Morrisons opened in 1889 to supply eggs and butter at Rawson Market in Bradford, England. Founder William Morrison envisioned the first self-service store with prices on its products.
Over 125 years later, Morrisons is the fourth largest grocery retailer in the UK. Their network spans 505 stores and 135,000 employees across the country.
The ordering process for on-shelf product availability can be a challenge for retailers. Each day, five to six Morrisons employees were dedicated to re-ordering stock. The staff would print product documents up to 800 pages long, and work to meet tight deadlines. If they failed to meet the deadline, the stock wouldn't arrive in store for the next day.
Morrisons spotted an opportunity to innovate. They wanted to improve their in-store ordering process, and if they could act within a year, there was a huge benefit on the table. Big data and mobile devices were perfect to improve efficiency.
Partnering with ThoughtWorks, they developed an online mobile ordering pad. In just 24 weeks, the mobile application was in all 505 stores across the UK.
"The order pad drives us away from having our employees completing administrative tasks in the store. It gives them more time to be on the shop floor, working near our customers."
The order pad allows data tracking and analysis and a faster more accurate ordering process. In-store data entry has been reduced by 12 hours per week, and the improved availability has meant a £4 million business benefit. The time savings mean staff can spend more time with the customers.
"The order pad strikes at the core of Morrisons retail service offering - On-Shelf-Availability. The products that their customers want are on the shelves, no gaps. The order pad design is end-user focused; improving accuracy and speed as a result. The deployment of the first tablet device has set Morrisons up for a more mobile and effective business going forward."
To find out more about the technology approach and Martin Fowler's views on the technical innovation used to deliver the Order Pad click here.