Utility Stores Corporation hiring consultant for major transformation

Staff Reporter BOL News

23rd Oct, 2021. 10:29 am

KARACHI: The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) is hiring a change management consultant, as the state-owned retail chain is up for a major transformation with the focus on improving the core business processes and digitalisation through implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), a statement said.

“It is a major shift from the manual processes to automated, resulting in disruption at all levels in the organisation,” an official said.

“Therefore, the corporation is conducting an exercise to identify, plan and monitor all aspects of change management in order to successfully implement ERP,” it said.

“This would be one of the largest digital transformation of an organisation in Pakistan with an enormous network of operational locations.”

At present, the Utility Stores Corporation is operating more than 4,000 stores across the country. The basic objective of the corporation is to protect the real income of the people by selling essential consumer items at prices lower than those prevailing in the open markets; to act as a price moderator in the market and deterrent to profiteering, hoarding and black marketing by the private sector.

The USC has been at the center of corruption and mismanagement stories for long. Recently, an audit conducted by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) found losses of over Rs2.6 billion in sale and procurement of sugar and wheat flour in public funds of the utility stores.

“The losses involved fraud, corruption, misappropriation, irregularities and mismanagement in 2019/20 accounts of the USC,” an official said.

The auditors also observed bogus enlistment of flour mills in the record of the USC, substandard, irregular procurement of commodities, non-clearance of outstanding amounts of suppliers, irregular contract and business with blacklisted flour mills and interrupted supply of commodities among others.

The official said the USC often witnessed shortages of essential commodities due to miscalculated demand and supply, which caused an artificial shortage of flour and sugar in the market, and also jacked up the prices.

Once the enterprise resource planning system implementation is completed, the purchasing activity will become a structured process; whereby, a situation arising due to over or under-stocking of inventory can be controlled.

The whole inventory will be controllable and the USC will be able to forecast the amount of items needed; thus, preventing both product shortages and overstocking. Digitalisation will enable the USC to start targeted subsidies for the poor segments of the society with an assurance that it reaches deserving individuals.