Flint Group and SAP Ariba; A transformation success story
Created by the union of XSYS Print Solutions and Flink Ink Corporation in 2005, is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the printing industry. Working with SAP Ariba solutions, the Fling Group has centralised and digitalised the procurement of its indirect materials and services, resulting in increased efficiencies, reduced costs and better spend management.
The Flint Group replaced its manual procure-to-pay processes with SAP Ariba solutions cloud-based platform. With a single unified solution, the company was able to standardise its purchasing process across the enterprise, increasing transparency and simplifying the buying, invoicing and accounting process for both internal employees and external vendors.
“We have vastly improved our employees’ buying experience and process efficiency with our shift to the cloud and implementation of the SAP Ariba solutions,” said Arno de Groot, vice president, Procurement Packaging, Flint Group. “What’s more, with a complete unified procurement system, we have greater visibility into spend, enabling more informed buying decisions and a positive effect on our bottom line.”
Operating in over 130 centres across six continents, to ensure optimum customer service, the Flint Group works with an intricate network of suppliers, which previously had made for a complex and time-consuming procurement process. A lack of transparency on spend and data inconsistencies further complicated matters, resulting in an incomplete view on costs and hindering the ability to make well-informed procurement decisions.
Leveraging SAP Ariba solutions, the Fling Group has been successful in:
- Reducing maverick spend by empowering employees by providing an intuitive user experience to make guided buying decisions.
- Improving compliance, accounting accuracy and the accounts payable process by attaching a purchase order to almost every invoice.
- Reducing its vendor base and instituting a preferred supplier program to help maximise rebates and incentives while improving the supplier experience.
- Avoiding duplicate or unnecessary purchases by increasing visibility of current stock
How Covid-19 Shook Up the Who's Who of American Retail
According to the new Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 analysis report, the massive shift in ecommerce habits due to COVID-19 resulted in a windfall for the US’s largest retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Target.
The study found that the top 500 companies generated a combined total of $849.5 billion in online sales in 2020, representing a 45.3 per cent increase YoY, the largest jump since Digital Commerce 360 began tracking the statistic in 2006 and more than double the median growth of 18.0% seen over the last decade.
Although retailers of all sizes saw an uptick from online sales, in large part, throughout the pandemic, customers looked to familiar big name brands to fulfil much of their essential needs. Demand for items began to spike as manufacturing in Asia was forced to shut down, causing supply chain shortages. As large retailers tend to hold more inventory, this became a crucial differentiator for customers, says Digital Commerce 360.
Combined, Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp. added $265 billion in US revenue to the $791.70 billion U.S. ecommerce market in 2020, accounting for a third of the market.
Considering the need for people to stay busy during lockdowns as well as the requirements of homeschooling, it’s not surprising Joann, a crafting company, showed the fastest online growth of Digital Commerce 360’s top 500.
- In 2019, the bottom 100 of the top 500 registered the fastest growth while the top 100 showing the slowest growth rate. In 2020, however, the analysis showed the opposite, the top 100 largest companies grew at a rate greater than that of the whole, and the top 10 on the list enjoyed a growth rate even faster than the top 100.
- In 2020, collectively the top 10 grew web sales 52.5%, almost five percentage points faster than the top 100 and accounted for 62.8% of Top 500 sales, up from 59.9% in 2019.
- Who made the top 10 was shaken up some. For example, Walmart made it into the second spot, both Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. crept into the top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 8 and No. 10 respectively
Segments of retail that enjoyed fueled courtesy of COVID included toys and hobbies, jumping an average of 24 spots in the rankings and food and beverage merchants moved up an average 23 ranks. In contrast, apparel retailers dropped an average 15 positions in the Top 500, whereas jewellery retailers fell an average of 10 spots.
Although Digital Commerce 360 attributes some of the growth to stock positions and the ability of large retailers to manage supply chain issues, even the largest internet retailer experienced disruption. In March of 2020, during the first save of the US pandemic, even the Amazonian giant found themselves running into meeting customer commitments and delivering orders on time. Order cancellations and extended lead times became commonplace. For a time, Amazon stopped fulfilling orders for items considered “non-essential”.
Despite the issues, Amazon maintained its spot as the top online retailer in North America by a large margin, representing 35.7% of all Top 500 sales. Although it should be noted that the share is down from the 36.7% it saw in 2019.
At the outset of the pandemic Etsy, a solely ecommerce company focused on handmade, vintage items and craft supplies, was expected to perform poorly. However, as supply chain shortages for face masks caused a sudden need for cloth masks, many began to turn to Etsy, tripling its stock value by June.