The problems Shoprite, Africa's largest grocery retailer,has experienced at its Centurion distribution centre have cost it R1bn in missed sales and the market is now watching closely to see if a new software supply chain system will solve the issues. A strike at the distribution centre that lasted longer than anticipated had shaved off more than R250m from group profit, said CEO Pieter Engelbrecht this week. The strike left stores with some empty shelves, but despite stock shortages, the retailer managed to grow customers 1.7%. The implementation of a new software system also has resulted in supply chain problems. Shoprite is now hoping the installation of its new ERP system, which took four years to plan and 17 months to implement, will help turn the ship around. "Not all our customers left us," Engelbrecht said, "but certainly, their basket sizes had to contract because we did not have the product. We've got the people, so we've got to deliver the product to them when they want it...

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