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SUBWAY Heads Down the Cloud Computing Highway

The franchise company is leveraging cloud computing to streamline operations.

As the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and public cloud services industries mature they are being deployed to play more pivotal roles in the day-to-day operations of bigger and bigger organizations. The latest example is Coupa Software’s recent contract with the Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC) of SUBWAY, the largest franchise company in the world.

Under this agreement, Coupa’s cloud spend management solution will be deployed across approximately 35,000 restaurants and 60,000 end-users in 98 countries, making it the largest, multi-location cloud business application deployment to date. In addition, SUBWAY’s IPC will utilize public cloud services delivered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to house its procurement data, invoice records, and other critical information essential for running its day-to-day operations.

This contract clearly shows how a growing number of ‘mainstream’ companies of all sizes are employing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions and public cloud services to redesign the way they operate to meet the rapidly changing needs of their customers and employees in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

This isn’t the first win for Coupa in the fast-food industry. It is also supporting the spend management needs of the second largest Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) which it can’t name but we all know by its iconic arches.

Under the SUBWAY IPC agreement, franchisees will purchase all products related to their SUBWAY restaurants through Coupa, including meats, produce, chips, drinks, cleaning supplies, and uniforms. In order to facilitate this centralized purchasing process, Coupa is integrating its cloud-based solution with the world’s leading food distributors, such as Sysco and US Foods. The integrated systems will funnel the following documents across the franchise network:

• Order Guides

• Advanced Shipment Notices

• PO Acknowledgements

• PO transmission

It will also manage the ordering processes, delivery schedules, order cutoff times, returns, credits, etc. Coupa is also working with the SUBWAY’s IPC to permit its end-users to utilize their mobile devices—tablets and smartphones— to place orders and check their records from any location inside their franchises or elsewhere.

When the network is fully deployed, it will handle 30,000-60,000 purchase orders a week, and thousands in minutes. It will also integrate with the IPC’s existing EDI network. Coupa and AWS are promising 99.9% and higher uptime guarantees to minimize the risk of any extended service disruption which can result in a lost revenue for the franchisees.

In addition to the scalability and rapid deployment of the Coupa solution, SUBWAY’s IPC also chose the Cloud-based system because of its intuitive user-interface, which its highly diverse population of workers can adopt easily and quickly with minimal training.

Coupa's free Supplier Network will also enable the food industry vendors to use different file formats, processing schedules, and create receipts in Coupa when the goods are received. The receipt information will flow into their POS system to update on-hand inventory. This will permit the franchisees to create orders directly from their POS systems based on an algorithm that evaluates the on-hand quantity of material and the projected consumption for the week, information analyzed by the Coupa solution using data stored in the AWS public cloud.

So, the next time someone tells you that companies can’t rely on SaaS solutions and public cloud services to run their businesses and handle their mission critical data, take them out to lunch at SUBWAY.

Jeff Kaplan is Managing Director of THINKstrategies (www.thinkstrategies.com), an independent consulting firm focused on the business implications of the on-demand services movement. He is also the founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace (www.cloudshowplace.com). He can be reached at jkaplan@thinkstrategies.com.




Tags: cloud computing, POS


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