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 As the platform evolves, including in response to retailer and supplier feedback, this information may become outdated.

Introduction

What is Automated Charge Through?

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 suppliers or retailers. 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.

How does it work?

The new upgrade automates seven key steps in the current Charge Through process:

Select Search Host Order Confirm Invoice Claim
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2
3
4
5
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7

Charge Through suppliers can showcase their products to all Charge Through retailers across Australia 24×7, so retailers can then search 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.

What are the benefits?

There are benefits for suppliers at each step in the current Charge Through process:

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Search & Select

Add a major new sales channel!

  • Showcase your products to all the Charge Through retailers* you want to reach, 24x

  • Manage general or retailer-specific pricing and promotions

3
Host

Get your Charge Through products hosted into retailers back-office systems for easy ordering–product content, purchase price, RRP and GP%

4
Order Retailers order online or via their back office system or RF units. All orders are routed to the right supplier, and you receive full line-level detail and date/time recording. Supplier turn-in order capability is available
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Confirm/Deliver Send electronic order confirmations or suggested order modifications. Piggy-back on the Metcash truck already delivering; compare your delivery cost with the new Metcash cross-dock (from late 2018), offering a transparent dollar per carton origin-to-destination, on an order-by-order basis
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Invoice Maintain surety of payment, and improve accuracy, timeliness and ease of processing with electronic invoices that always match order line-level supplier codes, quantities and buy-price(s). Take advantage of new EDI links to flow data directly into and out of your systems
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Claim Be advised of any issues promptly, with full transparency of order and line-level detail and timings

*Note: There are currently material Charge Through sales to more than 85% of IGA and Foodland stores

Is Charge Through optional?

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 suppliers or retailers.

Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Ranging policy & control

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Ordering, invoicing & delivery

  1. How do suppliers order through Automated Charge Through
    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 and immediately to the appropriate supplier, or to Metcash.
    Suppliers will therefore receive orders in one consistent electronic web format, with all appropriate order and line level detail. Metcash has also built Electronic Data Integration (EDI) capability into the new platform, and looks forward to working with suppliers to extend connectivity directly into suppliers’ systems. Clearly this depends on each suppliers’ systems maturity and configuration.
  2. How do suppliers confirm willingness and ability to supply, and then raise invoices?
    Automated Charge Through has been configured to allow suppliers to manage all orders from retailers in a simple way, through the Automated Charge Through web-portal. This includes order acknowledgement, order adjustment requests based on the supplier’s ability to supply, order confirmation, and the raising of electronic invoices corresponding to each fulfilled order.  As with the order process above, EDI capability connecting into supplier systems has also been built for handling both order confirmation and electronic invoices.
  3. What additional data insights may be available through Automated Charge Through?
    An advantage of Automated Charge Through will be better availability of data on the trading performance of Charge Through products. This is unlikely to be available in a meaningful sense from the first days of operation. The new platform will need to accumulate trading data over time, but ultimately it should provide both retailers and suppliers with greater insights to inform their decision-making. Metcash welcomes feedback from suppliers on what data insights will be most valuable.
  4. Will Automated Charge Through allow retailers to see all product options within a category?
    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 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.
  5. Will a supplier-representative still be able to 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.  We are also investigating opportunities to enable integrated turn-in orders for suppliers who already have existing turn-in order system capability.  Again this will depend on each suppliers’ systems maturity and configuration.
  6. Can suppliers set a minimum order value, 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.  This is only a “soft-warning” in the system and ultimately allows the supplier to decide whether to proceed fulfilling the order or not.
  7. 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.
  8. What trading rules and standards will Metcash impose?
    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.

Fees & pricing

  1. What are the costs of using Automated Charge Through for suppliers?
    There are no changes to suppliers’ current Charge Through trading terms or arrangements. Automated Charge Through is an upgrade for all Charge Through suppliers available at no additional cost.  For suppliers new to Charge Through, trading terms are available through your local State Business Manager for Charge Through (contact details at the end of this document).
    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 must be a transparent price from suppliers with no further fees.
  2. 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.
  3. What if a supplier has already negotiated a retailer-specific price with a retailer 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.
  4. Will Automated Charge Through show a Recommended Retail Price?
    Automated Charge Through will offer a product purchase price to retailers – either the supplier’s list price or the supplier’s retailer-specific deal price. Automated Charge Through will also display the supplier’s Recommended Retail Price (RRP) and show retailers the associated Gross Profit percentage on the product.
  5. How frequently can suppliers update prices?
    Suppliers can update pricing and offers through Automated Charge Through – downwards for periodic promotions, and potentially upwards for long-term price increases – at any stage, but 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.  For fresh products, invoice prices may change daily based on market conditions as per current business practices, and Automated Charge Through will continue to host a nominal list price as managed by the supplier.

Promotions

  1. 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 ERP system.
  2. Will Metcash promote 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 ERP system.

Technical capability

  1. What technical capability is needed?
    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.
    Suppliers should note that a retailer’s point-of-sale and back-office system (POS/BOS) must support version 7 file transfer (Host v7) for retailer access to all integration features of Automated Charge Through. 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.
  2. Can Automated Charge Through integrate into supplier systems?
    As mentioned previously, Metcash has built Electronic Data Integration (EDI) capability into the new platform catering for orders, order confirmations & invoices, and looks forward to working with suppliers to extend connectivity directly into suppliers’ systems. We are also investigating opportunities to enable integrated turn-in orders for suppliers who already have existing turn-in order system capability.  Clearly all of these options depend on each suppliers’ systems maturity and configuration.

Cross-dock

  1. What if a retailer orders a suppliers’ products, but a supplier has no current delivery capability to that store?
    Automated Charge Through will allow suppliers to showcase their product ranges online, 24×7, to all Charge Through stores nationally. If a supplier has no current direct delivery capability beyond a subset of stores (eg. local stores) then the supplier has three options.  The supplier can:
    a) constrain its delivery region within Automated Charge Through by State
    b) extend its direct delivery capability through its own commercial arrangements
    c) elect to cross-dock the delivery through the Metcash distribution network
  2. How does (or will) Metcash cross-dock work?
    Metcash currently offers cross-dock as a commercial option to all suppliers, allowing suppliers to piggy-back on the next scheduled Metcash store delivery. Metcash will continue to offer cross-dock, and is looking at extending the cross-dock service to interstate movements. Cross-dock will be available to suppliers as a default option, or as a selection on a discrete order basis.
    Where suppliers choose Metcash cross-dock, the supplier accepts the commercial terms (service fee) for Metcash to provide this service. The supplier requirement is then to deliver a single load to the supplier’s local Metcash warehouse, with all products picked and labelled by store (with appropriate labelling provided through Metcash systems). Individual cartons must contain products for a single store only, and must not exceed maximum weight and size limits. Metcash then cross-docks these cartons onto the next regular Metcash store delivery, and the retailer receives a consolidated load from Metcash across both Metcash warehouse and Charge Through products.
    Metcash is currently overhauling its cross-docking systems and capabilities to align with the new Automated Charge Through platform.  This will provide a far simpler and less administrative experience for suppliers using this service.
  3. What are (or will be) the fees for Metcash cross-dock?
    Cross-dock is currently offered to suppliers on a percent to sales commercial basis. Metcash may change this commercial offer to a $ per carton commercial basis in 2019. These $ per carton charges will reflect the origin and destination movements requested by the supplier for each retailer order. Metcash believes this new approach will better reflect the actual costs of providing the cross-dock service, and provide suppliers with a more readily-comparable delivery cost relative to the costs the supplier would incur for the same direct to store deliveries.
    Metcash is looking to provide a transparent total cost to suppliers for the cross-dock service at the time the supplier makes a decision to deliver directly, or to choose the Metcash cross-dock option.  It will do this through an origin-destination $ per carton rate card, extended by the number of cartons consigned for delivery.
  4. Who is accountable for delivery and product quality when 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.
  5. Does cross-dock consolidate invoices with Metcash?
    No, Automated Charge Through invoices are specific to an order from a supplier, not specific to the physical movement of goods. When suppliers elect to cross-dock their deliveries onto Metcash regular loads, it does not join invoices together.

Next steps

  1. When will retailers start buying product through Automated Charge Through?
    The technology for retailers to upgrade to Automated Charge Through is now available, and has been tested with Metcash’s corporate stores and a couple of pilot suppliers. 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 their back-office system to Host v7.  Retailers keen to upgrade to Automated Charge Through will be prioritised for these Host v7 upgrades.
    It is anticipated retailers will transition to Automated Charge Through from January 2019.
  2.  When can suppliers set up their range and offers to trade on Automated Charge Through?
    Automated Charge Through is available to all suppliers now, with many thousands of products already loaded.
    For suppliers with existing Charge Through accounts, the process is:
    a) Metcash configures the supplier as a trading entity on Automated Charge Through
    b) Supplier is notified to login and verify its account details
    c) Supplier can set up users, assign permissions, and populate a company profile page
    d) Metcash provides supplier with an Excel template for upload of product content
    e) Supplier populates the Excel product template, and bulk imports their product data to Automated Charge Through
    f) Supplier completes other product catalogue details – uploading product images and list prices
    g) Supplier updates any customer-specific pricing, and loads any opening promotions & discounts
    h) Metcash reviews and approves products which are then made live on the site and ready to trade
    The agreed terms for Charge Through trade continue to be applied in Metcash’s financial systems and held separately from the Automated Charge Through platform.
    For suppliers not previously trading on Charge Through, the process is similar but these suppliers will first need to be set up in Metcash financial systems as a trading entity, and to negotiate terms for Charge Through trade.  Suppliers should contact their local State Business Manager for Charge Through to start this process (contact details at the end of this document).
  3. 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.

Change impact summary

  1. What changes should be expected to supplier processes for Charge Through?
    The table below shows key change areas for suppliers. Suppliers should consider where these tasks sit in their business today, and how roles and processes may change with Automated Charge Through
  PROCESS CURRENT FUTURE
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Product & pricing set-up New products specified on UBFs and submitted by supplier to Metcash Directs Manager New products loaded by supplier to Automated Charge Through, either individually or via bulk upload. Option to enrich content through SKUvantage or GS1 SmartMedia

Pricing managed by supplier on Automated Charge Through via Offers to retailers

2
Range breadth Limited by range submission to Directs Manage Unlimited, subject to Metcash final approval step prior to products going live on Automated Charge Through
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Customer reach Limited by practical scope of field sales teams, printed materials etc Limited only by ability to supply, and Metcash Cross-dock is an option to reach all stores
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Order processing Relies on email, fax, verbal instruction Received electronically via Automated Charge Through account, or EDI
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Order acknowledgement Relies on email, fax, verbal advice
Advised electronically via Automated Charge Through account, or EDI
Advised electronically via Automated Charge Through account, or EDI
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Invoicing Paper invoice sent with goods to retailer.  Statement submitted to Metcash Paper invoice sent with goods to retailer. Matching electronic invoice sent to retailer and Metcash via Automated Charge Through or EDI

Data specifications

  1. What data will be required to load a product to Automated Charge Through?
    Suppliers can publish a wide range information about their products from core data (product description, pack size, GTIN, etc) through to extended consumer data (nutritional, allergen, marketing content, etc).

A minimum sub-set of data is required for an item to appear and be traded on Automated Charge Through.  The list below identifies mandatory fields that must be populated for each product:

  • Product Description
  • GTIN
  • Pack Size
  • Price (known as an Offer)
  • Product Image

Optional Data elements include:

  • Supplier Product Codes
  • Nutritional Data
  • Allergen Information
  • Marketing Messages

For suppliers to maximise their sales potential, products should look as good as possible on the site.  Automated Charge Through has minimum product image specifications as follows:

  • Minimum 1000 x 1000 pixels
  • White Background
  • Front Pack Shot
  • 2D Image
  • Product fills the canvas with 5-10 pixel border
  • 300dpi Minimum
  • RGB Colour profile
  • JPG Format

Key contacts

  1. 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 suppliers about trading on Charge Through and Automated Charge Through.
State contacts
NSW: Mark Smith
Business Manager Charge Through – NSW
mark.smith@metcashfg.com
(02) 8822 3707
0400 533 170
WA: Steve Postlethwaite
Business Manager Charge Through – WA
steve.postlethwaite@metcashfg.com
(08) 9311 6733
0419 965 615
VIC: Kruno Konyit
Business Manager Charge Through – VIC
kruno.konyit@metcashfg.com
(03) 8368 6102
0400 533 172
SA: Bruno Disotto
Business Manager Charge Through – SA
Bruno.disotto@metcashfg.com
(08) 8152 8523
0400 721 215
QLD: Paul Nikolai
Business Manager Charge Through – QLD
paul.nickolai@metcashfg.com
(07) 3804 4130
0400 355 563
National contacts
Jon Fernandes
Head of Merchandise, Charge Through
Jon.fernandes@metcash.com
(02) 9741 7329
0419 634 013
Joshua Head
eCommerce Leader, Automated Charge Through
joshua.head@metcash.com
(02) 9647 0845

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