Humans and technology unite to form a well-oiled machine behind shelves full of sweets and other items. Nina Kotomäki, Coop's group manager, is one of those working to guarantee that everyone gets their favourite sweets.
Nina Kotomäki outside Coop main office in Solna, Stockholm.
Holidays like Easter and Christmas are particularly important times to ensure commodity flows are working as they should.
According to a forecast from the Swedish Trade Federation, consumers are expected to spend SEK 7.7 billion during the coming Easter week. On Maundy Thursday grocery sales are expected to double that of an average weekday, so it's important that the digital flow between shops, terminals and suppliers runs as smoothly as possible.
- This all requires long-term planning together with the shops, which many people may not realise. Even the timing of red letter days has a lot to say. Suppliers may not always been open when we consider it natural, and then we need rethink. EVRY's system, which is popularly known as EDI Exchange, supports the operation and gives buyers control over what is needed, says Nina.
Technology is there to support
It's also a matter of imagining what customers are thinking when they do a big shop.
Easter is a busy holiday, but Nina Kotomäki is not stressed.
- My team and I work continually to make sure that you as our customer can rely on us. We must have whatever you expect us to have. And this is where digitalisation comes in. The machines must do their job, the system says where the orders must go and we must be able to communicate. After all, technology is there to support, says Nina.
Just as in many other areas of society, Nina and her team are in the midst of the digital transformation, which involves implementing data transfer. All this so that the end result should be as smooth as possible for the customers.
- Of course things can go wrong now and then, but often it's the human factor that plays tricks on us. There's a difference between an order for 80 packets of Easter feathers and two whole pallets of them. That's when it's good to use the human eye to detect cases where a shop has simply pushed the wrong button.
Goods are delivered the next day
Coop in Norway uses the same technology to make sure that shops don't run out of key items.
If planning is forgotten, shop managers can order items in the afternoon before 16:00 and have them delivered to their shop the following morning.
- Coops's existence is founded on what our members and customers buy in our 1,300 shops, so having all the items available is a basic requisite. Many critical processes, components, systems and activities need to work seamlessly and reliably if we are to make sure that our shelves are always full, says Oddgar Linnerud, who is responsible for IT integration in Coop Norway.