Halfords has completed a five-year IT overhaul of in-store, back office and financial systems.

The car parts and bicycle retailer has switched on key SAP and IBM software, replacing an in-house platform, and said processes will now benefit as a result.

“This transformation from a largely bespoke platform to a modern, integrated set of leading software packages from premium software companies ... leaves us well positioned to take advantage of this new technology,” the company said.

A two-year project to implement new in-store software and hardware has also been completed. “The project has transformed the technology in store from a disconnected and complex set of legacy applications to a modern suite of integrated systems, providing powerful new features to support our store colleagues in both customer facing and business facing activities,” it said.

Real benefits will start to notice during this year, Halfords predicted, “as store colleagues’ experience with the new system increases and as targeted efficiencies are delivered”.

Hand-held terminals are being used for the first time in Halfords stores to improve inventory management. A new staff scheduling and payment system is also in place to allow a greater level of visibility and control on labour planning and spend in individual stores.

A new “product finder” has also been implemented in stores. It uses vehicle registration numbers to quickly and accurately identify the correct part or accessory for customer cars.

The Halfords reserve online, collect in store system, called Reserve & Collect, has seen over 150,000 orders placed to date.

Operating profits grew eight per cent to £101 million on the back of £797 million revenues for the year to 28 March.

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