For years, South African retailer Massmart have been looking to cut costs, streamline operations and reduce inefficiency by moving to a paperless electronic system for their workflows.
But with any nationwide business, change can be slow, daunting and often difficult.
That all changed when the global health crisis provided the much-needed impetus for immediate action. Suddenly, because of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, Massmart had a chance to make a real, lasting change in the way boardroom, regional and local level management worked.
To make that change, they needed a partner. The partner they chose was Array.
Here’s how our approach worked for Massmart. It can work for you too.
Massmart, formerly Makro, is one of South Africa’s retail success stories. Since 1971, the company has sold liquor, food, electronics and houseware to clients around the country. And following a merger with Walmart in 2011, the retailer now offers an extensive ecommerce section.
In 1971, Massmart's stock and sales tracking technology set the standard for traders in South Africa, but by 2020, stores were still submitting workflows and orders on paper instead of digitally.
Change needed to happen, but how do you adapt how a busy national retailer works without interrupting operations?
If you’ve seen the news over the last few months, you’ll know what happens next. A global pandemic of COVID-19 means that countries all over the world take drastic measures to prevent the spread of this new disease.
Social distancing measures are brought in across the globe - including in South Africa - leading to lower customer footfall, an increase in remote working and electronic communication, and a greater focus on employee safety.
Almost overnight, moving from paper-based workflows to electronic checks and requests wasn’t just something Massmart’s management teams would like to do.
It was suddenly the number one priority.
Bringing new systems and workflows online in a national or international organization is always a challenge because decision-makers at all levels need to buy-in to the changes. If users aren’t happy with a new system, there’ll be resistance. Resistance leads to delays, and delays leads to drops in revenue.
Array offered a simple solution - using our tools and dashboard to replace paper-based processes with electronic ones. But that wasn’t all we did.
By providing trial versions of Array, we let decision-makers and users familiarize themselves with the new systems. Their comments were taken on board to customize Array to meet the demands of the South African market, and we quickly had a full solution ready to roll out across the whole country.
With Array rolled out across all of Massmart’s stores, paper usage dropped overnight and social distancing was supported.
Regular contact between Massmart's management and the Array support team allowed updates to be made and rolled out quickly, adapting to the shifting situation as restrictions changed, and ensuring that Makro could operate efficiently, securely and safely.
Thanks to the successful trial period, Massmart’s management is already considering how to use Array for a larger range of tasks, working with us to develop a wide selection of tools and systems, solve complex problems, and increase efficiency.