Global finance transformation for a leading retailer

It’s never a dull moment in the retail sector, as we see the big five supermarkets continuously fight for the top spot, and competition only getting tougher as they face lower cost alternatives and the new ‘shop local’ mentality. To stay ahead of the game, they must continuously change and improve, whether by widening their scope or improving the controls in the background that the consumer doesn’t see. 


Our customer set up a Finance Transformation Programme in response to audit recommendations that financial controls needed improvement to reduce corporate risk, fraud and mistakes being made. There was also a drive to reduce costs and increase the scope of services offered by their offshore service centre.  


The success was dependent on a number of key change initiatives being managed and executed simultaneously, including the: 


  • Enable Business transformation through the upgrade of Oracle Finance (11i) platforms to Oracle Fusion, resolving the issue of out-of-support platforms and enabling transformational changes to processes  
  • Development of a global process model, Chart of Accounts and process owners. This single global process approach aligns operating procedures across the globe, so process improvements can be rolled-out faster 
  • Standardisation and cleansing of key master data objects across the entire suite of finance and connected systems. Improved data quality leads to higher success rates in process completion, reducing re-work and delayed processing  
  • Delivery of standard global processes, across all finance systems and connected finance areas, reducing and improving reporting cohesion, leading to improved efficiency in processing and management reporting  
  • Reduction of FX exposure and P&L impact from intercompany trading. By making improvements to the rates used in its accounting processes, they can free up working capital (reserved for FX variations), as well as more accurately provision for FX spend  
  • And finally, the delivery of a standardised means of breaking costs down across stores globally, facilitating reporting at a lower level of granularity, enabling better decision making and ultimately reduce Costs of Goods Sold. 

How did Project One add value?  


  • Structure and organisation – the experience to drive scheduled delivery  
  • Adding the right level of assurance and quality control to enable successful delivery  
  • Strength of character to drive, question and challenge, creating focus and momentum  
  • Effective senior stakeholder alignment  
  • Tool and asset creation for ongoing use, uplifting internal capabilities  
  • Facilitated cross-sector learning sessions for best practice  
  • Improved efficiency, implementing solid governance and PMO processes. 


Project one partnership 


Project One was working on the ground, leading internal teams in the UK, Thailand, India and Malaysia, to deliver this activity during the UK/ROI wave and subsequently in the South-East Asia roll-out. 


“The UK/ROI cutover went very smoothly which is testament to the preparation and planning put in by Project One consultants, Simon Birbeck and Andy Minshull.” Programme Director, Finance Transformation Programme 


A major component of delivering any ERP platform is the planning and execution of the cutover and the post hypercare support. This covers the obvious technical aspects but importantly the business preparation and management of the process, ensuring business continuity and recovery is seamless.  


Project One was responsible for the programme management of this critical phase, with many months of preparation, planning and execution for a smooth cutover, with minimal disruption, successfully avoiding any impact on their ability to trade, exposure to significant fines from regulatory bodies or reputational damage. 


Project One was asked to take over the delivery and recover the project through to successful live running of the Goods For Resale Programme. Eight weeks into the project recovery, we completed the successful delivery of the pilot system to prove out the complex invoice matching routines (multiple supplier types, Thailand AP laws and integration with legacy platforms).  


The final phase required a significant change in the original scope, with extensive rework of the principle reporting platforms for Thailand. This was not just a technological change but also a change in the way that our customer managed its international store’s operations, by moving from Gross Margin reporting to Net Margin KPI’s. This was achieved with a revised plan to reflect the significant business change that was needed across 2,500 stores, 15 Distribution centres and over 700 head office staff and the risks this carried to the operational existence of the business. On top of this, the programme also dealt with the not insignificant challenge of cultural differences, COVID-19 and managing a team across the UK, India, Russia and Thailand. 

“The Goods For Resale Programme has been tremendously successful, which on reflection some of us have probably taken a little for granted when you consider the previous challenges it faced and how quickly that has turned around in the last 12-months.


This transition has been remarkably smooth! I have valued Project One’s attention to detail, the drive you give a project to get over the line and the challenge you pose to others to make pragmatic choices.”


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