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Exclusive Q&A: Stater Bros. shifts to digital ERP management

Stater Brothers storefront
Stater Bros. Markets is digitally transforming its enterprise.

The largest privately-owned supermarket chain in Southern California is leveraging SAP cloud technology to transform enterprise operations including supply chain and workforce management.

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Gil Salazar, senior VP, IT, Stater Bros. Markets, about how the regional grocery chain recognized that its legacy mainframe system couldn’t keep up with supply chain and human resources challenges. As a result, Stater Bros., which operates 170 stores across Southern California, moved to the SAP S/4 HANA ERP system and Success Factors human capital management solution.

The company also recently began leveraging cloud-based technology from grocery e-commerce solutions provider Mercatus to create an online shopping site that will be fully responsive for optimized browsing on any device.

What supply chain management benefits does Stater Bros. hope to obtain from enterprise digital transformation?
Stater Bros. Markets expects to fully leverage the SAP S/4 HANA platform to enhance and streamline our supply chain management efforts. This includes gaining access to real-time data which will significantly improve the time it takes for us to arrive at a decision. In today’s competitive landscape, access to timely data is critical to our long-term success.

We believe that empowering our teammates with real-time data will provide more visibility and insight into what is moving in our stores which will ultimately drive improved results. In addition to improved data access, we expect to take advantage of the capabilities provided around inventory management including real-time inventory views and perpetual inventory capabilities.

We also anticipate being able to take full advantage of the procure-to-pay capability under a single system. Obtaining timely insights and leveraging the capability of the SAP system will enable us to simplify the onboarding of new vendors and items, positioning us to source the products that our customers are looking for. We believe strongly that SAP will provide a richer data set which we can augment with other enterprise data to create a holistic view of our business and operations.

What talent management benefits does Stater Bros. hope to obtain from its enterprise digital transformation initiative?
Stater Bros. Markets has over 18,000 teammates and one of our biggest challenges is identifying, developing and harnessing the talent in our company. It is through our digital transformation efforts that we intend to take full advantage of the capabilities provided to us from our SAP SuccessFactors implementation.

Being able to rapidly identify and onboard talent will be a huge advantage over our current legacy human capital management (HCM) system, especially in a climate where talented labor is difficult to source. Another key advantage is being able to use our HCM system to identify those teammates who are pursuing higher education in fields that are in demand back at corporate office.

Identifying these teammates as they are pursuing their higher education goals will give us an advantage in retaining them so they can pursue their chosen field through a Stater Bros. corporate position. Employee retention and development were key contributing factors in our selection process. We believe strongly that employee engagement will improve dramatically through our ability to leverage mobile apps that enable our teammates to access information from anywhere at any time.

Are there any future plans for the new ERP platform you can discuss?
Our immediate effort is to stand up our HCM platform, which is a project that is currently underway. We anticipate the “official” launch of ERP to be around April/May 2022, in which we will begin the process of seeking out a strong implementation partner with excellent grocery industry experience. We believe that renovating from our legacy system that has little innovation capability to a modern and robust architecture will unlock an immense opportunity for us.

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