Large amounts of data in real time

01.05.2014 – Annual Report 2013

Branch logistics and an optimised supply chain are essential in the retail trade. “Ergo”, our bespoke, portable, store-based solution, has been providing support for Coop staff’s goods orders and making sure stock information is always up to date since August 2013. “Ergo” was brought on stream in more than 1,000 branches in just six months. Real-time processing and big data are going to be important factors in the retail trade of the future.

Ergo – a modern stock control system

Coop had a very clear checklist of requirements for its new stock control system: a fast, ergonomic solution for sales staff, state-of-the-art technology that combined scalability, robustness and flexibility, and near-real-time stock information for each outlet’s inventory.

Coop sought out a development partnership with Ergon to make this innovation a reality. “We think the development partnership model has several advantages over standard software for this application. It’s an ideal combination of Ergon’s technological know-how and Coop’s process expertise,” explains Alberto Kratter, Head of Processes, Stock Control and Sales at Coop Switzerland.

Portable data terminals

The new solution was implemented using Coop’s already rather outdated portable data terminals. To ensure that no delays occurred while capturing and sending data, a choice was made for high-performance software architecture based on parallelised transmission processes; Ergon IT engineers’ expertise with mobile devices came in very useful here.

A lot of emphasis has also been placed on user-friendliness. The user interface is reminiscent of the look and feel of smartphones and can be used intuitively, with the various processes clearly identified by distinct colour-coding. Data transfer occurs in near-real time. As the portable device constantly updates itself, the user has access to all important data, even when offline.

A flexible solution and a contented workforce

At the heart of the development process for “Ergo” was the need to maximise flexibility and ensure that the software is at once a custom solution and a standard product: it was engineered to suit Coop’s individual needs but can also be adapted for other companies; and, thanks to its modular development framework, new requirements can be addressed quickly and efficiently. New data capture terminals, portable tills or new applications are can easily be integrated. Process-led applications make work easier and enable more intuitive and rapid workflows. The employees in Coop’s stores also seem very happy with the new solution: a post-rollout staff survey consistently rated Ergo’s speed, handling and userfriendliness as “very good”.