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    Wawa Turns to SAP to Power Entry Into New Markets

    Software helps the retailer make day-to-day decisions.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News

    WAWA, Pa. – Considering that Wawa Inc. is aggressively expanding into Florida, as well as adding several northern New Jersey stores, it is more important than ever for the convenience store retailer to have a strong chainwide software solution. Helping Wawa enter these new markets armed with business intelligence is software company SAP.

    "We get an amazing level of detail for every article [in our stores] for their entire lifecycles," said Maureen Murphy, Wawa's director of store operations. "That is a tremendous help for us to make decisions on a day-to-day basis at both the store and corporate levels."

    The SAP Retail Solution — software that handles financials, inventory tracking, ordering and receiving — is playing an integral role in Wawa's expansion into Florida. As of July 31, the chain had 23 locations in the state and it is adding at least one new store per week, Todd Souders, Wawa's director of store operations for Florida, told CSNews Online.

    "It's really important in a new market to understand what you are selling and when," he said. "The detail of the information [SAP provides] is really incredible, whereby you can really understand the mix of your business, when it is happening and even look at these things on an individual store basis. When you're expanding, you need to know what parts of the business are not working and which parts are excelling."

    Wawa is also using SAP for expense control. "When talking about an expense control perspective, you can legitimately track down each individual expense and know where it is from," Souders explained. "These expenses can be anything, including shrink, utilities, spoilage or anything else." The program can even find vendor errors, such as incorrect recipes.

    Along with tracking the most specific of items, the SAP Retail Solution also gives Wawa an all-encompassing view.

    "SAP can be that specific, but it also can look at things on a grand scale, such as helping us determine if we want to carry a particular product and where we want to place it in the store," Murphy said. "Now, we can tell the movement on every single article down to an individual product like meatballs."

    Wawa became the first c-store chain to employ the SAP Retail Solution companywide. It finished the implementation in 2007 and has been enhancing its use of the system ever since.

    Before implementing the SAP Retail Solution, Wawa would get only a general statement on topics like spoilage, and could not always determine specifically what products were affecting its bottom line.

    Wawa Inc. owns and operates more than 600 convenience stores, including 300 gas stations, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    • About Brian Berk Brian Berk is managing editor of Stagnito Business Information's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, where he specializes in covering motor fuels, technology and financial news. He has served the magazine industry for 14 years and has also worked in the radio and newspaper fields. Berk holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

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