Denner is a Swiss discounter, the third largest food retailer in Switzerland and part of the Migros Genossenschafts Bund. It is currently running a massive digitization program with the significant name “Summit”, which consists of seven sub-initiatives. Since 2019, the core element of the mega program has been the introduction of a new master data management system by Advellence, which has established itself as one of Syndigo’s key implementation partners in the European market. In addition, other initiatives such as the introduction of a new BI tool and the new S4/HANA release for ERP are running in parallel.
Denner has a particular focus on deep integration of the SAP system and MDM due to important business processes within the article lifecycle. Today, this thorough integration work provides the basis for end-to-end quality-assured data in the company and is thus also the cause of numerous advantages and optimizations at the Swiss discounter.
The reasons for the project lay primarily in the challenges that the company had to overcome due to the lack of central orchestration via master data with different qualities – particularly with regard to regulatory requirements that must be met, for example, for the traceability of product supply chains in the food sector and which therefore have a major influence on the specification process of article data in quality management.
But other fundamental arguments also spoke in favor of the introduction of an MDM system at that time, such as the establishment of a 360° view of the product data for effective and flexible digitization of all processes from item listing to customer experience.
The project was to introduce an MDM platform that centrally manages and maintains article, supplier and store master data. The fundamental objective of the project was to map all master data that needs to be accessed by more than one system centrally in the MDM, thus allowing a true 360° view of the most important company data. On the one hand, the quality and transparency of the data as well as the efficiency in the entire organisation were to be increased, and on the other hand, the entire listing process of new articles was to be mapped in an integrated workflow solution. This includes the supplier and Denner partner portal, internal release steps and product quality management.
What specific goals did you pursue with the MDM project?
Our primary objective was to centrally manage and maintain all our article, supplier and store master data. We therefore planned to map all master data that needs to be accessed by more than one system centrally in the MDM and thus also get a true 360° view of our most important company data. This should enable us to map the listing processes of new articles in an integrated workflow solution – from the supplier or Denner partner portal to the internal release steps and product quality management. Basically, we also wanted to increase both the transparency and the quality of our data and thus create a reliable central data source for all our processes.
What role does Advellence play in the implementation of Syndigo?
Advellence has been a very important partner for us in this project from the very beginning and we are always impressed by the technical skills of those involved in the project. With their help, we can configure the MDM system standard very effectively based on our requirements and processes. For example, we were able to go live with the product specification, including all testing and listing processes, after only three quarters of a year.
What other project successes can you name?
We have already achieved a very good level of data quality and are particularly proud of the highly integrative interface from MDM to our ERP – in both directions. This has enabled us to significantly optimize our core processes around the creation of new items in terms of data quality, and that benefits the entire organization.
Daniel Kirschbaum: Daniel Kirschbaum has been working at Denner in Switzerland since 2019 and has been involved in the selection process of the new MDM system from the very beginning. As program area manager MDM, he is now responsible for the introduction and rollout of the MDM solution as well as the GDSN integration.
The lack of central orchestration of the master data entailed several risks at Denner. For example, supplier data was available in varying quality, which is particularly problematic in the food sector, where retailers in particular rely on transparency and the traceability of product supply chains.
Non-integrated data, systems and processes also always mean inefficiencies – as was the case with the Swiss discounter, which was striving for end-to-end digitization of all processes relevant to product data.
In line with these challenges, special attention was paid in the selection process to improving data quality and transparency, standardizing and automating supplier data, avoiding manual entries for products, developing business-specific workflows and functions, and integrating the systems. Finally, the future viability of the new system also played a major role in the decision-making process.
In order to find the right technology for these comprehensive goals, Denner conducted intensive research in the first step, drawing in particular on the evaluation of established analysts in the market – including Gartner. Syndigo, which was acquired by Syndigo in 2021, was ultimately able to set itself apart from its competitors on the basis of its absolutely unique selling proposition: As the only vendor in the MDM space, Syndigo impressed with its SaaS solution, which was native from the ground up. Added to this was the user-friendliness of the system as well as the high integration capability and low complexity in operating the software for the company’s own IT department.
Typical for such a native SaaS solution is the need to completely rebuild the data model and configure the empty system accordingly. In addition, all business rules and authorizations have to be defined, which initially involves a certain amount of work, but in the long term, thanks to the generic nature of the data model, means unparalleled flexibility for the company, and thus also future viability. For Denner, Syndigo was therefore chosen also for reasons of investment security.
Advellence was selected as the main European implementation partner for the project. The combination of the Syndigo MDM and Advellence as project partner proved to be a complete success: With its hands-on mentality and enormous technical implementation expertise, the Advellence project team brought quick and sustainable success to the entire program.
The time horizon of the program extends until the end of 2023 and includes in particular the successive rollout of MDM to all other product groups, adjustments to the existing workflows to increase process efficiency, and the expansion of master data. A total of around 10,000 articles are to be maintained and managed in MDM by the end of the program. Whereas around 50 internal users have been working in the system to date, all around 1,500 external suppliers and own-brand suppliers are to be added in the medium term. Added to this is the corresponding development of the business processes around the already completed GDSN integration, which are to transfer the GDSN data into the MDM and process it further. Once these milestones have been reached, the next digital challenges already await Denner. Among other things, the diversification of the output channels will be an important topic for the Swiss discounter in the future.
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