I asked STL whether anyone felt brave enough to address the question of the wisdom of timing a major IT systems upgrade during the critical period approaching Advent and Christmas. Mark Hurley replies:
It is not a question of being brave! As you would expect the discussion to Go Live towards the end of October, 6 weeks later than we had planned was a decision taken at the highest level. The thought process supporting this date was:
- All the Christmas scale outs were complete to the Crown group and other retailers.
- Retailers will have high stock levels and traditionally repeat sales have been low at this time of year.
- The end of a month is a relatively quiet time for business
In addition the expertise within IT that we have pulled together over the last 2 years would have been dispersed and would have had to be pulled together at another time, which would have caused issues at a future Go Live date.
In essence one can always find an argument for not adopting change at any time and I don’t believe the issue is about timing. For me the issue is about the difficulties we have experienced in achieving a same day despatch and maximising availability of product. Issues that must be resolved quickly, whatever the time of year to ensure that you and your customers receive the high level of service you associate with STL Distribution.