Multi-year Oracle and Blue Yonder systems training programme for a well-known grocery retailer

We had worked on a series of successful systems projects with this business. The well-known grocery retailer was very happy with the quality of our work, the approach that we take and the quality of our consultants. They therefore engaged First Friday to support a major multi-year strategic systems implementation for them. The programme included a mix of Oracle and Blue Yonder systems, both of which we have a lot of experience with.

Multi-year Oracle and Blue Yonder systems training programme for a well-known grocery retailer

Systems training grocery retailer first glance image with three text boxes and icons. Industry; Grocery retail, Location; UK stores & online website and Services; Retailer & Supplier Systems Training

First Friday has worked with this well-known grocery retailer for a number of years on a range of training projects for systems implementations, including supporting them with training for the implementation of a Stock Delivery System.

Our unique proposition of retail industry expertise, an approach to training that focuses on job role changes encompassing processes as well as the system together with the outstanding training material and delivery was exactly what they were looking for to support this ambitious and large change programme. First Friday also have extensive experience in the new software solutions the retailer was implementing from Oracle and Blue Yonder.

The programme was broad, covering Master Data Management (MDM) and Merchandise Operations (MO) and was split into many phases. First Friday had  to pull together a large team of training consultants together covering a range of specialities together with process and communications experts, in order to successfully deliver our part of this strategic priority for the business.

Using our extensive experience of retail and projects to shape the programme

The materials development scope was very broad and covered the sort of system modules with which we are very familiar: Foundation Data, Item Maintenance, Product Ranging and Purchase Orders.

The retailer took our advice and signed up to support learners with multi-media learning, thereby using a broad range of our talents and expertise. 

We begun by conducting a comprehensive Training Needs Analysis (LNA) process encompassing two separate areas of the business: Trading (for Master Data Management) and Merchandising (for Merchandise Operations).

Spending the right amount of time on this preparation stage up-front ensured fewer changes throughout the development of a large suite of courses, and also meant that we could identify the transition plan to business as usual (BAU) very early on. 

The programme began with business briefing sessions to ensure everyone knew what was happening, followed by end-to-end overview workshops describing the whole change programme for all impacted audiences. 

Creating virtual solutions for vanilla and bespoke requirements 

Cropped image of someone working remotely at a laptop with the accompanying text "The training included eLearning, videos, workshops and support materials, all designed to be delivered to large groups of employees and suppliers."Not only did we cover-off the “vanilla” elements when designing and developing the training solution for these systems, we also addressed bespoke requirements particular to managing the needs of grocery retailers.

For example, we developed training to cover special scenarios to manage Christmas food ordering, seasonal horticulture and the multi-purchase of wine, therefore covering the anomalies of such specialist subject-matter challenges.  

The entire training solution was specifically designed to be delivered virtually. With large groups of employees as well as suppliers requiring training across all product areas, the most flexible approach was to ensure all training delivery could be handled remotely – even when workshop based.

This allowed us to employ our tried-and-tested approach when working with large-scale systems implementations, where embedding learning using a variety of media is key to sustainability.

It also gave the opportunity to offer follow-up sessions to those who needed it on a case-by-case basis. The suite of training materials therefore included eLearning, video, classroom workshops and post-training support materials. 

How we supported the Master Data Management implementation 

Master Data Management (MDM) was the first series of modules to be addressed. Firstly, digital modules were completed including eLearning and videos for both employees and suppliers across the usual baseline concepts and systems (such as item onboarding and amendment), but also some new topics like jurisdictions and data supplier.   

Once the learners understood the top-level theory and had experienced the system through interactive eLearning they moved onto our virtual classroom sessions including an MDM/MO overview and two practical workshops. 

These were designed to give those who had completed eLearning some further hands-on practice using real data with additional support from trainers and subject matter experts (SMEs) answering any outstanding questions. 

The Master Data Management courses we developed included:

  • Concepts & navigation
  • Onboarding an item
  • Amending an item
  • Specialist features
  • Supplier videos for using the portal, setting up & changing product details

In total, we developed 8 digital and 4 classroom courses for ~600 employees, and 5 digital solutions (eLearning and video) for ~2500 suppliers.

Training delivery was phased across various product areas, prioritised depending upon business need.  

Customer feedback: “The First Friday team is just amazing – every single one.” “It’s so refreshing that when there is a problem you always come with a number of options and a recommendation, we have never had that before.”

How we supported the Merchandise Operations implementation 

Training image to show the key changes to behaviour and ways of working generated by the project. Arrow says: Crawl, Walk, Run. Top row of boxes read: Exception management, Forward looking, Data driven. Bottom row of boxes read: Growth mindset, Lower-level decision making, Influence & collaborate

The team for Merchandising Operations (MO) started three months later; probably one of the largest training project teams we have had with 12 consultants, plus our Training Manager, involved in developing the training solution.

Expertise across the team ranged from buying / merchandising / planning retail experts plus three team members having digital (eLearning and video) development and build capability and experience.  Additionally, we were able to support the development of standard operating procedures, user acceptance testing (UAT) and support process definition, working closely with the business throughout. 

The Merchandise Operations Training Needs Analysis (TNA) also indicated a blended solution although there was a greater dependency on classroom training due to the nature of the subject matter.

Merchandise Operations was all about Replenishment and Purchase Orders with lots of subtle nuances for Ambient, Frozen, Fresh and General Merchandise… and of course Christmas turkey ordering!

The Merchandise Operations courses we developed included:

  • Managing Item Information
  • Planning
  • Forecasting
  • Inventory Management
  • Replenishment
  • Special Scenarios
  • Exceptions

In total, to cover all business needs, we developed 18 classroom and 4 digital courses for ~400 employees.   

The transition to Business As Usual 

What’s great about identifying the transition to business as usual (BAU) plan early and adopting a blended approach to systems transformation programmes is that the training solution can be easily adapted for BAU enduring sustainability and ongoing consistency of process across the business.

This can sometimes fall down if it’s treated as an afterthought or an add-on, but when it’s part of the whole process, it means the business is left with a proven solution to refresh or onboard skills going forward. 

Customer feedback: “Every day I give praise your team are on this project.” “Thank goodness you gave a great presentation at bid stage, we couldn’t have done any of this without you!”

Got a similar project you’d like us to work on?

Let us know some high-level details, and one of our team will be in touch to talk you through how we can help and what you’d need to do to get the ball rolling.