Leading the delivery of a complex national IT programme for Sainsbury’s

Managing the roll-out of the EPOS platform across 1300+ stores and enabling contactless payment across over 36 000 touchpoints

To allow products and services to be brought to market more quickly and information to be captured more accurately and easily, Sainsbury’s wanted to implement a new electronic point of sale (EPOS) platform. This would provide customers with a frictionless shopping experience, make in-store processes more efficient and provide a real-time view of demand in store to aid effective forecasting.

Mason Advisory was brought in to help provide the necessary expertise and experience to effectively manage the overall delivery of the programme and ensure that the system design was robust and risks were minimised. This would, in turn, allow for the successful delivery and roll-out of a fit-for-purpose system to the entire Sainsbury’s estate, including over 600 major supermarkets, 800+ convenience stores and over 300 petrol stations.

Mason Advisory provided the appropriate skills to lead the technical rework required to deliver a more robust system design. This was a major piece of work which involved significant re-engineering and played an essential role in helping to restart the programme.

As the overall programme delivery lead, we were then tasked with managing a team of over 100 people spanning several countries including Serbia, Israel, South Africa, UK and India.

We managed the delivery schedule of the suppliers, set KPIs for quality of performance, questioned change at a detailed level, and took responsibility for troubleshooting any live-service issues. This included facilitating workshops with the key stakeholders to carry out detailed walkthroughs and discuss the technical and operational details. This interaction ensured that we could be certain all elements of the deployment plan and the service wrap were fit for purpose.

These workshops also provided an opportunity to highlight any false assumptions and high-risk areas that needed to be managed within the programme dependencies. Rigorous testing of the platform and a highly automated deployment process, along with detailed roll-back planning safeguarded live systems during implementation. After the initial pilots, a lessons learnt exercise was held which was then repeated after each of the implementation phases.

Our solid relationship with suppliers and objective approach to handling problems, coupled with our ability to drill down into detail on hardware, software and service performance, ensured that everything came together as intended.

We played an integral role in removing the legacy systems and ensuring the stability, performance, and scalability of a new and dynamic digital platform. The new EPOS system has been successfully rolled out to more than 1300+ stores, enabling new payment and loyalty initiatives.

The new platform is providing the foundation for the new payment system and is core to the deployment of Smartshop, i.e. self-scan checkout. We have also deployed a set of tools as part of the store self-help initiative to enable operational information to be captured. This allows Sainsbury’s the opportunity to resolve any issues without having to call the service desk.

Key Facts

Founded in 1869, Sainsbury’s now operates 608 supermarkets and 807 convenience stores across the UK, employing more than 185 000 people.

Retail & FMCG
IT Delivery
Architecture & Technology
Designed To:
  • Replace ageing systems with a robust and scalable digital platform
  • Provide new services for customers, including contactless payments
  • Deliver better in-store and customer information to allow Sainsbury’s to introduce new products and services

Bridie Douglas

Marketing Manager

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