Greggs is now into the third year of its Sunrise Programme; a five-year, significant investment, focused on people, processes and technology.

The ‘Food on the Go’ retailer recently visited the central London offices of Keytree, meeting with members of the press to discuss a major development in their multi-year business transformation programme, which has been running since 2015.

I met with James Holmes, the man at the helm to ask how the initiative is changing the way Greggs operate and to find out more about the partnership with Keytree.

As Programme Manager for SAP Transformation at Greggs – has the project been everything you expected?

Yes, and more challenging than I expected. Balancing priorities was the primary challenge as there is never a right or wrong answer with some of the decisions made along the journey – it’s about balancing priorities, which is more important.

You stated in the Greggs press release that the project “has always been ambitious” – did you have any fears or hesitations before the project started?

The challenge was always the scale and volume of shops we had to do. The target was to cutover 100 outlets per week, and in one particular week, we hit 158. The cutover included data extraction from old systems that need translating before loading into SAP and then releasing the solution to the shops.

We had to have the store interface live on a Monday at 3pm. It wasn’t just “let’s do it on this day” – each batch, whether it was 100 or 158, had to be live by 3pm on the day, so they were ready for the week ahead. Starting the data migration on Friday, completing a shop software update on Sunday and we then flick the magic switch on a Monday once completing the loading of the legacy shop data.

It’s big, complicated and there’s a massive amount of timing involved.


It’s effortless to select (a partner) on cost-based parameters, but for Greggs, the cultural fit was one of the biggest indicators – being able to sit down with each other day in/day out. I wouldn’t under emphasise the importance of this as it is critical to the success of the project.

More than 1,600 shops have now been converted – how are shop teams adapting to the new system?

The managers and the teams love it! A simplified User Interface and streamlined processes giving them more time to spend with our customers.

The shops knew what was coming as we agreed and set up a 12-week lead time to manage the process and explain how the changes would alter working procedures. Signposted activities formed three major milestones – the first was change management explaining and addressing elements of fear around change and what it was going to be about – without showing users the screens.

We then pinpointed sessions to review screens, how they work and what they would do and then finally we validated understanding to ensure users had the support and tools needed to use the new system. Even if a shop wasn’t part of the first batch, they knew when they were scheduled, and the buzz was already out there – as it was making life easier for the shop teams.

We also used a Learning Management System (LMS) so users could check-in when it suited them as a reminder of how screens look – this allowed us to avoid classroom-based learning letting employees review the new system when they needed to or when it suited.

The Sunrise Progamme also features SAP SuccessFactors – what impact has this had at Greggs?

We used SuccessFactors LMS to train users at release four, which covered PLM, Finance and Procurement, with the latter being a ‘purchase-to-pay’ solution. For example, if I want to buy Keytree services, I would now go into ‘YourG Buy’ – our branded in-house portal – to purchase those services. The request goes to the procurement team who then change the requisition into a purchase order, and you then get the PO. At this stage, we needed to train 500 people, and this is where LMS played an essential role in underpinning our training process.

The LMS is also being deployed to support credit and debit card compliance, train and manage food safety plus other health and safety requirements so this has gone far beyond the project and has become an ongoing learning tool used across the business. The great part is you can carry out checks to ensure all employees have achieved the training goals.

Why do you think Keytree & Greggs make such a good team?

It’s a good cultural fit. Both sides are open and honest – we challenge Keytree, and they challenge us.

When Greggs entered into the selection process, we wanted to find the right partner and the biggest driver was culture – we had to be sure from the start that the partner selected would fit into the Greggs way of thinking and working.

The second key driver was making sure Keytree had the technical capability to be able to deliver the functionality Greggs wanted and to ensure we had a solid strategic relationship – and this has built up and become stronger over the past three years.

What advice would you give to companies planning to follow the business transformation path?

Executive sponsorship. Don’t talk it – do it.

It’s one thing to say “everyone is on board” but ensure it has enough visibility in the organisation to make it meaningful. Also, make certain you have the right people on the journey, and they have the correct skills set, and they fit with you?

It’s effortless to select (a partner) on cost-based parameters, but for Greggs, the cultural fit was one of the biggest indicators – being able to sit down with each other day in/day out. I wouldn’t under emphasise the importance of this as it is critical to the success of the project.

Find a good trusted partner – select the right one!

Discover more about the Greggs-Keytree partnership and delivery of the Sunrise Programme in our Case Study section.

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