A Rich Brew

DQI Bureau
New Update

It was at Poona Coffee House at Deccan Gymkhana where a young NR Narayana

Murthy proposed Sudha Murthy over a cup of coffee. Today, a Barista Lavazza

outlet stands just a kilometer away from the coffee house and is thronged by

youngsters, who are unlikely to know that checkered history. However, coffees

connection with IT remains, best exemplified by that Barista outlet...and

several others across the country.


In a span of ten years since its inception, it has witnessed multiple

takeovers. What started out as Barista Coffee Company by Kolkata based Turner

Morrison, in 2000 was taken over by Sterling Infotech Group in 2004. Later in

2007, Italian coffee giant, Lavazza, bought all stakes and re-branded it as

Barista Lavazza. Despite the changes, one thing that has remained intact with

the company is its IT back-up.

"As the business spread, it was extremely important for us to have

connectivity among stores and have a complete control over them," recalls Rajesh

Sharma, chief financial officer, Barista Lavazza. "Hence, we started

implementing SAP in 2006. It was mainly done to collect sales and purchase data

from all outlets, and then analyze each outlet as a cost center or a profit

center based on its revenue, expense and assets figures," he says.

Rajesh Sharma, chief financial officer, Barista


IT helps analyze if an outlet is a cost center or a profit



Data collected from each point of sale goes to the back-end, where it is

uploaded on SAP, and a centralized database is maintained. Later, a tracking

team at Lavazza analyzes this data with the help of Hyperiona business

intelligence tool. This is done on a monthly basis, hence enabling constant

review of each outlet. Currently, SAP at Barista includes four modules,

namelyfinance, cost, supply chain management, and sales & distribution. Each

module has tremendously helped the operations of the respective department. For

instance, the sales & distribution team now has a fair idea of the timeframe

when footfall is at its peak and the products that move faster at each outlet.

The module also helps the team assess which format and size of store will work

best for different locations. Similarly, real-time information on raw materials

available and replenishments required helps the supply chain team channelize and

predict demand at each store more accurately.

Such are the benefits, that the management feels SAP implementation was worth

the effort. "Back in 2006, we had to pay Rs 20 mn for SAP. Today its much

cheaper. But the business edge we got from being an early adopter was

tremendous," points out Sharma. The company did face initial hiccups. "Most of

the data entry was done at the point of sale and often there would be errors. It

took us two years to settle down with the new system. But today, its the basic

need of business," says Sharma.

Coming to the front-end, the company has outsourced its customer relationship

management to a service provider. This apart, it has enabled Wi-Fi zones in

forty-five outlets. Recently, it has joined Ideas use mobile, save paper

campaign. Through a unique mobile application that can be accessed at Barista

outlets, customers can now view the menu card and receive bills on their mobiles

rather than on paper. This application is currently available in ninety outlets

across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune. "We are

also trying to make our point of sale application more interactive, informative

and user-friendly. There are plans to install some multimedia informative

screens in a few outlets," sums up Sharma.

Monalisa Das