1 April 2022

IT for store-based retail: An interview with REWE Systems CGO and CCO Stefan Matzelle

Reading time: 7 min.

For the past year, Stefan Matzelle has been responsible for IT in store-based retail, logistics, and governance at REWE Systems. In the interview, he discusses the challenges, REWE Systems’ collaboration with other divisions and his plans for 2022.

Mr Matzelle, 12 months ago you assumed the position of CGO and CCO for REWE Systems. We’d like to start by asking what those abbreviations stand for?

Stefan Matzelle: As CGO – Chief Governance Officer – I am responsible for ensuring that IT services and products comply with legal and regulatory requirements. CCO stands for Chief Commercial Officer. I have IT responsibility for in-store retail and logistics, including the supply chain and supply chain management. REWE Systems provides all the applications and infrastructure necessary for in-store retail and the warehouses to these divisions of the REWE Group in Germany.

Stefan Matzelle

is CGO and CCO at REWE Systems.

You previously worked in a different industry and at a DAX company. From your perspective, are there significant differences in the corporate culture?

Stefan Matzelle: Compared to the army and the airline, the differences are not really significant. I feel that the corporate culture is very appreciative and open at the REWE Group too. I’ve been particularly impressed by how approachable all my colleagues are, including the Management Board.

Moreover, I sense that the Management Board has a strong commitment to internal IT. They see it as an integral part of the entire organisation and that it contributes to the overall success. For me, this way of looking at constructive collaboration is an important part of the corporate culture. And, because I have a fantastic team with a lot of expertise, mutual trust and openness to new ideas, I am very confident about this collaborative work.

The supply chains have to be optimised again and again, because the quantities are constantly increasing and we have more and more differentiation in the assortments.

Stefan Matzelle
Stefan Matzelle

You are responsible for in-store retail and logistics, including supply chain management and IT governance. Let’s turn first to retail. In terms of supporting the stores, what challenges does the future hold from an IT perspective?

Stefan Matzelle: The three main focal areas for in-store retail are employees, stores, and customers. We need to make processes more digital, mobile and faster for our employees. One example is the store-based Smarter Work project, which includes, among other things, an employee app and e-learning applications. In terms of stores, our stakeholders, such as the retailers, are placing increasing demands on us. Our main responsibility is therefore to provide a scalable, secure, future-proofed infrastructure to meet these demands.

It is equally important to meet the needs of customers. In addition to the omnichannel strategy, this also includes issues such as self-checkout and the personalised offers that customers receive in the store. We also need to respond to the desire among customers for greater sustainability and more local products.

If the pandemic allows it, I would like to travel to the regions to get to know the employees on site better. I am convinced that there is a lot of knowledge to be gained there, which we should use for product development, for example.

Stefan Matzelle
Stefan Matzelle

To date, REWE Systems has been primarily seen as a service provider. One aim of the transformation was to develop REWE Systems into a technology partner. What exactly does that mean?

Stefan Matzelle: We work closely with the business units and divisions to develop the best solutions for the entire REWE Group. But our view of customers has expanded. Customers are the people who come to our stores and pay for their shopping at the checkout. Figuratively speaking, they also have a seat at the table when it comes to the further development of the REWE Group’s business. We now look at these needs together. We have therefore worked alongside the divisions and business units to develop a tailored roadmap, which is reviewed on a regular basis. This means that REWE Systems is now an equal, agile partner for the REWE Group.

The joint decision with REWE digital to work more closely together in future and combine the best of both worlds – in-store and online retail – marks a further crucial step towards becoming a technology partner. It was announced that this would happen under the new Executive Board Member for IT, Christoph Eltze. We are very much looking forward to working together with colleagues from REWE digital.

A final question. The year is still young – what are your plans for 2022?

Stefan Matzelle: The regions were the last to be aligned with the agile ways of working introduced as part of the Symphony project. If the pandemic allows, I would like to travel to the regions and get to know the local employees better. I am certain that they have a lot of knowledge that could be used for product development, for instance. Our regional colleagues have close links to the stores and local processes. They are our representatives and they implement the changes on the ground when we roll out new applications. Quite simply, they are the face of REWE Systems in the regions and stores.

About REWE Systems

REWE Systems develops efficient IT systems for the retail environment, tackles challenges through the use of innovative technology, and optimises the REWE Group’s existing application landscape. REWE Systems is the REWE Group’s principal solutions provider for IT and telecommunications systems. The unit plans, designs, develops, configures, and operates efficient systems and applications. Around 1,400 IT specialists set the standards for the deployment of IT in retail and develop innovative technologies for the sector.

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