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Super Retail Group targets future growth with Körber Supply Chain

Super Retail Group

Iconic Aussie retailer Super Retail Group is optimising its omni-channel offering by deploying Körber Supply Chain’s K.Motion Warehouse Management System across its entire logistics and fulfilment network. MHD sits down with Patrick Fountain, General Manager – Supply Chain Planning & Strategy at the leading retailer to find out more. 

The ongoing disruption to our lives over the past two years has spurred people around the world to learn new skills, take up new hobbies and explore new passions.

At home in Australia, Super Retail Group is at the heart of this pursuit. Home to well-known household brands including rebel, Macpac, BCF and Supercheap Auto, Super Retail Group is one of the largest retailers in Australia. 

Founded in the 1970s, the ASX-listed retailer’s vision is to inspire people to live their passion. Through its broad portfolio of car parts and accessories, sporting and fitness goods, camping and outdoor equipment, and outdoor clothing – there’s something for everyone. 

Well-positioned across all the major retail growth segments of the pandemic, Super Retail Group reported record growth over the past two years due to unprecedented consumer demand in the Group’s lifestyle and leisure categories. 

In its FY21 results announcements in August last year, Super Retail Group reported 22 per cent year-on-year growth in sales across the Group, reaching a record $3.4b. 

In online sales, the Group reported 43 per cent year-on-year growth and announced that online sales now represented 12 per cent of total sales. Click & Collect sales also grew more than 50 per cent and the Group completed more than 1.5 million home-delivery orders. 

Having gone through a significant period of expansion and acquisitions over the past 30 years, Super Retail Group is now focused on establishing a stable foundation to support further growth.  

“We’ve had a long history of expansion and now our strategy is very much focused on our core brands and getting the Group to work well together by establishing some really good core processes,” Patrick Fountain, General Manager – Supply Chain Planning & Strategy at Super Retail Group says. 

Prior to partnering with Körber Supply Chain, Super Retail Group was operating several disjointed legacy Warehouse Management Systems across its broad brand portfolio. “We had a number of different systems that were working on legacy hardware. At the same time, we were pumping through an immense volume of orders, particularly around December peak period. We recognised this was huge risk for us. If we can’t get our product to the store or customer quickly, our customers will just go elsewhere,” Patrick says. 

After a near three-year tender process, which was heavily impacted by COVID, the leading retailer has selected Körber Supply Chain’s K.Motion Warehouse Advantage Warehouse Management System as the future foundation of its omni-channel operations.

Super Retail Group operators at work.

Super Retail Group will roll out Körber’s WMS across its entire fulfilment operation, which includes six distribution centres in Australia and New Zealand. The distribution centres currently service more than 670 stores and store an impressive 24,870 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs). The WMS deployment is expected to be complete by FY23. 

“There’s just no way that you could run a business at our scale and our complexity on paper. So, a huge driving factor in our decision to invest in a WMS was the risk factor. We needed a system that could scale up and be as stable in December as it is in April or May,” Patrick explains. 

Through the tender process, Patrick says once the team got deeper into the numbers, they realised the incredible importance of WMS. “Through the journey with Körber, we started to understand how the capability in this space had moved on and how the WMS was central to us setting ourselves up as a true omni-channel retailer,” he says. 

Historically, the majority of Super Retail Group home delivery business was fulfilled through its store network. However, as the Group continues to experience growth in online, there are limitations to operating this way and the retailer has plans to build a more complementary hybrid solution which best leverages the strength of its stores and distribution centre network in fulfilling home delivery orders.

“We need our DCs to be as good at fulfilling home delivery orders as they are at replenishing stores so they can help in supporting the future growth. This new WMS and particularly some of the task interleaving functionality is really the leapfrog in this strategy,” Patrick says. 

CLOUD-FIRST CAPABILITIES

Having a system Super Retail Group could rely on was a crucial part of replacing its legacy systems, and as a result cloud-first was non-negotiable. For Super Retail Group, Körber’s flexible upgrade path was a real point of difference.

“Many WMS providers offer a forced upgrade monthly or fortnightly, but Körber’s WMS features an optional upgrade, and this was something that we were very impressed with. Of course, it’s important to have an upgrade path, but knowing that we have the choice is helpful for us given the nature of our operation and intense peak periods we experience,” Patrick says. 

Super Retail Group selected Körber Supply Chain’s K.Motion Warehouse Advantage Warehouse Management System as the future foundation of its omni-channel operations.

Another reason for cloud capabilities was in ensuring that Super Retail Group could focus on the core of their business. “We want to worry about the things we need to worry about. We don’t need to have these immense internal capabilities in technical areas when it’s not a point of difference for us. We instead have confidence in the Körber cloud offering to take care of the technical side and ensure that we have stability, security and high performance,” Patrick says. 

A BOLD NEW PARTNERSHIP

The Körber-Super Retail Group partnership has been three years in the making, and for Patrick, the relationship goes from strength to strength. 

“Throughout the entire process, we really felt like Körber valued our business and they genuinely wanted to understand our operation. From the start of the tender process, all the way through to the design sessions, they’ve always been focused on us, what we need to do, what our challenges are and how they can help us. They are really customer-orientated, and their sales-approach puts us at the centre of everything,” Patrick says. 

During the pandemic, Patrick recalls that the Körber team were quick to check in with Super Retail Group and ask how they could help, regardless of the outcome of the tender. “It’s been a great relationship from the get-go,” Patrick says. 

Körber’s K.Motion Warehouse Advantage Enterprise WMS was recently named in 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Warehouse Management Systems as a leader and Patrick says one of the things he was most impressed by with Körber was how proactive and hungry for success the team were. “They are out to establish things and they’ve got a great product offering to do it,” he says. 

While the decision to select a new WMS provider was a difficult one, one of the key differentiators for Super Retail Group was the opportunity to explore Körber’s larger portfolio of services. Furthermore, Patrick was impressed with the global Körber team and the opportunity to lean on experts from across the world.

“We’re really excited to explore our partnership further with Körber, particularly with some of the automation tech in their portfolio. We have a lot of areas in the business where automation could be a good fit and this first step with the new WMS will put us in a great position to strengthen our partnership further across different products and workstreams,” he says. 

Patrick Fountain, General Manager Supply Chain Strategy at Super Retail Group.

As demand shows no signs of slowing down, this new investment in Körber’s WMS will ensure the Group is well-placed to capitalise on future growth. As Australians around the nation continue to pursue their passions, Super Retail Group is strengthening its operation to provide its growing customer base with a true omni-channel experience. 

“For us, it’s about leveraging the strengths of each of our assets and using them for what they’re good for. The new WMS gives us ownership, visibility, and control of our entire operation. We will be able to make better decisions to fulfil orders as we face increasing demand from our customers throughout the nation,” Patrick says. 

Jamie Sterling, Director, International Sales & Operations (APAC) at Körber Supply Chain Software says Super Retail Group is a great example of a retailer pivoting its operation to make the most of the increasing demand for true omni-channel retail offerings. “Super Retail Group has an impressive vision for the future and a key part of its commitment to its customers is to provide a full omni-channel experience. Körber’s K.Motion Warehouse Advantage WMS will ensure that the leading retailer is well-positioned to continue to capitalise on the growth and opportunities in the retail landscape in Australia through efficient and accurate fulfilment across its entire distribution and store network,” he says. 

Nishan Wijemanne, Managing Director APAC at Körber Supply Chain Software says Körber is delighted to partner with Super Retail Group and have K.Motion Warehouse Advantage form the backbone of their distribution operations. 

“Crucially, our WMS allows Super Retail Group to take ownership of their own solution, being able to adapt it to quickly respond to market trends rather than having to wait for external assistance. This allows them to remain nimble and agile while enhancing efficiency and productivity. With Super Retail Group’s impressive growth over the past 12 months, we are looking forward to seeing the company improving overall business operations and most importantly customer service with our WMS. We are also very excited about exploring further opportunities across our broad portfolio to help Super Retail Group service growth in the coming years,” he concludes.

For more information on Körber, click here

 

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