Similarly, Loblaws started moving to SAP in 2007 and projected three to five years to get it done. “When entering a new country, it is normal for retail software systems to require updates to tailor the solution to market needs and processes,” NCR said in a statement in response to questions about Target’s experience. There were myriad typos. Fisher immediately gave the green light. But the shipment might actually be configured differently—four larger boxes of 250 toothbrushes, for example. Finding an answer was tricky. In February 2013, about a dozen senior-level employees gathered at the company’s Mississauga, Ont., headquarters to offer updates on the state of their departments. Item descriptions were vague. Much of that data was still incorrect, and therefore the system couldn’t be relied upon to make accurate calculations. “I was one of the older people there, and I was in my mid-30s,” he says. Merchandise that made it to a distribution centre couldn’t be processed for shipping to a store. There had also been a high-profile ad during the Academy Awards to hype the Canadian launch, and actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Blake Lively were lined up to appear at the grand opening. The grand opening of Target Canada was set to begin in one month, and Tony Fisher needed to know whether the company was actually ready. The answer is… no. I’d impacted their lives. The problem became immediately apparent when Target opened its first three test stores. “There was never any talk about accuracy,” says a former employee. It took a toll on personal lives as well. It weeded out the worst of the errors and forced Target Canada to realize the importance of accurate data. Combined with the bleeding operations in Target Canada, Steinhafel’s position was untenable, and he stepped down in May. The 750 employees at the Mississauga head office had worked furiously for a year to get up and running, and nerves were beginning to fray. “He gave every last ounce of himself. Target faced a choice: Was it better to extend that existing technology to Canada or buy a completely new, off-the-shelf system? That deal started with Richard Baker, the executive chairman of Hudson’s Bay Co. Despite his stubborn optimism, those meetings had grown more tense too. Waves of senior staff were flown in from Minneapolis, but because they were unfamiliar with the technology Target Canada used, there wasn’t much they could do. Hiring for culture over experience works, essentially, because Target in the U.S. provides ample training. Everyone else in attendance expressed confidence in sticking to the schedule, and by the time the meeting concluded, it was clear the doors would open as promised. In the early days, he was a constant sight on the floor of Target Canada’s open-concept office, chatting with employees at all levels. Under Fisher, the company had trouble making tough calls. Allow me to explain. By the end, Fisher was practically a ghost. “All these insane projects we were working on simply didn’t matter anymore,” says another former employee. “We’d look on paper and think we’re OK. Then we’d go to the store, and it’s like, ‘Oh my god.’”, To add even more headaches, the point-of-sale system was malfunctioning. The new head, Brian Cornell, was the first outsider to lead the company. “This happened very late in the game.”, There was yet another basic error Target Canada didn’t discover until 2014. Employees at all points along the supply chain were to ensure those items made it to stores and stayed in stock. While SAP might be considered best in class, it’s an ornery, unforgiving beast. “Everyone was stretched thin. Target used groceries as a traffic driver in the U.S. and attempted to replicate that strategy here, failing to fully realize how competitive the category is in Canada. The company segmented stores based on performance, too, and focused intently on stocking up its top 25 locations, rather than treating all stores in the same manner. In consequence, Target ordered too much product that first year. It was his last as Target CEO. In Guelph, customers lined up before the store opened at 8 a.m., and when they were finally let in, floor staff cheered and offered them high-fives. Fisher—hand-picked by Steinhafel—left the company two weeks later. “I remember wanting to vomit,” recalls one participant. Rancho Cucamonga store details. In short, Target blew it. We’re expanding our operations building an international network of manufacturing, distribution, production, and sales operations. Stores might end up with an abundance of some products and a dearth of others. In February 2013, about a dozen senior-level employees gathered at the company’s Mississauga, Ont., headquarters to offer updates on the state of their departments. But by flipping the auto-replenishment switch off, the system wouldn’t report an item as out of stock, so the analyst’s numbers would look good on paper. Extra contractors had to be hired in India, too. Some of his former employees dismiss him as just a media-friendly face, but others describe him as whip-smart, detail oriented and incredibly dedicated to Target. A massive product revamp was planned for the fall. As the situation worsened, he was frequently in meetings, participating in conference calls, visiting stores or flying to Minneapolis. From there, a team built a tool that reported when the system was turned on or off, and determined whether there was a legitimate reason for it to be turned off, such as if the item was seasonal. “It was like a massive black hole,” says a former employee. A new crop of senior leaders arrived from U.S. HQ with Schindele, replacing some of the exhausted execs who handled the launch. Those companies were essentially taking information from their existing systems and translating it for SAP, a messy process in which it’s easy to make mistakes. The company wasn’t doing it alone, however, and hired Accenture (which also worked on Loblaws’ integration) as the lead consultant on the project. “Tony wouldn’t allow the marketing team to say to the Canadian public that we made a mistake,” says one. There was no reason to think Target wouldn’t be able to pull this off. Around Target’s first anniversary, the marketing team proposed an “apology” campaign of sorts—something to acknowledge that the company had learned a lot about Canadians during its year of operation, and that it was seeking to improve the shopping experience. At Target Canada, the technology relied on having the exact dimensions of every product and every shelf in order to calculate whether employees need to pull more products to fill an empty rack. Hiring was a top priority. On March 4, 2013, Tony Fisher led a gaggle of reporters through a new Target location in Guelph, Ont. The Zellers sale provided just such an opportunity. The merchandising department’s software often indicated items were in stock, but then the team would field confused and angry phone calls from employees responsible for store operations, demanding to know why they didn’t have products. The debacle cost the parent company billions of dollars, sullied its reputation and put roughly 17,600 people out of work. Waiting to be hired in India, too in 2011, Canada received the best that we made mistake. Be isolated fires quickly became a raging inferno threatening to destroy the company ’ s troubles personally and review! 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