This information is current as at September 2018. As the platform evolves, including in response to retailer and supplier feedback, this information may become outdated.
Automated Charge Through is an internet-enabled upgrade for all retailers and suppliers choosing to trade via the current Metcash Charge Through process. It is available at no additional cost to retailers or suppliers. Charge Through offers some great benefits, but retailers and suppliers tell us it needs improving!
Automated Charge Through leverages technology to replace paper-based (or verbal) Charge Through transactions with electronic messaging. This improves accuracy, timeliness, transparency, traceability and trading insights.
Automated Charge Through aims to save retailers and suppliers significant administration time, and also to make the finding and selection of great local Charge Through products easier for retailers.
The new upgrade automates seven key steps in the current Charge Through process:
Charge Through suppliers are encouraged to make products available online, so retailers can easily search, compare and select additional local products they may want to range alongside their store’s core ‘Winning Range’.
Orders can be placed directly, via the new Automated Charge Through web-portal, but retailers may also elect to have Automated Charge Through products hosted-down to their point-of-sale / back-office system (POS/BOS). ‘Hosted’ Charge Through products can then be ordered just like Metcash products – either directly through the store POS/BOS, or uploaded via a shelf-edge label scan.
The new Automated Charge Through system takes a single store order and automatically splits it into separate orders – one for Metcash, and a separate order for each Charge Through supplier. Orders are sent automatically, and order confirmations, modifications, and aligned line-level invoices flow electronically between the retailer and each supplier.
All quantities, values and actions are date-stamped and authored, and if necessary a retailer can raise a claim on the supplier through the system.
There are benefits for retailers at each step in the current Charge Through process
|Select||View Charge Through products online, 24×7. Categorised and searchable, with full product content and GP%|
|Search||Compare suppliers and prices, see all promotions, review trading data, agree your customer-specific buy-price|
|Host||Host Charge Through products into your point-of-sale with single click – product content, buy price and RRP|
|Order||Order online or via your back office or RF units. All orders routed to the right supplier with full line-level detail and date/time recording|
|Confirm||Receive electronic order acknowledgements or suggested modifications from suppliers|
|Invoice||Receive Metcash weekly statements reflecting hosted electronic invoices. Auto-update dollar values and inventory directly to your systems. Avoid delays with processing and offshore costs|
|Claim||Raise a claim electronically, with full transparency of order and line-level detail and timings. Ten day maximum, claim process|
Yes. Charge Through is optional for retailers and suppliers, and has been for well over a decade. Automated Charge Through is just an internet-enabled upgrade for retailers and suppliers choosing to trade on Charge Through. It is available at no additional cost to retailers or suppliers.
Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is Automated Charge Through product included in planograms?
There is no change from the current approach. ‘Core’ products – the Metcash ‘Winning Range’ – are included in planograms, while local Charge Through products are not included in planograms. Planograms include “grey space” for local Charge Through products in recognition that all retailers want to tailor their store ranges uniquely, to best reflect the needs of local communities and to best differentiate their retail offer.
- If a supplier has products in the Metcash warehouse, can that supplier still sell on Automated Charge Through?
Subject to agreeing Charge Through terms with Metcash, a supplier with products in the Metcash warehouse can still sell products on Automated Charge Through, but only different products. The delineation is product-based, not supplier-based. If the product is in the Metcash warehouse it forms part of the Metcash ‘Winning Range’ expected in stores anyway.
- How do retailers order through Automated Charge Through? Do they have to place orders online?
Retailers will now have multiple options to order product, and can choose the easiest for their unique circumstances. Orders can be placed:
a) by the retailer online, through the new Automated Charge Through web-portal
b) by the retailer, through the retailer’s back-office system
c) by the retailer, through a shelf-edge label scan, as for Metcash warehouse-stocked products
d) by a supplier – if authorised by the retailer – via the placement of a ‘turn-in order’ through the new web-portal
Automated Charge Through allows retailers to place orders including both Metcash warehouse and Charge Through products, across multiple suppliers. The new platform will route orders correctly to the appropriate supplier, or to Metcash.
- Can Automated Charge Through show best-selling products (eg. in the top ten)?
Over time, yes. An advantage of Automated Charge Through will be better availability of data on the trading performance of Charge Through products. Ultimately this will include best-selling products, but it is unlikely this will be available in a meaningful sense from the first days of operation. The new platform will need to accumulate trading data over time. Metcash welcomes feedback from retailers on what data insights will be most valuable.
- Can Automated Charge Through show the same product from different suppliers?
Yes, this is an advantage of the new platform, subject to the depth of range offered by suppliers on the site. If a retailer is looking for a particular product or product category important to their local demographic and community, all listed options from all suppliers servicing the relevant store can be found. All products on Automated Charge Through will be categorised within the Metcash Standard Category (MSC) structure, with filters intended to enable retailers to find the products they want quickly.
- Can a supplier-representative still place an order in store, as they do now?
Yes. Automated Charge Through includes supplier ‘turn-in order’ capability through the web portal. Granting access to suppliers will be the choice of the retailer.
- Is there a minimum order value by supplier, and practically how will this work?
Suppliers have the ability to set a minimum order value per store per day across all lines from the same supplier. Practically, the retailer will be alerted if total orders for a supplier do not exceed the minimum threshold, and can take whatever action the retailer decides.
- How does the system deal with delivery timeframes?
Automated Charge Through does not attempt to manage delivery windows, in the way an end-consumer grocery eCommerce offer may allow customers to choose a specific delivery window. Automated Charge Through allows a supplier to provide descriptive delivery information to retailers through a supplier profile page. This may include content on latest order cut-off times for same day or next day despatch, and anticipated delivery lead times by location.
- Can retailers see invoice detail through Automated Charge Through, and also in their back-office system?
All order line-level detail is captured in the Automated Charge Through system from the time of order, and actual invoice detail is available. Retailers can also load electronic invoices across to their back-office system in the same format as warehouse Invoices. Invoices from Automated Charge Through are collated into the Metcash statement for payment in the same way as they are currently received for Charge Through.
- How will retailers know whether to trust a supplier on Automated Charge Through?
Automated Charge Through is just an upgrade to the current Charge Through process. All Charge Through suppliers are required to sign-up to trading terms & conditions. Metcash reserves the right to suspend or remove suppliers not behaving appropriately.
- What are the costs of using Automated Charge Through for retailers?
There are no changes to retailers’ current Charge Through trading terms or arrangements. Automated Charge Through is an upgrade for all Metcash retailers available at no additional cost.
The Automated Charge Through web-portal displays purchase prices on all products, recommended retail prices and the calculated Gross Profit percentages based on these two prices. The purchase price retailers see is a transparent price with no further fees.
- What are the costs of using Automated Charge Through for suppliers?
There are no changes to suppliers’ current Charge Through trading terms or arrangements.
There are no changes to optional additional services made available to suppliers, such as cross-dock delivery, over and above allowance, catalogue promotions and similar. Metcash reserves the right to offer suppliers further optional services aligned with Charge Through and Automated Charge Through, and rates for these services will be agreed with suppliers.
- What if a retailer has already negotiated a great deal with a supplier outside Charge Through?
There is no obligation on retailers or suppliers to trade through Charge Through or Automated Charge Through, but Metcash has configured Automated Charge Through to support retailer-specific pricing should retailers and suppliers want to access the benefits of the new platform for deals currently outside Charge Through.
Automated Charge Through shows a purchase price and a recommended retail price for each product, and the purchase price may be adjusted by the supplier to be a retailer-specific purchase price to reflect a unique deal negotiated between the retailer and supplier.
- Does Automated Charge Through still calculate a Suggested Retail Price, and will this automatically update a retailer’s retail price?
Automated Charge Through offers a product purchase price to retailers – either the supplier’s list price or the supplier’s retailer-specific deal price. Automated Charge Through displays the supplier’s Recommended Retail Price (RRP), and will also show the associated Gross Profit on the product. In the current build, Automated Charge Through does not calculate a Suggested Retail Prices (SRP) from the purchase price to deliver a specific pre-set margin for the retailer. The host file report within the retailer’s point-of-sale and back-office system will identify cost and GP changes to the retailer, allowing margins to be actively managed as per retailers’ current process for warehouse managed products. In all cases retailers remain free to determine actual retail prices offered in store (subject to any obligations not to exceed any maximum resale prices).
- How frequently will prices update, and how much notice will retailers get to review and update store pricing (if required)?Suppliers can update pricing and offers through Automated Charge Through – downwards for periodic promotions, and potentially upwards for long-term price increases. Automated Charge Through will align with existing practice of providing a lead time to host any price changes down to retailer’s systems, with a 14-day lead time required. Effective dates of those price changes will be in the host file, however it is dependent on a retailer’s point-of-sale and back-office system how these effective dates are managed, as per current process with warehouse products. For fresh products, invoice prices may change daily based on market conditions as per current business practices. Automated Charge Through will continue to host a nominal list price as managed by the supplier.
- Will retailers have a credit limit for purchases made through Automated Charge Through?
Credit limits will be set individually by retailer and applied in the same manner they are currently applied for both Metcash warehouse orders and current Charge Through.
- Will Automated Charge Through facilitate promotions?Automated Charge Through has rich promotions capability inherent in the SAP-Hybris platform. This will allow suppliers to offer periodic promotions on a dollar-off and percentage-off basis, and in a flexible manner. Where Charge Through products are promoted in the IGA catalogue and hosted-down to the retailer’s point-of-sale and back-office system, Metcash will mirror in Automated Charge Through the approach currently supported by the Metcash PE system.
- Will Metcash pro
mote product on Automated Charge Through in the catalogue?Governance of product selection for promotions will not change with Automated Charge Through. As above, Metcash will mirror in Automated Charge Through the promotions approach currently supported by the Metcash PE system.
- What technical capability is needed in stores?
An up-to-date internet browser is needed to access the Automated Charge Through trading portal – eg. Chrome 58 onwards, Internet Explorer 10 onwards, Safari 10 onwards and Firefox 53 onwards.
For access to all integration features of Automated Charge Through, a retailer’s point-of-sale and back-office system (POS/BOS) must support version 7 file transfer (Host v7). Host v7 enables:
a) Charge Through product hosting to a retailer’s POS/BOS (including price updates and 8-digit item codes);
b) a single store order from POS/BOS being split and routed to multiple suppliers;
c) electronic invoicing back to POS/BOS.
Retailers on the earlier Host v5 will have access to Automated Charge Through products through the web portal, but they will not be able to host Charge Through products to POS/BOS. They will be able to place orders online but not from BOS, and they will be able to view invoices in the web portal (but not receive them back into POS/BOS).
For this reason, store upgrades to Automated Charge Through capability will be aligned with upgrades to Host v7 capability for all stores, where the store is not already Host v7 capable.
- Who pays for POS/BOS upgrades?
Host v7 upgrades are available now for all point-of-sale systems. Metcash will fund these upgrades; there will be no cost to retailers with a current software support agreement.
- Can Automated Charge Through integrate into retailer financial systems?
This is available through existing functionality within most POS/BOS systems. The electronic invoice supplied from Automated Charge Through will process through the POS/BOS and then into a linked accounting package. Retailers not currently using this functionality may have to purchase additional licensing from their POS/BOS provider. Many retailers already have this functionality.
- Who is accountable for delivery and product quality if suppliers cross-dock through Metcash?
With the provision of a cross-dock service, Metcash is operating as a logistics services provider to suppliers. Metcash is accountable for delivery of cartons consigned by the supplier, but the supplier is accountable for the contents or quality of the products within the cartons, unless damage to those products is caused by Metcash negligence.
- Are Automated Charge Through invoices for goods via cross-dock separate to a retailer’s main load or part of the main load?Automated Charge Through invoices are specific to an order from a Charge Through supplier, not specific to the physical movement of goods. Some suppliers may elect to cross-dock their deliveries onto Metcash regular loads, but this does not join invoices together.
- Can retailers trade on Automated Charge Through now?
Yes. The technology is now available, and has been tested with Metcash’s corporate stores and a couple of pilot suppliers.
- How do I upgrade?
Retailers with Host v7 capability can upgrade to Automated Charge Through from January 2019. For all other retailers, Automated Charge Through capability will be aligned with the upgrade of your back-office system to Host v7. Retailers keen to upgrade to Automated Charge Through can be prioritised for these Host v7 upgrades.
In both cases, talk with your local State Business Manager for Charge Through (contact details at the end of this document).
- Will the current manual Charge Through process still be supported?
The Metcash Retail Technology team aims to upgrade all IGA and Foodland stores to Host v7 and Automated Charge Through capability by mid-2019. Host v5 and the existing manual Charge Through process will be supported throughout this transition process, until a sunset date is advised for the manual process.
- How do I get further information?
There is a Business Manager for Charge Through in each State, supported by a national team. These Metcash leaders are available to talk with retailers about trading on Charge Through and also the upgrade process to Automated Charge Through.
|NSW: Mark Smith
Business Manager Charge Through – NSW
(02) 8822 3707
0400 533 170
|WA: Steve Postlethwaite
Business Manager Charge Through – WA
(08) 9311 6733
0419 965 615
|VIC: Kruno Konyit
Business Manager Charge Through – VIC
(03) 8368 6102
0400 533 172
|SA: Bruno Disotto
Business Manager Charge Through – SA
(08) 8152 8523
0400 721 215
|QLD: Paul Nikolai
Business Manager Charge Through – QLD
(07) 3804 4130
0400 355 563
Head of Merchandise, Charge Through
(02) 9741 7329
0419 634 013
eCommerce Leader, Automated Charge Through
(02) 9647 0845