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In the 1973 Wings song Band on the Run, Paul McCartney opined, “I thought I’d give it all away to a registered charity.” Coincidentally, the same year he and wife Linda penned those lyrics, an organization with the goal of moderating the cost of living in Singapore was founded. Since then, NTUC FairPrice Co-operative LTD has grown from one supermarket to Singapore’s largest retailer, serving over 400,000 shoppers daily. NTUC consists of a network of over supermarket 120 outlets, as well as 160 convenience stores country-wide.

Sir Paul probably had no way of knowing about the founding of NTUC FairPrice back when Band on the Run was a hit. However, a registered charity he could have given money to is the NTUC FairPrice Foundation. It was set up by NTUC FairPrice with a pledge of over US$50 million and a stated mission to provide a better life for the community.

The three strategic areas of focus for the NTUC FairPrice Foundation are:

  1. The poor and the needy – The aim is to give “relief of any form of necessity, destitution and helplessness” to the less fortunate.
  2. Nation building – The foundation encourages initiatives aimed at unifying people and advancing social harmony.
  3. Worker welfare – Contributions are made to improve the welfare of workers and their families in Singapore whenever aid is needed.

NTUC believes the foundation puts the company in a better position to sustainably support and contribute to causes that are aligned to their social position. The foundation also serves as an institutional tribute to the NTUC FairPrice commitment to serve, care, and share with the community at large.

“As a social enterprise, our aim is to do well in order to do more good," said Bobby Chin, Chairman, NTUC FairPrice Foundation. "Our vision is to be a world-class retailer with a heart.”

As NTUC FairPrice grew from one supermarket to close to 300 stores, complete with a centralized warehouse and a distribution company, the vision to do more good materialized. But this growth also created some technical challenges the company needed to meet in order to keep its commitment to customers and stay in the hearts of community.

NTUC FairPrice had to better manage large volumes of data, enabling continuous access and real-time analysis to provide customers with on-demand services, stock stores, provide stellar customer service, and better target marketing campaigns.

They say “smart systems run simple,” so when NTUC FairPrice chose the SAP HANA platform for their business intelligence program, they knew they were getting a back-end solution that could support real-time planning and analysis. Likewise, on the warehousing side, employees could quickly locate merchandise with on-the-spot visibility into inventory status and availability.

Thanks to real-time inventory management, the company is now better able to distribute merchandise across hundreds of retail locations. Additionally, data latency has been eliminated and data processing and load times have been reduced exponentially. With the help of SAP HANA, NTUC FairPrice has laid the foundation for a single version of the truth across all the customer data captured on a daily basis. Plus, SAP HANA simplifies operations and data management, which is good news for NTUC FairPrice customers, who now benefit from better product availability – all with the same low prices and emphasis on customer service they have come to expect.

This in turn means the NTUC FairPrice Foundation can make an even greater impact on the community.

Back in 1973, folks may have been singing Band on the Run, but these days at NTUC FairPrice, the name of the game is Run Simple.