Founded in 1968, and having first listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1996, Clicks Group is Africa’s leading retail-led healthcare group with a handful of franchise brands. These include Clicks, GNC, The Body Shop, Claires, Musica, and UPD amongst others. And DotActiv has been named as its top-performing IT provider for 2017.
Image courtesy of Clicks
In 2004, the Group also entered the retail pharmacy market with its first Clicks pharmacy. Since then, the retailer has grown to such an extent that today, it is recognised as the largest retail pharmacy chain in Africa with over 473 in-store pharmacies alone. And there are plans in place to continue growing in 2018.
Image courtesy of GNC South Africa
Meanwhile, UPD is the leading full-range national pharmaceutical wholesaler, supplying retail pharmacies, private hospitals and retail health stores. UPD is also the owner of the Link brand and Clicks remains its largest single customer.
Image courtesy of Clicks
As for recent achievements and noteworthy news, the Group was rated as one of the top employers by the Top Employers Institute for 2017. Clicks also received first place in the Health and Beauty category in the 2016 Times/Sowetan Shopper Survey.
How is Clicks Group Ltd performing?
Clicks Group might arguably be the best employer in the retail industry, but it’s just as important to view their overall performance for 2017. If you look at their Annual Report for that year, you’ll note that they have performed exceptionally well.
In tough economic conditions where the local South African retail industry has faced many challenges, they reported “increased margins, strong cash generation and enhanced returns to shareholders” in 2017. In financial terms, that includes a Group turnover that’s up 10.9%, R2-billion in cash from operations, and a total dividend that increased by 18.4%. The Group also noted a return on equity of 44.1%.
Here are a few more financial results from their Annual Report for 2017:
Retail sales grew by 13.5% and distribution turnover by 11.4%. Meanwhile, the Group’s total income grew by 12.2% and their income margin strengthened by 40 basis points.
If you were to look exclusively at Clicks and the franchise brands, you’ll find that retail health and beauty sales rose by 14.7% while comparable stores sales jumped by 8.6%. UPD was also a benefactor of Clicks’ strong financial year, increasing its wholesaler turnover by 12.1%.
Of course, it wasn’t just about turnover. Clicks pharmacy opened 111 new stores and expanded its store footprint to 622. This includes 38 standalone stores in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho. They also concluded an outsourcing agreement with the Netcare Group.
What does DotActiv do for Clicks?
The Clicks Group has been a client of DotActiv since 2003. Back then, we only had one version of our application. There were no submodules or any differentiators. Since then, we have branched out to offer a number of different packages based on your size and budget.
Just to note, we went into Clicks with the knowledge that we would be a temporary solution. While 2001 saw us become the first to market with a data-driven category management software platform, when we first signed Clicks, we were still very much the underdogs. But, as we invested in our category management platform, and focused on providing the best service possible we were able to prove our value over time.
Today, we provide them with our full Enterprise solution. With that, they use our Store Communications tool, and because we offer them software as a solution, they have the opportunity to make use of it on their own terms.
How does Clicks Group Ltd rate DotActiv as an IT provider?
When it comes to the method that Clicks Group uses to measure and rate its IT providers, the process is stringent. It is done through an IT Supplier Performance Scorecard, which every supplier receives.
Just to note, when we do such a rating, DotActiv is formally rated by a panel of people from Clicks. This panel usually includes the head of Space Planning, the head of the Floor Planning department, the IT custodian who is responsible for any DotActiv work on their side, and a few other seniors who work on the project management side. And then Jason Dorfling, our CIO who personally manages the account.
As for the Scorecard, it’s based on several performance category pillars. It ranges from Account Management to Financial Return, Service Operations, Service Delivery, Relationship Management and Sustainability Initiatives.
For example from an Account Management perspective, DotActiv would be rated on whether we understand Clicks’ IT requirements and can answer questions on the spot without having to consult with others. On the Financial side, is our business financially stable enough so that Clicks doesn’t have to worry, and are our solutions good value for money?
On the Relationship Management side - a pillar that is arguably the most important of them all - is our relationship with Clicks healthy? This is over and above the business relationship, which is expected and looks deeper at the personal relationship.
How has DotActiv performed as an IT provider for Clicks Group?
For the past four years, Clicks Group Ltd has ranked DotActiv amongst its top five best performing IT providers. In 2016, we went one better as we were rated as the Group’s best performing IT provider for the fourth quarter of that year. Not to rest on our laurels, we continued to persevere. Our reward was to be rated again as the Group’s best performing IT provider throughout 2017.
But it’s one thing to say that we were rated highly, and another to show how we performed. That’s where the Scorecard comes in.
The rating on the Scorecard is straightforward. It’s 0 to 5 with 0 defined as ‘Does Not Meet’ while 5 is ‘Excellent’. In summary, our overall rating across all Pillars is ‘Above Target’ with a few performance measure ratings reaching ‘Excellent’.
That said, it should be noted that a great aspect of undergoing such a rating means we can also find out where we can improve.
For example, on the Relationship Side, they may want to meet twice a month instead of once a month. That’s an easy change and it makes sense. It allows us to ensure that customer is getting enough support, advice and input.
As for if we’re happy about our rating, it’s obvious: we’re elated. We’ve been rated in the number one spot again. What is even more significant is that it’s based on the same criteria that Click’s other IT providers are all rated on.
The fact that we have managed to be continually rated as their top-performing IT provider comes down to a few factors.
Primarily, it's due to the mutual respect shown between DotActiv and the Clicks Group. If we make a suggestion, they won’t simply ignore it. Rather they’ll consider it seriously. Likewise, if they have a suggestion that can help us to improve our category management solution, we’ll also sit down and consider it carefully.
Besides that, it’s also down to the attention to detail at a management level. In doing quarterly ratings, meeting regularly, and continuously investing in the improvement of our platform, the relationship can only strengthen.
Category Management isn’t only a solution for large retailers with big budgets like the Clicks Group. It is useful to all retailers, no matter the size of your business, your budget or even your retail strategy.
Interested in understanding how category management can help your retail business? Book your custom exploratory consultation with a DotActiv expert here or browse our online store here.