Planet Organic deploys new core retail technology suite

Health food supermarket chain Planet Organic is now up and running on a new core retail technology suite.

The new system manages everything from daily ordering and replenishment of products on the retailer’s shelves to planning promotions and processing supplier invoices.

Key features of the technology, which is supplied by Itim, include capacity to manage its bricks and mortar and burgeoning online operations from one central database. Planet Organic’s eCommerce arm is growing at around 30% each year.

Before implementing Itim’s system, the retailer needed to upload thousands of products twice, which the retailer acknowledged resulted in manual errors and duplication of data.

Al Overton, buying director at Planet Organic, said: “Our cafés can get particularly busy and we have to be able to process transactions at the checkout quickly and efficiently, which is something Itim’s technology enables us to do.

“We didn’t want to end up bolting on different modules and running multiple systems across different channels.”

Other reported benefits of the technology are its capacity to centrally manage promotional activity and the way it improves visibility of stock for all employees.

Planet Organic said it makes about 1,200 deliveries each week across London, including a same-day service and selected time-slot fulfilment, and Overton said the new software has increased the pace of picking for online deliveries because staff can use tablet computers on supermarket trollies when selecting the relevant products for customer orders.

“Before, we had bottlenecks at the till because every product for multiple online orders had to be scanned through a checkout,” he added.

As part of the system changes Planet Retail switched to an electronic data interchange model, a standard for exchanging information between IT systems, alongside Itim’s invoice matching solution, Didos. Now, instead of manually processing 120,000 pieces of paper a year, invoices are automatically matched against delivery notes.

“The time-consuming process within invoicing was one of the factors limiting our potential for future growth,” explained Overton.