Thorntons says IT overhaul is going sweetly

Thorntons said this week its far-reaching IT and business integration programme remains on schedule, with several smaller projects completed in recent months, including document scanning, payroll data collection and the roll-out of retail monitoring systems.

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Thorntons said this week its far-reaching IT and business integration programme remains on schedule, with several smaller projects completed in recent months, including document scanning, payroll data collection and the roll-out of retail monitoring systems.

And the chocolate retailer, which announced profits of £7.1m for the year to 30 June, said its Thorntons Direct website had registered strong growth and had performed particularly well since being relaunched to offer an improved customer experience and better delivery accuracy. Allied to the the relaunch of the online channel, it said new sales support systems had now been implemented.

Thorntons also said work on its Chip-and-Pin systems had now been “substantially completed ... as required by the credit industry”, but admitted that work continued “to improve the performance of the system.”

And it said work was also ongoing on new forecasting and supply chain replenishment systems, as part of a wider business overhaul of its sales and operations planning process.

Once rolled out, Thorntons said the systems would enable shop staff “to spend more time attending to customers and less time preparing orders and other paperwork.”

Thorntons is in the midst of a two-year programme to overhaul its IT and business processes, with several ageing legacy systems due to be retired. The retailer historically operated primarily as a manufacturer rather than a retailer, meaning some of its retail systems have not been adequate for the needs of its expanding retail outlet network.

In 2005 Thorntons began implementing Oracle E-Business Suite applications across its business, including Oracle Workflow to manage its end-to-end manufacturing and purchasing processes and a process manufacturing tool to enable it to better respond to changes in customer demand while increasing its product range without increasing warehouse capacity.

Thorntons is using Oracle Procurement for its purchasing and Oracle Financials to provide a single enterprise-wide repository of financial information and visibility of income and expenditures.

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