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RBTE 2017: Asda reduces workload involved in updating prices

Asda is using data analytics to identify a series of patterns to reduce unnecessary information in its weekly reports.

The grocer conducts 95 weekly reports, but is working with software company Profitect to reduce the noise in those documents which are not actioned by the business.

"I have a small team of five, and just under 100 pieces of reporting gets circulated around the business - drowning in reports is the position we found ourselves in," said James Newton, insight manager at Asda. "We became leaner in our retail model, but our reporting didn't suit that."

So far the retailer has identified 50 patterns with Profitect to help improve its weekly reporting. One such pattern will reduce the workload involved in price changing by 60%.

Newton described to delegates at RBTE 2017 how the Asda has identified repeated actions conducted when price changing, which takes place in every Asda store every week. Traditionally an associate reviews a report, keys item numbers into one system and reviews the price changes in another, before finally carrying out the financial correction. By spotting a pattern in this work load, the retailer can reduce efforts by 60%.

Despite this, Newton warned that the routine of weekly reports can be difficult to wean the business off. "It's a crutch for end users," he said.

He said involving all the end users in patent decisions helps to get the business on board. "Understanding how much noise is in the current reporting and how the end user's time is sparse...if you can offer them time back to focus on their role, that's the common denominator to break through that barrier."

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