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Customer Snapshot: Overview

Simplified processes with ~20% fewer steps

With some 10,000 stores and over 140 logistics hubs, Lidl is one of Europe’s largest retailers. How do you become one of Europe’s largest retailers and Run Live? Being faster and simpler helps.

Focusing on the philosophy of simplicity and value, Lidl turned to SAP HANA. With SAP for Retail powered by SAP HANA, Lidl can now analyze inventory data live and optimize merchandise management through seamless, end-to end processes from the supplier to the customer. That way, Lidl saves time and lays the foundation for innovative concepts.

Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG

€64 billion (2015)

Number of Employees




Visionary Themes

Run Simple, Run Live

Neckarsulm, Germany

Customer Website

Line of Business
Commerce, Platform and Technology, Sales, Service

SAP Solutions
SAP Business Warehouse, SAP Customer Activity Repository, SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA, SAP for Retail, SAP HANA, SAP MaxAttention

Customer Snapshot: History

From German Wholesaler to Global Retailer

Lidl's history goes back to the 1930s, when the company was founded in Germany as a grocery wholesaler. Today, one of the largest grocery retailers in the world providing a totally unique shopping experience, Lidl operates in 30 countries around the world with some 10,000 stores and over 215,000 employees.

Customer Snapshot: Business Model

Optimized for Global Expansion

Being a discount retailer is Lidl’s DNA. Lidl has the largest network of discount grocery stores in Europe and will continue to play a major role when it comes to expanding into new markets. And, with its sights set firmly on further expansion, the company plans to expand into Serbia and the United States in the upcoming years.

Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy

Fit for the Future

The company’s strategic focus is on a tightly integrated international team and a growing digitization, tasked to enable a smooth collaboration with the help of a highly available and innovative IT platform. On a global scale Lidl’s IT division supports the business of Europe’s largest retailer with regards to the design, development and roll out of business processes.

A powerful IT and application landscape is an important enabler for continuous process optimization—and the IT landscape at Lidl is currently undergoing its largest transformation in the company’s history.

The ultimate goal: Reduce the complexity of applications and focus on the benefits for the users.

The Challenge

Mapping a Path for Success in the Future

Lidl’s successful business model offers top-quality products to millions of European customers at the best possible prices—which requires the most efficient processes with a powerful IT and application landscape. That’s why Lidl chose to implement a new merchandise management and information platform, "eLWIS," based on SAP® for Retail powered by SAP HANA® companywide as part of its IT strategy.

To create a seamless supply chain from vendor to customer and optimize processes, Lidl's new system required:

End-to-end processes:

Replace vertical processes with horizontal ones

State-of-the-art technologies:

Be prepared to meet the challenges ahead

Integration capabilities:

To ensure consistency and compliance

Greater functional scope:

Inventory valuation, flow of goods management, etc.

Centralized and optimized:

IT and application landscape

This new platform is making us fit for the future. explains Alexander Sonnenmoser, Divisional Board Member for Business Technology, Lidl.

Lidl’s switch to eLWIS was prompted by the realization that the company’s in-house legacy merchandise management system was coming up against the limits of its capacity for innovation and enhancement. The legacy system was ready to be enhanced in order to support the company with its growth plans and its demand for new functions and opportunities in the future.

We were looking to map integrated process chains right through from the vendor to the customer, rather than individual functions. — Alexander Sonnenmoser, Divisional Board Member for Business Technology, Lidl

Enter SAP

Expanding Growth Potential

With growth on the horizon and a mission to not only meet but exceed customer demands, Lidl looked to SAP to take their business to the next level with the very latest technology. With SAP platforms and technologies, they would gain near real-time inventory data and reports to make key decisions.

Lidl employees are proud to be a part of the future.

Enter SAP: The SAP Experience

Optimized for Growth

Lidl stepped up to the challenge to optimize with the latest technology, while keeping change management with the end user in mind as part of their plan. In this case, that meant the Lidl employees would need training and support through the transformation and into the future. As part of their strategy, they did away with user manuals for employees, and instead train employees to learn hands on.

Using a highly agile approach based on its “Rapid Transformation Method”, Lidl’s new system was implemented with partner KPS when in a first step all stores of one Distribution Center in Austria were migrated to the new system. Lidl was able to pull near real-time inventory reports immediately after the implementation. To date Lidl has all three Distribution Centers in Austria up and running in the new system and - after another successful go live - Northern Ireland as well.

The importance of SAP HANA to serve our customers.

SAP for Retail powered by SAP HANA has enhanced our capacity for IT innovation. The new platform is the foundation we need to continue implementing our processes efficiently in IT systems so that we can reduce complexity and focus on providing simplicity for our customers and employees through forward-thinking concepts. — Alexander Sonnenmoser, Divisional Board Member for Business Technology, Lidl

Better Business

Simplicity Sets the Stage

With SAP Retail powered by SAP HANA, Lidl met their goal to replace their in-house legacy merchandise management system with a highly agile system that would ensure efficient processes. Now, with “eLWIS” setting the new standards, all of Lidl’s operations now have a global template for seamless growth and rollout into other countries.

Efficiency is key to Lidl’s continued growth and expansion.


SAP helped Lidl reimagine their retail processes, which now run up to 20% fewer process steps. With SAP HANA, simplicity and efficiency are the focus of their new system, which have a direct effect on the growth of the company. In the end, this provides Lidl with a sustainable and stable platform that will help them to continuously optimize and develop ways to better serve their customers.

Better Business: Benefits

Keeping Up with Expanding Global Growth

With SAP HANA, Lidl has the tools to run essential applications that optimize and automate Lidl’s core merchandising, logistics, and in-store processes. The in-memory technology behind SAP HANA can process large amounts of data in real time, allowing Lidl to systematically analyze data to better understand and react to customer behavior.

Lidl’s representatives say the company has already seen improved data quality, thanks to centralized processing and management of key business information, while the SAP technology has also helped integrate and automate processes and provide near real-time availability of key operating figures.

With the new ERP system based on SAP HANA and the new enterprise service bus (ESB), we can distribute, store, and process millions of data records in real time. This will speed up our processes and the availability of key operating figures in the company going forward as well as unlock fresh possibilities for the future. — René Sandführ, Executive Vice President IT ERP Systems

Better Business: Run Simple

SAP Brings Forward-Thinking Concepts to Life
SAP platforms and technologies allow Lidl to make inventory data and reports available in near real time and provide key information to adjacent systems.
Better processing and management of key data has led to stronger data output across the board for Lidl. With real-time results, the company is now able to look forward to growth opportunities while it can also respond even more quickly to day-to-day critical needs.
Lidl can now easily look to the past, incorporate the present, and plan for the future with transparency and clarity. The stage is now set for this discount grocer with humble beginnings to be an even bigger global success as they continue to expand into new markets each year.

Journey Ahead

Opening the Door to Continued Global Expansion

With their new digital backbone to support them, employees, executives, and customers are happier than ever with the quality and service this discount grocer provides. Even as Lidl expands into new markets, back at home, the company remains a leader, thanks in no small part to the new robust, flexible platform. With an entrepreneurial focus to their IT initiatives, the team has been able to use the increased efficiencies and speed to further expand the company’s offerings online, in stores, and at the corporate level to make Lidl bigger, stronger, leaner, and more innovative than ever before.

As Lidl prepares to enter the U.S. market, the SAP HANA platform will be a cornerstone of the IT strategy as they break ground on new soil and continue to blaze trails in the industry.

Getting ready to roll out SAP for Retail worldwide…

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