New systems drive Super A-Mart's $24m expansion


Australia's largest discount furniture retailer has invested in IT and supply chain improvements to expand its store network

New systems drive Super A-Mart's $24m expansion
New systems drive Super A-Mart's $24m expansion

April 23, 2010

Australia’s largest discount furniture and bedding retailer, Super A-Mart, has opened a new Queensland store and will soon debut in Melbourne as part of a $24 million national expansion plan to target an 80-store network.

The first stage of the roll-out saw the business invest $15 million in Western Australia to open three stores; $3 million to open the 20th store in Queensland (Morayfield); and $6 million in South Australia to open two stores in just one month.

According to Super A-Mart CEO Eddie MacDonald, the historically Queensland-based business is in the process of building its network and supply chain to become a national retailer.

"Essentially what we’ve done is open up a 30 percent increase in our store network in 18 months," he says.

The upcoming opening in Nunawading (Victoria) will take the chain to 29 stores.

"We think there is a 16 store opportunity in Victoria and 25 to 30 store opportunity in New South Wales," MacDonald says.

He reveals the company will also look at moving into Tasmania and Canberra.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Such aggressive growth has been made possible through a multi-million dollar investment in information technology, supply chain and inventory management improvements.

Working with Data#3, Super A-Mart designed a new IT infrastructure solution from scratch for both its store and head office.

It now has a system platform that can be quickly and easily deployed in response to its growing store network

In parallel, Super A-Mart embarked on the development of a data warehouse solution, which has provided unprecedented improvements in the company’s management capabilities

According to General Manager of Information Services & Logistics, Mark Chapman, Super A-Mart invested in a company-wide review of its supply chain operation and inventory management processes to ensure it could design a structure which could support its aggressive national expansion plan.

The goal was to simplify and standardise processes, introduce automation where appropriate, obtain scalability to support the company’s growth and ensure robustness for future changes.

"About three years ago we started a program which completely pulled apart what we had in place," he says.

"So we worked with Deloittes at that point in time to do a roadmap, which was looking very much at what the business needed to look like, so: national retailer (rather than just a Queensland-centric retailer) and far more diverse supply chain."

Benefits realised from the new systems include the creation of additional sales-person capacity and smoothing of store ordering patterns.



Read the full story on Super A-Mart’s inventory management overhaul and expansion plans in the
next Supply Chain Review magazine...



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