USC transforming into fully automated corporation


ISLAMABAD, DEC 8 (DNA) – Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan (USC) established Information Technology (IT) infrastructure by establishing a modern data center with Private Cloud in its head office during the financial year, 2019-20.

The data center has the capacity to meet current and future IT infrastructure requirements and is the only data center in any Public Sector organization in Pakistan, built on OpenStack Cloud environment. Moreover, a robust data communication network is also established in its Head Office and office located in G-9 Markaz, Islamabad.

An international leading ERP System has been deployed on USC data center and customization of ERP system as per USC requirements is under process. All USC stores and warehouses will be automated and linked with central ERP System for real time sales and inventory management. All USC business processes including Supply Chain, Warehousing, Financials, HR, Payroll, and E-Commerce will be automated by June, 2021.

Once the ERP system implementation is completed purchasing activity will become a structured process whereby situation arising due to over or under stocking of inventory can be controlled. The whole inventory will be controllable and USC will be able to forecast amount of items needed, thus preventing both product shortages and overstocking.

Through automation of USC, synchronization of warehouses and retail outlets data into the centralized data center will provide a consolidated view of the corporation performance. The automation will help identifying trends in top selling items and locations. This will enable stocks to be moved with precision and achieve higher sales volumes. Also the automation will enable USC to start targeted subsidy for the poorest segment of the society with the surety that subsidy is dispersed to the right individuals.

The automation will provide greater business insights through more accurate and timely financial information. It will help USC to save operating cost. Since repetitive and time-consuming processes will be automated. USC will be able to forecast its income and expenses more accurately and budgeting can be done in a better and cost effective manner.

Recording prices of products along with discounts/subsidy will help USC to control prices. Also, centralized sales monitoring will bound store staff for timely sales deposits.

A pilot project of deployment of Point of Sale (POS) system is successfully executed initially at 10 Utility Stores. Data transformation of all USC saleable items with barcodes to be used with warehousing and POS system is also completed. The POS system is ready for future expansion and has an attribute of quicker development and fast rollout.

The objectives of pilot POS system deployment was introducing technology and system to improve acceptability; transformation of all Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) of the corporation to a new integrated system; identification of problems and issues in automation of the corporation; identifying and removing barriers in stores’ automation; bringing cultural change and training people to use new system efficiently. All USC SKUs are also digitized with barcodes to be used with warehousing and POS system.

USC has also introduced Online Vendor Registration System to collect and maintain accurate suppliers’ data for efficient vendors’ management.

Other initiatives during the year 2019-20 includes deployment of an Online Stores Information System by geo-tagging all Utility Stores. This online system helps to get the stores’ information including location, size, rent, and sales during the last 5-year.

USC has implemented a Demand-based Online Purchase Ordering System integrated with Finance Payable System. Through this system, a huge amount of time and money is saved in managing suppliers payments as per goods received. Also, complete supply chain process becomes simpler, from purchasing goods from suppliers, shipping to stores and selling to the customers.

A centralized employees’ leaves and attendance system through Facial Recognition Machines have been deployed which are working effectively in all USC offices. This attendance system has helped USC in managing its payroll in an efficient and effective way.

Mr. Umer Lodhi, Managing Director USC said that in our efforts to uplift standards of services at all utility stores across the country and provision of grocery items at prices lower than the open market, automation is being under implementation in USC.

While talking about automation, Mr. Shakeel Ahmed, General Manager, IT USC said that we are automating the corporation with an aim to make it compatible with the needs of 21st century and developing USC employees’ skills in a way to work efficiently in a fully automated environment, making the corporation a profitable entity.  Our mission is to provide the corporation with technology solutions and unparalleled customer services, he added.=DNA