Perishable goods, whether selected from a supermarket shelf or served by a store employee, travel a long way before ending up in a consumer’s shopping cart. First they are loaded onto a delivery truck, train, plane or boat at the manufacturer or producer to be delivered to the supermarket warehouse. Then they are distributed to various supermarkets where they are checked in, accounted for, priced and arranged on the shelves. Throughout this process, the goods are handled a number of times, and rules for hygiene must be respected. For items requiring cold storage, employees must ensure an uninterrupted cold chain by following strict protocols and procedures. If a supermarket brand has many stores in different regions all over the country, this chain of events is multiplied. Rigorous processes and careful monitoring ensure that the merchandise arrives on the shelf or counter in good condition and is able to stand the test of time without spoiling.
Monoprix’s quality control division is tasked with monitoring its 400 stores throughout France. “This division has two departments, one responsible for suppliers and everything that goes on before a product enters one of our stores, and the other that monitors the stores themselves and is in charge of implementing and monitoring all qualityrelated processes that affect the product once it is inside the store,” said Sébastien Muller, Quality Manager Store Division, Monoprix. “When I arrived on the job, we had no consistent quality control indicators at our disposal. There was no formal and methodical way of knowing if store procedures were followed, if spoiled food was an isolated incident in one store or a recurring event, and if personnel were systematically and correctly trained on store procedures. The data we did have was fragmented and did not enable us to evaluate the situation on a nation-wide level or to detect trends over a period of time,” he said.
Many of the quality norms governing food distribution are defined by the IFS (International Food Standard), international norms for auditing the safety of food and the processes to manage it. “We contracted with IFS auditors, who are trained to conduct these types of analyses, to audit each one of our stores twice a year,” Muller said. “They complete a standard yet detailed questionnaire on the status of each store with respect to hygiene and procedures related to food handling. We then organize follow-up visits twice a year during which independent auditors evaluate each store’s progress based on the results of the IFS audit and on criteria defined by Monoprix. These audits help ensure that our personnel abide by the processes defined by the IFS and Monoprix so that food is not contaminated or damaged when it is delivered to the customer. Four audits per year multiplied by 400 stores produce an enormous amount of data, yet we had no way of consolidating and cross-referencing different information in a single dashboard to see trends or the big picture. We needed to exploit the data in a more global way and not just locally at a single point in time. A consolidated search and view of all the individual audits would enable us to see patterns and to implement the appropriate measures for improvement.”
Monoprix chose Dassault Systèmes’ (3DS) information access application EXALEAD CloudView to consolidate the different data sources that would provide Muller’s team with the situation in the field. “The key words here are ‘reaction time’,” Muller said. “Contrary to our previous solution, CloudView enables us to obtain instantaneous, dynamic results allowing us to take real-time corrective action. Our previous tool produced static tables, which rapidly ended up being out of sync with what was really going on in our stores. CloudView will be able to adapt to our evolving requirements.”
The key words here are ‘reaction time’. Contrary to our previous solution, CloudView enables us to obtain instantaneous, dynamic results allowing us to take realtime corrective action.
Mind7 Consulting, a 3DS partner, was the integrator on the EXALEAD implementation project. One of its tasks was to define a common syntax and to standardize auditors’ input data. “In the past, auditors didn’t use the same syntax to fill out forms. So Mind7 defined and standardized the taxonomy and indexed the data in CloudView including the auditor’s comments. This provided Monoprix with more precise and richer search results,” explained Alexandre Vincent, Chief Information Officer, Monoprix. “CloudView can search through unrelated information sources and provide consolidated results that help us detect patterns we would otherwise never detect. For example, one indicator may show there are many non-conformities in a store related to food handling procedures, and another that half of the store’s employees have not had any training for over two years,” Vincent said. “Here we already have an area for improvement that we would have missed had we not been able to display a consolidated view of these two information sources,” Muller said. “With our previous solution, we had to manually search for the information in different displays and consolidate the data ourselves. The chances of noticing any relationship between the two was slim. Today, we can filter the information in various ways and the result is rapidly available on one single page. It’s easier to see patterns and make educated conclusions.”
Vincent continued, “We can also go into more detail and analyze specific information, enabling us to detect anomalies we never noticed before. From the same data, we can see what is going on at the national or the regional level and then drill down to the store level. A macro and a micro view, so to speak.” “It is also possible to have a vertical view such as the end-to-end process a product goes through from store door to shelf – or a horizontal view, by activity, like all items linked to cleaning and disinfecting in one or several stores or linked to product labelling,” Muller said. “Since audits are performed on a store-by-store basis, this is the type of information we would not have if we only viewed data from one audit. CloudView’s powerful faceted search capabilities enable us to see any non-conformity at the individual store level right away, but also in several stores or at the national level.”
CloudView’s search results and dashboards are currently accessed by Muller’s team, but individual store managers will have access in the future. “While this information concerns Monoprix as a company, for better responsiveness stores should have daily access to their own dashboards,” Muller said. “They will soon have a view by theme, activity, process, product and where they stand within their region or with respect to overall, national figures. It will provide them with a 360° view.”
How do Muller and Vincent judge the EXALEAD experience? “Our dream was to have reliable, accurate and easy to interpret quality control indicators and with EXALEAD we have all this. We have an up-to-date, instantaneous and global view of an auditor’s findings. This real-time view is important because a persistent problem is bad news for a food store. Trying to win back customer confidence is a very steep climb. EXALEAD is an integral part of our continuous improvement process and we rely on this technology to help us identify areas for improvement because the faster we respond, the better it is for business,” Muller concluded.
CloudView can search through unrelated information sources and provide consolidated results that help us detect patterns we would otherwise never detect.
Monoprix is a leading mass market retail distributor with stores in more than 200 cities in France. Its 6 chains (Monoprix, monop’, monop’daily, monop’beauty, monop’station and Naturalia) comprise over 300 citycenter stores.
Products: food, clothing, home products, beauty & hygiene
Headquarters: Clichy, France
For more information: www.monoprix.fr
Mind7 Consulting is an innovative consulting firm created in 2011. Its goal is to help clients achieve better operational performance by mastering processes and taking advantage of all available information and data. Its specificity is to combine two complementary dimensions: on the one hand, tools to capture, handle and capitalize on information; and on the other, methods coming from Quality that enable clients to make the right decisions that improve and transform their organization.
For more information www.mind7.com