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Fresh Direct

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1.How is it possible, as Braddock noted, to have a great deal of data but little information? How does the SAP database and business intelligence component change this?

Fresh Direct is a New York online grocery firm aiming to offer higher quality food with the best price which is 10-15% less than the local competitors and home delivery.

The Fresh Direct has 300,000-square-foot headquarter and 1,500 employees. 8,500 products and 200,000 customers active in every day transaction. So every second there will be numerous data flowing into the company’s center. But the company lacks of a significant information system to deal with those data. They tried to use technology to convert the data to reports of real time information in order to help managers look deeply into the field and react quickly to the customers. But the reports cannot give meaningful information from the data. They didn’t have system in place to gain visible performance, if they have problems, they can get the useful information in times. They need to compare numbers of reports which is time-consuming.

SAP build a bridge between numerous data and useful information by bring data to multiple systems into one report in real time. SAP object and intelligence component can help them get meaningful reports without spending lots of money and helping them simplify the data and understand the problem they are facing. So the company can see the data with SAP business object in a new way they never used before.

2. What is meant by “visibility into the workflow” and why is it important to Fresh Direct’s success? What are exception screens and how are they used?

The “visibility into the workflow” indicates the demand for monitoring daily operation, from getting the order to delivering products. Apparently an advanced information system could help enterprise solve the problems occurring in operation by instant communication. In other words, this information system enhances the “visibility into the workflow”.

The importance of the visibility lies in three different aspects: tracing ability, allocate responsibility and helping customer relationship management. Firstly, it can help the enterprise tracing the whole order services and help the operators know how the services processing and where the delivering products are. Secondly, it points out the responsibility of each step in the whole service procedures. Therefore, once one part goes wrong, someone will be charge of the problem and take action immediately without any delay caused by the ambiguity of responsibility. Thirdly, the tracing ability also plays a critical role in improving customer’s satisfaction. In this way, employee who is sitting in the back office could get useful information in the manufacture or in delivery thereby making the right decision to ameliorate the service in less time. Moreover, the customer center can communicate better if the customers demand the situation of the delivery.

The exception screens are the concrete examples in such information system, SAP Business Objects. When there is a problem in delivery, an agent in operational center gets the report in the exception screen from the delivery man in time. And then the agent will search other teams around the problem track in the information system, which is tracing all the tracks second by second. After auxiliary team will receive the order from agent, head to the right place and get the package. The operational center coordinates all the activities with a so rapid response that customer can’t even realize the incidents happened during the delivery. Briefly, this system gives the employees a powerful weapon to solve the unanticipated as soon as possible.

3. What has been the impact on employees of the changes brought about by the SAP ERP system and associated business intelligence applications?

Under the action of SAP ERP system and associated business intelligence applications, FreshDirect has become increasingly efficient. Generally speaking, those systems and applications could cause continuous feedback, a real-time database etc. And the details are as follows:

First of all, with the help of SAP ERP system and associated business intelligence applications, the employees could serve the customers instant personalized as they use the firm’s database to profile customers. For instance, as the article said, the site’s software can analyze order patterns, reminding and suggesting customers of their favorite products. They add a YMAL cross-selling tool and develop a customer relationship management system that tracks each customers’ past purchases which recommends products that other customers purchased. Moreover, the database recognizes whether a visiting customer is a new, infrequent, or loyal customer which could serve them appropriate information.

In addition, because of the powerful SAP system, the employees could track inventory, compile financial reports, tag products to fulfill customers’ orders, and precisely control production down to the level of telling bakers the number of bagels to cook every day and what temperature to use. Managers can “see into” the order and fulfillment process at any point to identify problems. Alerts are programmed to automatically alert managers to emerging problems. So to speak, it connects online customers to inventory, billing, and then to truck delivery.

Besides, the FreshDirect Web site is powered by BEA Systems’ Weblogic platform, which can track customer preferences, such as the level of fruit ripeness desired, or the preferred weight of a cut of meat. FreshDirect also uses NetTracker, Web site traffic and online behavior analysis software, to help it better understand and market to its online customers. And the supply chain that includes dealing directly with manufacturers and growers, thus cutting out the costs of middle-level distributors and the huge chains.

In conclusion, SAP Business Objects can slice and dice the information and bridge the information gap. It not only saves them a lot of time but also avoids unnecessary panic, and makes the work more orderly.

4. How is FreshDirect’s use of its database related to its brand image? What is the most important element of their brand? Usage of database:

FreshDirect needs a system which can lead to continuous feedback, more precisely, a real time database that could follow every step and misstep for each business day. In doing so, the minor gaffes could be resolved before turning into big problems. With the help of this system, the corporate could promote its brand image and build customer loyalty which makes the brand develop healthily.

Therefore, for example, Fresh Direct uses SAP software to track inventory, compile financial reports, tag products to fulfill customers’ orders, and precisely control production according to customers’ preference. So to speak, SAP Business Objects bridge the information gap and has helped the corporate improve many of our customer services metric. The SAP Business Objects platform has actually allowed managers to engage employees in a different way as SAP is one of the tools could help employees to better do their jobs. With the help of it, all managers can solve problems themselves.

In addition, Fresh Direct also uses BEA system to track customer preferences. Through online behavior analysis software, it’s better for managers to understand and market to its online customers. The software can analysis order patterns, reminding customers of their favorite products and suggesting other items they might like. They divide customers into different types through the information.

The most important element of their brand is high-quality & inexpensive. FreshDirect offers farm-fresh food and delivers it on-time at price about 10 to 15 percent lower than local stores. It has created a 300,000-square-foot headquarters and refrigerated packaging plant to control the quality of food. It architected specially designed fruit and vegetable rooms to store different types of food. The final price of food includes dealing directly with manufacturers and growers. Therefore it can save cost of middle-level distributors. Moreover, we know that the FreshDirect doesn’t charge slotting fees. Instead, it asks supplier to provide lower price for customers.

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