Tesco Shifts Gears

by Sunil Kumar    Oct 26, 2005

Tesco, a Fortune 500 company, is U.K.’s leading and the world’s third largest retailer. Spread across 13 countries, it operates over 2300 stores and employs 3,53,000 people.

To enhance its business effectivity and efficiency, and to provide IT and business services to Tesco employees and customers worldwide, Tesco Plc has set up a shared services centre in Bangalore, Tesco Hindustan Services Centre (HSC), which currently employs about 630 staff.

In an exclusive to CXOtoday, Philip Greenwood, Head, IT development and support, Tesco HSC, revealed the subsidiary’s future plans, “Tesco HSC is all set to launch a series of high-end back office solutions to step up the efficiency of its parent company.”

Elaborating further he said, “We support existing technologies, pioneer new leading edge technologies and provide business services to make the Tesco experience better, simpler and cheaper for over 300,000 Tesco employees and 15 million Tesco customers worldwide.”

The other recent rollouts of Tesco are ‘I don’t Queue’, which is meant to reduce long waiting hours at the cash counters. Commenting on the solution, he said, “This software is meant to reduce long waiting hours at the cash counters. Long queues at the cash counters can be quite irritating for customers and this new technology we have developed would help ensure minimum waiting time.”

He explained the thermal sensor’s functioning, which is integrated with the solution, “The ‘I Don’t Q’ software has a thermal sensor, which counts the number of people queuing at the cash counters and as the number of queuing customers increases, it suggests opening of more counters. A sensor above each till measures body heat to count the number of people waiting at each checkout counters. The information is then displayed on large electronic panels above each till which can be seen by all the customers. Performance targets displayed on each screen indicates 100% for no queue, 90% for one person and 80% for two people in front of the counters.”

Elaborating on the data warehousing software, which helps track customer behavior by giving data on sales, he said, “We had an application called the ‘full basket analysis’, which analysed sales and provided information on stocks to be replenished and other such crucial information. The team in the centre enhanced the same and now the report is available in 40 minutes as against five days it used to take earlier. This product is time saving and adds immense value to the retail chain as data.”

Tesco currently has four different store formats, each tailored to customers’ needs:

Express (up to 3,000 sq ft), Metro (approx. 7,000-15,000 sq ft), Superstore (approx. 20,000-50,000sq ft) and Extra (approx. 60,000 sq ft and above).

The retail chain already outsources apparel worth $100 million from India, has also recently started outsourcing leather products, footwear and garden tools from India.