 1990s, but the software solutions are largely based on in-house systems tailored to their own practices. On the other hand, small and medium-sized players have often based their approach on choosing a generic ERP system, which is then adapted to fit the retail sector's needs where necessary. The LS Retail software solution solves both these problems by giving all types of retailers the best standard functionality.
Retail already transformed by digitization and multi-channel sales
Henry Nieminen, Vice President at CGI Finland, points out that digitization can no longer be said to be changing retail, since it has already done so: "Finnish retailers and retail chains now realize that they cannot survive the competition without smart leadership based on real-time information. Until now, a mixed bag of systems has been used for in-store ERP. Many of these are now reaching the end of their lifecycle. It will be interesting to see what kind of solutions are created in the near future."