Woolies shells out on SOA, BPM

Woolworths has followed the corporate trend to service oriented architecture (SOA) and put the cherry on its supply chain operations by investing in business process management (BPM) software.

Woolworths has followed the corporate trend to service oriented architecture (SOA) and put the cherry on its supply chain operations by investing in business process management (BPM) software.

"We're always looking for opportunities to improve information flow," a Woolworths spokesperson said, referring to the company's supply chain update program, Project Refresh, which has resulted in significant savings for the retail chain.

Woolworths chose Software AG's webMethods Optimize and Centrasite products for BPM and SOA respectively: a "significant investment" for the company, according to the spokesperson, although no figure has been disclosed for the deal. "[Software AG's] product met all the requirements in the tender" and "builds in existing integration platforms," the spokesperson continued.

The contract was between Software AG and Woolworths was signed in December 2007. The implementation of the software is currently underway and there have been no problems as yet with it, the spokesperson said.

The BPM software keeps an eye on Woolworth's supply chain flagging events such as bottlenecks as well as tracking KPIs (key performance indicators) for people and processes. While the information had been available before, there was no standard enterprise wide system, the spokesperson said, with the retailer previously using "various home grown methods".

"It just comes down to visibility of processes at an enterprise level," the spokesperson said.

Woolworths hopes to bring about a "reduction of development costs from reusing components of services" as a result of the Software AG deal.

Cost reductions through IT efficiencies go into investing back into the company, absorbing cost increases and reducing prices for consumers, the spokesperson said.

The systems will be used across the business including the company's Big W stores, Dick Smith stores, and New Zealand business.

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